Like a lot of households right now, my family is online… a lot! Both my daughters are doing virtual school, and almost all my work is happening remotely. Fortunately, 98% of the time we don’t have any problems.
But last week we did.
It was Friday afternoon, and we were all in our own Zoom rooms. As usual, I had a ton of tabs open on my computer that had slowly accumulated throughout the week. Everything was working fine until, unbeknownst to me, one of my daughters went on Disney+. At the time, all I knew was my video became super blurry during my meeting with my book publisher.
For those who aren’t tech savvy (I include myself in that group), turns out we were having a bandwidth issue. The business-grade Internet at our house is great, but we were using too much of it. Even with high-quality Internet, there’s only so much capacity (thanks to the technicians who came out on a Friday evening to confirm there wasn’t a bigger issue at play).
When the bandwidth is stretched so thin something has to give, or the quality and efficiency is going to go down. Apparently, having 30 tabs open isn’t a good idea. Neither is streaming Guardians of the Galaxy when there are three different Zoom meetings occurring in the house.
What’s Taking up Your Bandwidth?
Bandwidth applies to more than just the Internet. As human beings, we only have so much capacity at any one time. People are juggling a lot of responsibilities right now. While also social distancing. And dealing with an intense election season. And…. And… And…
If your bandwidth is already stretched, it’s understandable to feel exhausted or ineffective. This is not a reflection on your abilities or your strength as a person. Just like the highest quality Internet can perform poorly, the most capable people can only deal with so much until they reach a breaking point.
What does it feel like when you’re stretched too thin? For some it’s exhaustion or depression. Others feel jittery or even manic. Whatever you feel, it’s not a sign of weakness.
It’s a sign you are human.
Focus on Your Choices and What You Control
We don’t always have a choice about what takes up our bandwidth (i.e. a global pandemic, online schooling, work expectations, social unrest, unexpected illness). But we do have choices over what we do at any given moment. That might mean closing some tabs—even if just setting them aside for the time being.
Focusing on 30 things isn’t possible. Literally! You might have to address all 30 tabs eventually, but you 100% have control over how you prioritize and approach them.
One-Minute Thoughtfully Fit Workout
So what do you do? Especially if you’re already at capacity?
You engage your core.
When you feel stretched, Pause.
Think about what’s taking up your bandwidth. It might help to write it down or say it out loud. This will raise your awareness about what you’re dealing with. Then ask yourself, what’s most important right now?
From there, Act. Remember, you’re not deciding what’s most important for the day, week, or month. You’re intentionally deciding what’s most important for that moment. Perhaps you need to finish one email. Or create a to do list. Or reboot your computer, take a breath and allow yourself to reboot as well.
You decide what you choose to do.
And yes! You can do this in one minute. Give it a try and see if things start to look clearer.
P.S.- If you need help opening up some bandwidth, my team of coaches can help. Learn more about our awesome coaching team or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get matched with a coach and schedule a free exploratory session.
When my daughters were learning about meditation they discovered the Headspace app. This is great for anyone who’s looking to close a few mental tabs and quiet their mind. The soothing voice of the host is very relaxing (and has helped me calm down more than once!).