When doing any task, my brain is constantly whizzing from one area to the next, writing a mental shopping list, going back over an awkward conversation from earlier, all whilst creating an important policy document.
Being praised for always meeting deadlines gave me a smug sense of self satisfaction. Striding round school so fast that I didn’t have time to say hello to anyone surely only heightened my importance? At home, my exasperation at my husband’s inability to multi-task as frighteningly efficiently as I did often manifested in very audible sighs, tuts and mutters.
It was as I hissed in frustration ‘Please just go to bed so I can do some work!’ at my one year old, who was delightfully trying to capture my attention away from answering my work emails on my phone by playing peekaboo, that I realised I had a problem with patience.
The sudden slow down of life, without (lets face it) a clear plan or timeline for the mid-term future, has had a profound effect on me. For the first time, I’ve had to focus clearly on ‘now’, rather than impatiently racing ahead.
By allowing myself to have laser-like concentration on the task I am completing at the time, the quality of my work has vastly improved. My thinking has had the time to percolate, considering differing viewpoints, and finally coming to my own, strongly held conviction on the topic. I am able to just enjoy the stillness of everyday life.
To my surprise, it no longer matters that things take time. Dinner might be an hour late – it doesn’t matter. Consideration of a blog post might take a couple of days before posting – it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t even matter if a work deadline needs to be pushed back, as nothing anymore is so urgent it cannot wait 24 hours.
When we do return to ‘normal’, I hope to bring back some of that patience and need for time to an otherwise frenetic life. Rather than simply ticking things off, I want to produce something considered, at both work and in life. I hope to bring back this stillness, this quiet, this patience.