The start of 2018 has been tough for me.
Over the last month my family celebrated the immense joy of birth and the deepest grief of death all within 12 hours; I unexpectedly started a new job – before I had left my old one; two yoga classes that I teach got cancelled; I bumped off important meetings…. you get the idea. Knowing that I was quickly unraveling, I had to work especially hard on myself to be present emotionally and physically for my family and my other responsibilities. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.
As January draws to close and I take a deep breathe and look back over the last 31 days, one of my favourite sayings during my 30s comes to mind.
“If you want something done, ask a busy person”.
I used to live by this mantra! The busier I was, the more productive I thought I could be, the more I expected myself to achieve. I was living proof of the copious amounts of research that show how women are biologically better equipped for multi-tasking and dealing with complicated multi-tiered situations.
However as I have got (a little bit) older, studied to become a Yoga Nashit teacher and practice yoga on a regular basis I have discovered a little secret….
Just because women CAN multi-task, it doesn’t mean we HAVE to!
During last month’s emotional roller-coaster I was very conscience, connected and aware of what was going on. I knew that I had to let go of certain things to allow myself to be present for the important stuff. Prioritizing became essential – not because I couldn’t do everything, but because I chose not to do everything. This has required me to take stock of all the “extra stuff” that was going on in my life and deciding what was serving me most, what was benefiting me and my personal growth and what was actually holding me back. It is a painful realisation when you become aware that the things that you prioritise on your “To Do” list are actually holding you back from achieving your biggest dreams.
Women worry that by letting go, by focusing on one or two central tasks, they will appear as under-achievers, not living up to others’ expectations or fulfilling their professional and personal responsibilities.
January has been a stark reminder to me of a basic lesson I have learnt through my study and practice of yoga. By learning how to breath deep and be connect to the present moment, I have given myself permission to let go of the expectations. I have understood what I was able to do and be more realistic about how I could achieve that. This is not always easy, it takes practice, patience and strength. But it is possible that by NOT multi-tasking you can actually achieve more!