The problem of having the mind elsewhere


I’ve recently realised that the greatest problem of our time is a very subtle one. We tend to believe that the problem is we have too many things to do and too little time and hence we become stressed.

This is partly true. Over-commitment is a widespread phenomena, but with a bit of awareness and a sincere self-analysis you can define your true priorities and start tossing out everything else. This could be hard, I know. But definitely worth it.

The real thing is a deeper one. And it lies in our minds.

As we are working we are thinking about what to cook for dinner, as we are at home we keep struggling on some bad situation we faced while we were working. When we are with our friends we keep checking our smartphones and when we are at the gym we can’t help but think about that one call we need to make as we complete our workout.

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

I’ve probably exaggerated a bit. But I’m sure that now you are recalling similar situations you have been involved in. Our mind is pretty much always somewhere else. It almost never sticks to the action we are taking at the present moment.

If you think about it you can easily realise that this phenomena has increased by a thousand times in the last decades: the worldwide diffusion of internet, smartphones and social networks created an always-connected lifestyle. Most of us are connected and reachable almost 24/7. This is of course amazing, but at the same time it has some costs. Being constantly connected enables us to get in touch with people, to get news from all over the world, to share our feelings and situation with everyone, but at the same time it deprives us of the beauty of the present moment.

Our minds are continuously filled by new information, new urgent tasks are continuously overtaking the few important tasks we would like to accomplish. As our mind is moving here and there we lose the magic of the moment, we rush trough life as we are running a world championship. But this is a natural consequence of being always connected. We know that something might jump on us at every time and thus we feel obliged to accomplish everything the fastest way possible, to be extremely flexible and to abuse of multi-tasking.

Is it really worth it?

I don’t think so. In my opinion doing some task while thinking about something else is not the way we should live. By keeping our minds busy with some other thoughts we just decrease our effectiveness and thus both decrease the quality of our output and increase the time we need to process the activity itself. In addition we nourish the idea of doing a lot, while in fact we are getting very little done.

My suggestion is to try a different approach, to focus only on what you are doing and to forget about everything else. Be in the moment, live it. Don’t let other worries affect what you are experiencing now, there will be time to solve problems, to face challenging situations. You shouldn’t bother problems you cannot solve now: if you are with your friends just enjoy your time, don’t think about the report you have to hand in next week.

I know it is extremely hard, in particular when talking about work and family issues. But if we don’t manage to overcome this situation it will be like working 24/7, thinking about that argument all day long, reviving a bad situation over and over again.

As a first step in the development of a more natural way of living I suggest you to practice some disconnection: define some time during the day when you commit not to use your social accounts/internet/smartphone. Secondly I recommend you to change your email habit: avoid checking your inbox just before going home from the office or right before the weekend starts. If you find some upcoming work in those moments you just ruin your evening/weekend.

This might sound very simple, but trust me, it’s already a big step.

Your opinion

What do you think about this post? Is your mind continuously going elsewhere? What do you think we can do about it? Please let me know in the comments below!

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8 thoughts on “The problem of having the mind elsewhere

  1. Great post and so true! My smartphone recently went for a swim and I decided not to replace it for awhile. It’s been over a month and I am so glad for the disconnect – I feel free. Sad how much it had occupied my mental and emotional space.

    One day I was running errands with my husband and we stopped at the car wash. It was a beautiful day and we were chatting as we waited. He expressed appreciation for the absence of my phone, saying I was more “present”. I was startled, not having realized how much it got in the way. I’ve continued enjoying being “present” with people and my life feels less harried and enjoyable.

    I’m getting a new phone soon for work purposes, but I’d like to maintain my renewed sense of freedom and presence in life.

    Great thoughts here!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Michelle! I’m glad you had the opportunity to live again the “old way”. It sounds strange but since the introduction of smartphones we completely changed the way we perceive reality.. taking a step back from time to time can be really usefull! Hope to see you here again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is so true! With this crazy busy life you can hardly focus on one thing as your mind is running through an endless to-do list! But i have been trying my best to stop every once in a while and just stop! Focus and think of the “Now”. Also the book ” Hands Free Mama” has helped a lot! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great words. I was listening to time in a bottle by jim croce while reading this, and it seemed to fit so well.
    I guess to me I think about our individual perception of time – and I agree, we seem to have this mentality of ‘running out of time’ and we need to get to and achieve the next goal, and tick the next box in shortest amount of time.
    This is something I have thought about a bit too, it’s like we have this image / ideal of a destination we are trying to reach, which is our ideal life, we just need to achieve this that and the other to get there… in the words of Jim Croce; ‘there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them”…. it’s a great topic for thought 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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