Gratitude Day 892

Philippians 3:15-16: So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.

When you open up the browser of your computer, how many tabs do you have open?

A couple? Maybe a few? Or a whole bunch?

I’m in the last category: a whole bunch. As in, way too many tabs. Way too many little icons requesting my time and attention. Every time I open my internet browser, I see them, just begging me to go to their sight. “Pick me! Pick me!” I hear them say.

Truth? We can’t pick all of them at the same time. It’s impossible. And so, some of those tabs end up hang out for weeks with very little attention. I don’t have the heart to close them nor the time to adequately deal with them.

Why so many tabs? There are the normal tabs to my email accounts, along with tabs to sites that I regularly use. An exercise site, my website, and other work sites.

And then? There’s a whole bunch of other tabs that I have opened and keep open as placeholders. The site has some type of information that I want to read, watch or listen to. But I haven’t found the opportunity to do so. On today’s count, there are 26 of those open tabs.

26. Seriously?

In my right mind, when am I going to get to those 26 tabs? Maybe this is why some of those tabs have been open and acting as placeholders for months. Yes, months.

I tell myself those tabs contain information that I know I want to read or consume. My life will be better if I do. But quite simply, I don’t make the time to do so. Something else feels more important at the time and they just keep hanging out, waiting for me to get back to them.

In essence, how important is that information? Apparently, not important enough for me to deal with all those placeholders.

These open tabs actually are sometimes a manifestation of my brain. Little bits of information that I hang on to and want to hold onto, but never quite get around to dealing with. In the meantime, all these little bits of information draw energy. Every time I see them, they are a reminder that I HAVEN’T dealt with them. They distract me from the bigger things that I know are important to me. They are like a pesky little wound that never heals and just keeps festering for attention.

Don’t get me wrong. Some of those bits of information ARE important or would be helpful. But when there are too many tabs that are open and drawing energy, it’s a bit like too many cooks in the kitchen. They each draw a bit of energy without no guarantee anything is getting accomplished.

Do you struggle with this like I do?

Your brain bounces from one thing to the next, with little completion of the previous thought before you have moved onto the next. This manifests itself in that I end up with various projects in various stages of completion. A hard deadline means something HAS to reach a completion. I’ve often thought that deadlines are the bane of my existence yet force me to cross the finish line.

So, how can we deal with all of these open tabs in our lives, whether they are on your computer or otherwise? Here are a few things I’m trying to do these days.

  • Do one thing at a time. The research is clear. Multi-tasking is no-tasking. No matter how skilled you think you might be at multi-tasking, no one can honestly do two things at the same time. We can’t bounce between two things and do justice to both. We use up a lot of brain power going between the two. Best suggestion? Do one thing at a time, even as simple as having a conversation. A couple days ago, Hubby Rick and I were in the truck. He was talking to me. I was doing something on my phone. Did I hear what he said to me? Honestly, no. I sat my phone down and asked him to please repeat. I needed to give him my attention so I could listen to what he said. I couldn’t do him justice and complete a task on my phone at the same time.
  • Focus on the most important things at the beginning of the day. This is hard for me. Often, I default and do the things that I can quickly cross off my to-do list rather than spending time on the things that are bigger and take more time. I want the quick win; the thing I can easily eliminate. However, it’s the bigger projects that often are the most meaningful. Yet, they take more brain power and time. If I want to make progress on those bigger projects, it is best to spend some time on them earlier in the day before I get distracted and pulled away in different directions. The struggle is real and I don’t get to them or when I do, it’s late in the day and I’m not giving them the proper attention. Trying to designate time earlier in the day helps prioritize them for you and your brain.
  • Dealing with interruptions and distractions. This is a real struggle for me. It’s the one phone call that changes the rest of my day. Sometimes, I need to say, “No,” and not let the request change everything. Other times, it’s not that simple. There are times when we have to set aside our priorities and deal with the urgent. The question then becomes how to get back to what is important to us. I try to carve out a little time later where I can do something that is important and meaningful to me. Sometimes this happens. Other times, I’m tired and know I won’t be doing my best work. I think it’s impossible to fully eliminate interruptions and distractions.
  • TRY to close some of those tabs in the meantime. Closing a tab doesn’t mean you are done with it. It simply says, “Not right now.” In closing a tab, you may determine later that you don’t need to reopen that tab, which is perfectly fine. But closing some of those tabs, at least temporarily, allows you to focus on the more important things in the moment without the distractions of the open tabs.

Bottom line? There’s lots of good information and opportunities out there for us. The challenge is picking and choosing the things that are most meaningful for us individually. What I pick and choose may not be the same as you. And that’s OK! What is most important is sorting through this with God. We don’t have to do this alone. God is there to guide us, encourage us, challenge us and be present with us.

We all only have 24 hours today. And tomorrow. And then next day. We all chose how we spend those 24 hours. Do we have various “tabs” in our lives that pull us away from what we want to be important? Yep. How we deal with these energy drains becomes indicative of how we view what is most meaningful in our lives.

Let God help guide this for you. Let God show you what tabs to close. Ask God what tabs to keep open and which ones to gently close or say, “Not right now.”

I am thankful God still takes me places that I do not expect.  

Blessings –

Dianne

Loving God – You see all the open tabs in my life and know them well; probably better than I do! Help me sort through those tabs and know which ones to close and which ones to keep open. May I explore and discover ways that I can serve Your kingdom in a way that is meaningful for both of us. Amen.

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