Powerfully Present are two words we hear a lot in our society. However, being powerfully present in the moment has never been more difficult due to all the distractions that we are bombarded with every single moment of every single day.
Powerfully Present Tip #1: Eye Contact
When you are talking to your partner or child, think to yourself, what color are their eyes? Lock-in the eye contact, and focus on every detail. This will pull your attention out of the fog created by your never-ending task lists, whether it’s the one from your desk or on the fridge. They may still call your out for not listening, but see what kind of response you get to, “I was distracted by your eyes. Those light specks of green in the brown around your pupils are amazing.” (Thanks Larry!)
Powerfully Present Tip #2: Start a Family-time Challenge
Challenge the family to a nominal amount of time with ZERO electronics. If possible start with 5 minutes, but don’t be afraid to start smaller. The trick to this one, is that you need to keep everyone from watching the clock. “Ring Around the Rosy” is great with our two-year old. She loves the part where we all fall down. (Thanks Brett!)
Powerfully Present Tip #3: Ask yourself a simple question
Which part of this moment will matter in a year, what I’m thinking or what’s in front of me? This is amazingly effective for me. I’ve been known to literally toss my phone to the other side of the room in response so it is out of reach. Glad I have a good case! (Thanks Paul!)
Powerfully Present Tip #4: Get down on your child’s level
There are few things that will focus you in the moment like sitting on the floor with your child. If my mind starts to drift, I drop down to eye level and utilize tip #1. (Thanks Robert!)
Powerfully Present Tip #5: Ask them to hold your hand
When you are busy/focused on a task and your child approaches, ask them to hold your hand or leg while you wrap up. I tend to finish faster, and often I simply stop because I hear Paul’s question in my head. “Which one of these matter?” (Thanks Lenny!)
Powerfully Present Tip #6: Learn with them
Make their hobbies your hobbies, even if that means playing ball boy, packing away the nets, or learning about tendus and pirouettes. If you share common interests it is much easier to retain focus when you spend time together. This works great with children as well as and partners. My wife and I spend a lot of time together building our sites and photography skills. This provides us opportunities to grow together independent of our children. When Cecilia moves out one day, we will have other interests holding us together. (Thanks James!)
Powerfully Present Tip #7: Share your gratitude
This is more than saying thank you. It’s about appreciating the contribution your partner and children make to your life. If my mind is wandering, I will use this change it’s direction, and to Erin or Cecilia with me. “My favorite part of the week so far is when we sang songs while riding to daycare.” Or, “Do you remember stopping for coffee last Tuesday morning? That made my week.” Let them know you appreciate the little things you do together as a family.
Powerfully Present Tip #8: Share a memory
Sometimes it can help to take a trip through time. Tell your children the first, funniest, or favorite memory you have from them growing up. Talk to your spouse about your first date, and what attracted you to the most to them.
How to Start
It’s not easy to juggle the responsibilities of parenting, marriage, and work. It is no wonder that we struggle to stay present. I trust that now you have at least one or two new tools to help you keep your focus during family-time. To help you start using them, and to reduce your distractions, I recommend these simple but effective strategies.
- Put your work phone / email on “Do Not Disturb” when you leave the office. This is your time to reset so you are in the right headspace when you arrive at the house.
- When you come home from work, pause at the door, think of your intention, and visualize how you want to show up on the other side.
- When you enter the home, assess the environment, and enter it where/how you will add the most value. If your partner is fried, grab the kids and let them take a walk. Don’t ask what’s for dinner.
- If your mind still begins to wonder, remember this list of focus hacks to pull you back into the present moment.
Surround yourself with positive, like-minded dads struggling and supporting each other. The ever-growing Dad’s Edge Facebook Group is a great source for these connections – look forward to seeing you there!
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Connect with John Zugelder
John is husband, father, writer, and member of the Dad’s Edge Mastermind. He and his wife are the creators of the free 45 Day Positive Mornings Challenge, and they currently live in Sydney, Australia with their toddler. You can also find them on their personal blog, Living EZ.