Friday Foto Fun :: learning to play jacks, or, one thing at a time

This week I was teaching my son how to play jacks.  It was a bit of stretch to remember and I actually  had to look up the rules! It had a really long since the last time I played.  When is the last time you played jacks?

 As I showed him how to play, I found myself thinking it was so much harder than I remembered! When we were kids, didn’t it just seem that it was pretty easy to move up through the numbers?  I got through the ones easy enough, but after that my game crumbled. It was hard for my kiddo to master and he ended up moving on to a more modern day type of game.

It left me thinking though, as these things tend to do.

What I realized is that simple as the game is, it requires the all important, ever elusive F-O-C-U-S!  To time the ball bounce to give you enough time to reach down and capture the jacks and then catch the ball, means you have to pay attention to what you got goin’ on right in front of you. Not the laundry waiting {impatiently}, not the list of errands { ever expanding }, and not checking Facebook.  It seems that most of us are multi-tasking fiends these days. We check our email while doing three other things, check our tweets & texts while grocery shopping, check stats while trying to write. You know who you are!  But while multi-tasking is awesome and can give you that thrilling feeling of being invincible; leaving you to ponder what color your cape should be; it can also rob us of of focusing on one thing at a time.

Last summer I went to a conference and in one session; multi-tasking was the topic.  The faciliator had us do an exercise where we had to write out the numbers 1-26 and the letters A-Z. Sounds simple, right?  But we had to write them one number, then one letter, one number, one letter, and so on. On two separate lines.  And, he timed us.  Then we had to write out the number line and then the alphabet, in their sequential order. One at a time. He timed us.  Overwhelmingly, we all finished the second round in half the time as the first round.  We all laughed because we all got it; multi-tasking is not all it’s cracked up to be. Our time was quicker, our handwriting  was far more legible and our work was much better. But most significant was how we felt; it was chaotic the first go round; rushing and juggling between  numbers and letters; our brains constantly switching from one to the next.  When we focused on one thing at time; we were more relaxed, more in control, more calm. We were more successful.

In our crazy lives it’s a challenge to get ourselves to slow down and as counter productive as it may be, it’s hard to resist the 5 things at once approach. It’s really hard to slow down and do  –  { wait gotta check my email real quick }  – just one  {  oh, I got a text, wonder who that is?  } thing at { I better switch the laundry now }  a time.

I know it’s not Friday Video Fun, but I just love this video from the ‘Tales of Mere Existence‘ series.   Take a moment and do just one thing at a time watch this humorous take on another example of the ever elusive F-O-C-U-S.  But, I am sure you can’t relate.

{  enjoy your moments this weekend. play a game of jacks with someone you adore }


4 thoughts on “Friday Foto Fun :: learning to play jacks, or, one thing at a time

  1. i played a lot of jacks as a kid but don’t think i’d remember ‘all the rules’. it is hard to not try to do it all at once. however, i will say this. just got my first real cell phone today (only had a tracphone before and haven’t even had that for awhile). and it is a smart phone. hopefully it doesn’t encourage me to keep trying to do everything and instead makes it easier!!! love the procrastination video. someone should be paying me royalties for using the story of my life.


    • Welcome to smart phone connected world! You will love it and hate it..but mostly love it is my guess! What did you get? Love your comment about royalties on the video. We’d have to split those royalties, I am afraid! 🙂


  2. Thanks so much for stopping by to read and glad it was something you could enjoy and relate to a bit. I think these days we are all stretched in way too many directions. You are so disciplined to resist a smart-do-everything-at-once phone! I bet you have more peace in your life than the rest of us. A blue cape sounds perfect – great color choice!


  3. This was a good post. This is one of the reasons I don’t have one of those “do-everything” phones, even though it’s a temptation because I like wearing a blue cape. lol. It’s hard enough to focus on the task that’s right in front of me without all that other stuff going on.

    Thanks for writing it!


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