This month we have talked about diligence and all of the positive outcomes when we practice taking our time, not rushing but doing our work carefully. This is good advice for the school work of children, chores at home, and for adults. With adults taking our time when we have conversations with our children – really listening, doing our work at our job and at home with care and mindfully will set a good example for our children.
In the end though practicing diligence has such a good effect on us as individuals. I know that I feel so much better about the work that is accomplished when I am totally present for that work, taking my time, thinking the process out and finding ways to be sure that the job is complete and well done. The same is true of our children. Helping them to appreciate the effort that they put into being diligent, and how it paid off in a job well done will encourage them to continue to practice good effort, careful planning and preparation, and willing to double check for quality. It will also make them proud of the work and results of doing their task with diligence.
The number one thing that keeps us from doing our very best work is distractions. They may be from outside sources or the distractions may be from within ourselves. Whether we are adults or children we can easily be thinking about the next thing we need to do or worse want to do that make it difficult to work diligently.
Here is a list of some of the major distractions that affect both young and older adults:
friends interrupting us (phone, texts, email, social media)
technology (problems, surfing, games)
unorganized desks (messy desks, backpacks, files on computer, room)
fears (fears of failing, success, doing a good job)
team members (different personalities and work ethics)
What is it that distracts you the most? Which from the list above is the one that gets you off course and what can you do to deal with those distractions? If we are distracted and are not working diligently our time is wasted and we find we do not have the time to do the other things that we would like to do.
Have you ever noticed how when you are trying to practice doing your work with diligence that things get in the way and we get distracted from our work or task? We use the command to “FOCUS” to our children and for many of us we say it to ourselves too.
There are so many distractions that can get in the path of working with diligence, some of them from the outside and others from within. For our children, noise, other children playing, or making funny faces is hard to resist looking at – taking our attention away from our work. We want to look at what is happening and laugh too.
What can you do if distractions are happening when you are trying to finish your work? The 3 step plan we talked to our students about was:
Ask them to stop in a kind way
Ask the teacher or adult for help
Ask the teacher or adult to move us
If your child is having a hard time with keeping their mind on the task at hand, practice these strategies to give them the courage to use them in their classroom.
We are defining diligence as doing our work carefully, with concerted and consistent effort. As I have been talking to our students about that this week, I cannot help but think about how this ties in with the concept of being mindful. When we are mindful, whatever the task is at hand – that is what we are giving our attention. So if we are cleaning up after dinner – then we are only thinking about that and not what is next on our agenda of tasks.
This can be difficult at first. All of us though have had the experience of quickly completing a task only to need to go back and revisit how it was completed. Teaching our children to slow down and not rush just to be able to move on to “what we really want to do” is an important part of helping them overcome stress as they take on more responsibilities.
Finally diligence is not about being or getting everything done perfectly before we move on. It is only about truly doing our best on the task we are working on. When we do our best, we can feel good about the results and see where we need to improve and not be disappointed by “silly mistakes” due to rushing the project.