How Do You Live in the Moment?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I'm a planner. I like making lists, schedules and deciding things ahead of time. Most of the time, that works well for me. I'm able to get a lot of things done and I'm pretty organized. But sometimes, I wish I could just "go with the flow" a little more and live in the moment. There are times when I know I'm not enjoying what I'm doing right now because I'm thinking about what I need to do later.

I think that can happen a lot when you're trying to lose weight. It's easy to focus on the next 10 pounds or how long it's going to take to get to your goal weight. But when you pay too much attention to the future, sometimes you miss out on enjoying what's happening now. It's easy to miss that you've got a little more energy or you feel a little better today than you did last week, especially if the scale doesn't show that one pound loss you were hoping for. It's important to appreciate all of the small victories along the way, because I think that makes reaching your goal even that much sweeter.

Living for right now is a lesson I can learn from my kids. For the most part, they donít care what's going on next week or next month. They enjoy playing and having fun now, and will take everything else as it comes. I know that's a little bit easier for a 4 and 2-year old than it is for an adult with lots of grown-up responsibilities. But it's still something I could do a better job of incorporating into my own life, especially as I see how fast time goes and how quickly they are growing up. I'm always hounding my husband to come home from work earlier so that we can have family dinners and spend more time together. I tell him that sometimes, work can wait. But our kids are only going to be little for so long, and too quickly the day will come when they would rather have dinner with their friends than with us.

When my daughter says "Mama, will you read to me?", even if I have a million other things I should be doing, I try to stop and spend that time with her. It's not always easy, because the "do-er" in me feels accomplishment when I get a lot of things done. But sometimes, there are other things that are more important. Although I think my organizational and time management skills are good things to have (and they have allowed me to keep working while balancing my family), sometimes I need to learn to take a deep breath and appreciate all of the good things happening in my life right now.

What do you think? Do you live in the moment? If so, any tips for those of us who struggle with it?

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Planned spontaneity worked for me and my family.
There are must do's, but time is needed for the unexpected, wiggle room if you please. I allowed the children to pick no more than two outside activities per week. Religion classes were mandatory and didn't count toward their two. Being a mom with 3 boys, I could only be in so many places at one time. Unfortunately I forgot to schedule ME time. But I did manage to notice the spring flowers blooming, glorious sunsets, chase fireflies with them, etc.
Children do grow all too fast. Report
alwalys can clean the house I did a lot with my kids and the other work was put on the back burner Report
Lists help me to focus but yoga has helped me to live in the have to be in the moment to hold the poses...its also good for aches and pains Report
Living in the moment is something I'm working on. And as the mother of a now 37 year old son, I can tell you that you'll never regret one moment you invest with your daughter while she's a child! What we do regret is the time we spent on less important things. Report
Living in the moment is something I'm working on. And as the mother of a now 37 year old son, I can tell you that you'll never regret one moment you invest with your daughter while she's a child! What we do regret is the time we spent on less important things. Report
I know exactly what you mean about the doer in you wanting to accomplish something on the to do list instead of little interruptions. I have been working on this a lot lately, it's nice to see that I am not the only one. Report
This is definitely me! Report
This is SO me! I have been known for my organizational skills and then, when I had my daughter four years ago, that kind of went out the window. Yes, I too manage work and my family, but it's been tough learning to do just as you say - reading with her, etc. But it's also been a lgreat earning experience.

I'm learning to stop and watch her run across the yard, chasing butterflies.

I'm learning to lay down on the grass and look at shapes in the clouds with her.

I'm learning to stop and do an art project with her.

I'm learning to put on some music and do a silly dance alongside her.

I'm learning to just sit with her and talk about things.

I'm learning to be five minutes late for work because we stopped to marvel at the baby robins in the tree by our house.

The dishes, bills and grocery lists CAN wait. What's important is that she's turning into a great person and I'm there alongside her for the ride. She's teaching me all over again to appreciate life, love and what the world has to offer. Report
I find that I keep trying to plan, but life ends up getting in the way.....something pops up that changes everything and I adapt to accommodate....for that is ME. I work, I sleep and I adapt.....and always looking for the day when everything ends up going to the way I planned it to begin with.....Of course, I am not holding my breathe...for that would be silly Report
I'm thankful my parents lived in the moment! Mom always said, "The housework will always be here, but the kids will grow up too quickly." We may not have had the neatest home, but we had the best childhood! Report
I also am a planner & organizer...The main problem with this is that people are well aware of this & expect me to plan and organize events in THEIR lives as well as mine! NO is an operative word here! Report
I am a planner and organizer. I wish I will be able to just throw my clothes on the floor someday. I am retired and get up at 5 or 6 to exercise seven days a week. I watch my grandchildren 3 days a week so I get up two hours before leaving home just to get that exercise in. I worked full-time while raising three children so every day I had planned, Monday's-dust, Tuesday's-grocery shopping, etc. The kids had chores also and the two that are married took after me. I never saved one day to clean everything as I stayed on top of it. I was a single mother for 13 years so I did all of the after school activities and homework, etc. I am so thankful that I have three beautiful grandchildren that I can dote over now. I always stop and read and when my daughter wants me to do something with her, I always stop what I am doing and join her. Life is just too precious, especially now that there is so much less to waste. Stop and smell the flowers. Report
The time I spend with my kids is absolutely sweet.... and I have learned that when I schedule things... that I need to include that time in my schedule!!! And to be flexible! This article really hit home. Report
Beautiful reminders. I, too, find it hard to live in the moment, especially when I'm going through big changes or transitions in life (be it weight-loss, a new job, moving, getting married, etc). Lately my biggest distraction has been buying my first home-- it's ALL I can think about: what I WILL do, WILL buy, how I WILL decorate, what I still need to do to get ready... none of it is now-- all future. It's important to slow down, relax, and notice all the great things happening right now, each moment in my life and shake off all the future worries and plans sometimes.

Thank you for your thoughts! Report
I find myself spending time with my grandchild that should have been spent with my two girls. Than my time was used for work and keeping a roof over our heads.
I worked than from a planner but, as I look back I never planned for activities with my girls.

Thanks for the reminder. Report
I have had to learn the lesson that you mentioned about reading with your child. I know that when my son says it that it should make me stop immediately what I am doing and sit down and read with them. It's the most important thing in the world to them, therefore it has to be to me as well! Report
I am a planner and list-user big-time. I don't drive so every errand takes extra time on public transportation. I generally have a Plan B, because stuff happens, y'know? I am working on mental and stress issues with a therapist. Even my mother (very active and still working part-time at 82) reminds me we are human beings, not human doings, but I get hung up on not being productive. I got hung up on not waking "fast enough" but it caught up with me (after logging 2000 miles in 18 months); my damaged knee and bad back went nuts, and now I am limited in what I can do. I am gradually extending my walking and trying to learn to listen to my body, not theoretical oughts and shoulds.

It's a tough lesson. I never learned how to be in the moment. My best time is Sunday afternoon, when I visit my daughter and grandkids, and I don't give a moment's thought to my lists and stuff. My life is a struggle and I am unhappy with it, but just want to take care of my household and basic needs and do what I can to help others. I also have some weird hang-ups. I religiously log exercise daily, start and stop times, but refuse to log food and beverages. I want to approach healthier eating slowly; adding more veggies and fruit, trying new things, making a few substitutions for favorites, but I am not going to make drastic changes... and I have enough stress in my life so I am not stressing over tracking food. I am reducing portions. It's a start.

I never learned that any of my wants were reasonable or acceptable. Whenever we wanted something as kids, my sibs and I were told bluntly that people in hell want ice water and we were just as likely to get what we wanted. If we stopped to smell roses, we'd better be pulling weeds or trimming the bushes or picking up rocks so the mower wouldn't catch them. Right now it's really hard for me to identify what I even want, because I have little clue as to what is reasonable or achievable. I make my lists, and if something doesn't get done, I look for another time I can do it, and that in itself is an improvement. Great blog... thanks for food for thought. Report
Kids sure teach us a lot, don't they! Report
I face serious problems by accepting circumstances and being grateful for each day with my husband. We are not defined by his health. Each day gives us time to show love and appreciation for all the blessings we have! Report
I am also a planner. I have a lot of lists and keep everything in a PDA. My husband has a lot of appointments and it keeps the stress out of my life. I do make a list on Sunday's of everything I would like to accomplish during the week. I also watch our granddaughter and great-granddaughter throught he week and I mark down parents work schedule. I will also make an appointment for exercise and then I have the time. If something else comes up, Oh well, I just put what didn't get done on next weeks list.
When my kids were small I didn't care if things got done or not. Beds were most often straightened before they went to bed and then I would do my cleaning. I enjoyed them and played a lot with them and would do it all over again. They are all adults now with their own families and I try to tell them to enjoy the kids, housework will wait. Report
This is funny ... my husband heard a radio program recently about the key to alleviating stress which they said was to plan everything (long term, short term, what have you) ... I told him I thought that would make me more stressed, especially when my plans didn't work out. I tend to be a live-in-the-moment kind of gal. Report
Good blog. Report
I too am a planner by nature. My joke is....I can plan the fun out of anything if you give me enough time. I truly believe I have fibromyalgia to purposely slow me down and enjoy my kids and just being in the moment. Otherwise I'd make everything too organized, too stressful, and so not fun. Report
I used to do too much and tried to do lists and finally I could not do it anymore.
I loved finishing off my list and having the rest of the day to do what I wanted to do.
Now I can't even think of what to put on a list. I live by the moment as I forget all the things I need to do. I love walking with the dogs and grandchildren and seeing what they see. It is so special. Sometimes I wish that I could have done it with my own children. I have Fibromyalgia so I have brain fog a lot of the time. My husband likes organizing and keeping lists so I don't have to. He does it out of love but then I don't have anything to do. He does it so I don't get too tired.
I wish I could do it again. I loved crossing off the to do list chores. I will try and do that again. Thank you for opening my eyes. Report
I agree there are times when you just have to stop and enjoy the moment, like you I am a planner, but I am slowly learning to just sit back and breathe. Also when my sons now 24 and 26 were young I would make time to them, it is a special time and enjoy it fully, it is there and gone just too fast. With this journey to weight loss I love the thought that taking a closer look at the moment is going to make the end even sweeter. Really good thought to keep when the scale is not moving.
After all its a journey and we need to enjoy all its parts. :) Report
I am definitely a planner, and do make lists. I'm a bit obsessed, for sure. I really do try to live in the moment, and I do take time out to enjoy, the company of friends, travelling is top for me. I don't work, so I have a lot of time to get things done, and still enjoy life. Report
Start looking at your lists differently. I have been exploring this over the past few months. Rather than making "lists", I am making themes and guides (that look like lists ;) It's important to remember that these are tools for us to use not tools that use us! So my lists are a guide of what I would like to do but if in the moment I decide something else would bring me more joy in the moment AND in the long term than I do not hesitate to alter my plan and use my tools as I see fit. I am in control of my list, or plan or guide or theme for the month. Report
Once you have made your list scroll through to see how many items can be given away. Assign some items to other members of the family or co-workers and that way you are actually using your list to create some free time. Planners are often perfectionists who find it hard to give responsibility away or rely on others to make things happen. use your planning expertise to practice letting go of control. Report
I am an organizer and planner extrodinaire. I would be lost without my lists, both at work and in my personal life. I am trying to slow down and "smell the roses" a bit more, but it's difficult for me to enjoy the moment if I have work that needs to be done and of course there is always work that needs to be done!
Sometimes I feel like I am missing my life, lol. Report
Ugh, I saw myself in your first paragraph. I, too, like lists and worry about timelines. That makes me the planner at home so we don't miss out on airfares or hotel rooms because we waited too late to start planning a trip. I also keep a running grocery list in plain sight and get annoyed when I look for something in the pantry, only to find we're out, because someone used the last of it and didn't put it on the list. Same at work: list after list. That's the day-to-day stuff. In the larger context of life, when we need a plan to reach job or financial goals, I tend to shrink from planning and instead decide at each fork which path to take. Need some balance. Report
Thanks for the reminder.
I work full time and have a large social life. Book Club, Garden club, Knitting club and monthly dinners with old co-workers/friends all planned monthly events. Than I have a grandson which I 'schedule' in time to keep. My friends reach out to me to plan an event knowing that it will be at least a month out. While I love all of this and I know if these event were not 'scheduled' I would not see all my friends regular I do somethings just want to stop and say 'UNCLE'

I do have a good life with many blessings! Report
I'm a planner as well. When at work, I'm the most organized. However, once I leave work, life hits and distractions abound. I would love to be able to spend more time living in the moment in my personal life. I have on occasion. That's fine... on occasion. However, I found that if I spend too much time living in the moment, that time slips away from me and what all that I needed to get done goes by the wayside. My time is tight as I have so many responsibilities and goals. I start off with a running to-do list for the week. I then determine what needs to be done on certain days of the coming week and prioritize that list daily. If I run out of time, I carry it forward to the next day. I work on this running list til everything on it is done. I keep adding to the list and prioritize as things come up. If I didn't have a to-do list or plan in place, I would be lost approaching each day. The day would pass and I would kick myself for not having done it yesterday because then it becomes one more thing to do today or tomorrow when I have OTHER things to do! Report
I often have the same problem. I've been trying not to plan little things for one day. For example, I won't plan out a lunch but eat what I feel like eating for lunch that day (a healthy lunch, though). I've also tried to leave some time for me, so I can do things I feel like doing--- a bubble bath, reading, tv. Report
I try to live in the moment but in my head there is always a running list of things to be done. But, I do try. Report
I read Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of NOW" and have learned to live in the moment as this is the only life we will ever have. When it is over it is over.
But, I grew up in the '50's and my parents didn't spoil me. My brother & I entertained ourselves. My mother was always busy with housework & my Dad worked so we read books to ourselves. I didn't help my mother much since she wanted things done perfectly. When I had my DD I had her help me cook & clean & praised her for what she did. That helped make her confident as an adult. Best "lesson" I could have given her. Report
Because of health issues, I learned to take each min ute of life God granted me, and cherish it to the fullest. Report
I would probably drive most people crazy, I make my little list just to help me remember but, it doesn't really matter when it needs to get done. Today, tomorrow, next week... maybe next year! As long as there's food in the fridge, gas in the car, and the mortgage is paid I'm good. This is my time to take care of me and SP is helping me get healthy and fit. Staying tethered to the computer is keeping me on track during these crucial first weeks on the program. The messes can wait till after I finish the novel or work on next year's lesson plans. They'll be there when I'm ready. If it gets to be too much I was thinking of hiring a maid service to come in and clean...Did I mention hate cleaning! LOL
talking about daily routines and so called important things that we schedule in advance, i think one should just stop for1sec and ask: "what are my priorities?
is this task that i am supposed to do right now what i would really choose to do? will i regret not doing this in 5 years?" Report
im working on it;-) Report
My issue is that I end up spending too much time planning my time and then run out of time to get my to do's done - it doesn't even make sense when I see this in written down! I have the best of intentions, but you can only schedule so much in your day. It is good to have free time to just "be" especially with my husband and children. It can be difficult and I understand the struggle to achieve this balance. Report
Living in the moment you are in can really open your eyes to what you are ignoring.Mindfullness can be used to focus on anything. Eating mindfully helps you realize when you are satiated. Walking mindfully helps you appreciate the beauty of the world around you.I learned this the hard way after a wretched injury.Check out what mindfullness is all about. You'll never miss a moment of your own life again. Report
I had to laugh ... your first paragraph is me to a T. I live with a "go with the flow" man, so most of the time we balance each other out. It's a struggle to not micro-manage all the details of life ... Report
So true! Having a young kiddo has helped me a LOT with in-the-moment thinking/living. I tend to be very goal and results-oriented, so my mind is often many steps ahead of what I'm doing RIGHT NOW. When my son comes up to me and asks, "Mommy, will you play with it?" it's definitely an important reminder that I need to step back and enjoy life as it is today, not how it will be in one week, one month, one year, or even more in the future... Report
On the rare occasion I am able to just be in the moment it provides me with an unmeasurable feeling of inner peace! Sometimes when I am feeling stressed I summon the memory of a time when I "got lost" in my backyard garden and it really helps to calm me. Report
my suggestion is, when you are having tugs and pulls, to ask yourself: "Will the "interruption" help to enrich and build an important relationship?" "Will it really hurt to wait or put off my plans to do something more important right now with this person?" Then you'll have the answer you'll need to decide.

Whether the "interruption" is your lover, spouse, friend, child, a natural phenomenum (e.g. the sunset), a song, or even, your own needs, consider what could lost in terms of the opportunity to experience something that will only happen in that moment and won't be ever repeated. Versus the need to be organized and future oriented and ignore the moment.
As a teacher, I try to recognize this as well. Instead of plowing on through multiplication problems, sometimes we need an extra recess! Report
When I get up I pray then I let God be the leader of my step yes I have fun but oif Report
I'm a lot like DLG0505. At work I'm very organized, but in my personal life I'm very spontaneous (except when I'm getting together with people who like to plan.)

However, my dad is a big planner. He used to write all those little things on his list. In addition to "make dinner" and "pick up dry cleaning", he would have things like "take Natalie to school" and "help Natalie with homework." I always thought it was funny when I younger. Like he'd ever forget to do those things that he did every day! To me, those are just the little things that come with being a parent. However, for him, he finds satisfaction in crossing things off his list. I now understand that he's very type A and that it works for him. But it still makes me smile when he pulls out his organizer (our family calls it his 'life') to cross off some small task. Report
I am far from being an organizer or scheduler. I am the type of person that get what needs to be done but with some procrastination included. I have too much time on my hands to make excuses for not completing my daily tasks. I am in a relationship, but I do not have any kids. I was so focused on having fun and partying with the girls instead of putting my plans in action. I want to become more organized and responsible for my actions. It is hard changing something that you have been doing for so long. I really appreciate your post because it has open my eyes to do better. Once someone said "If you try, you will fail. But if you do your best then you will succeed" I never understood what that meant until now. Everything in life we are striving so hard to try when we should be focusing on doing our best!!! Report
I have never been much of a planner, save for 'big things' so I find that a little more difficult to do...
go for a walk with a dog or with your little ones, and let them lead the way.. watch what they watch, look at the things they notice... i have come to really appreciate all that is around us as my dog and I walk - how the stars move across the sky at night, the little creatures all around us (he is really good at noticing rabbits)..
or just stop and sit - reflect on how you are feeling, your dreams, your hopes (and if 'i need to crosses your mind banish it), your breath... pay attention to the sounds around you..
if there is something you want to do just go and do it - the things on your list will wait, just as you tell your husband (or whoever) work will wait... and just like with any other skill we wish to improve... practice being spontaneous Report
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