Do you have a hard time being present?

When my children were small, I was a single mother working hard to be everything my kids needed me to be, while putting in a lot of hours running my growing company.

Looking back I found it very difficult to be present. When I wasn’t working I was taking my kids from one activity to another. I didn’t realize then how “on overload” I really was. Wherever I was, my mind would be thinking about something else I should be doing.

When I would take time off to volunteer at school I would feel guilty about not being at work. While at work I would think about the kids and their after-school activities. The problem is we are never “where we are” and it keeps us from being our best self, and certainly from living our best life.

I made changes in my life to have a manageable schedule and have learned to be present. I still find it challenging at times, and think everyone struggles with living in the moment, especially in this digital age where we are barraged with information.

You can learn to be more present and doing so creates a calmer and happier state of mind and healthy well-being. It will also improve the relationships with your family and those you work with.

Here are 5 success tips to help you be more present:

  1. Be Still. When you find your mind in a frenzied state give yourself a time out. Take a few minutes to be still and just be grateful for all you have. You can choose to be still inside even amidst the world’s chaos around you. Slow your mind down and concentrate only on your breathing for a few minutes. When your mind wanders, simply tell yourself “not now” and return to the steady inflow and outflow of your breath. As part of my morning routine I spend at least 10 minutes in a quiet meditation. It makes a positive impact on my entire day.
  2. Do One Thing at a Time. You probably don’t realize just how much you try to do at once sending your brain into chaos. We are not meant to multitask and simple aren’t capable of it. Instead our mind attempts to shift from one thing to the other and back again. The other night I was sitting with my husband watching a TV series and caught myself with my laptop on my lap looking up airline tickets, while watching the TV, and then responding to a MarcoPolo from my daughter that showed up on my phone. Yikes! So whatever you are going to do, do just that, and that one thing only.
  3. Clear the Clutter. There is nothing more distracting than a cluttered office, desk or even computer desktop. If you need to, schedule time in your calendar to organize and clean up your office, clear your desk, and clean up your home screen. Eliminate the clutter from around you so when you are working on a project you only have that project in front of you without distractions of pop ups or something on your desk to catch your eye.
  4. Add Room to Your Schedule. One of the issues with being present is that we have so much packed into our day we are literally running from appointment to appointment. Change this by adding a 15-30 minute cushion between your appointments so you have a buffer for overruns, traffic, etc. Just this small change can make a big difference in allowing you to relax and be fully engaged where you are.
  5. Make a Pact. You can be more present but it will take work. Make a pact with yourself that you will be in the moment. If you are in a meeting at work, you will be there fully at that meeting. If you are on a work call, you will be there fully on the call, and not attempting to check your email at the same time ( you know you’ve done this). If you are at lunch with a friend, be there with your friend completely present, your phone put away.

Although it takes discipline and perseverance to remain present and, in the moment, you can do it. Follow these 5 success tips and enjoy the positive difference being present makes in your life.


  • Janelle Bruland

    Entrepreneur, Leadership Coach, Author, Speaker, Podcast Host, & Co-Founder of Legacy Leader

    Janelle Bruland is an entrepreneur, author, speaker, and high-performance coach who inspires others to live impactful and successful lives. She is Founder and CEO of Management Services Northwest, a company she started in her living room in 1995 and has grown into an industry leading company, named one of the Fastest Growing Private Companies by Inc. magazine. The CPO of Microsoft, Mike Simms, describes her as a true pioneer in her field. Janelle is also the Co-Founder of Legacy Leader, a leadership development company that teaches business professionals how to build a legacy, transform their leadership, and love their life. She is the author of The Success Lie: 5 Simple Truths to Overcome Overwhelm and Achieve Peace of Mind.
    Janelle is a lifelong resident of Whatcom County, Washington and is married with five children. In her leisure time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, traveling, golf, as well as keeping fit through various sports and activities.