Staying focused has always been a challenge of mine.
(Note to self: that could be one of the reasons why you have some sliiiight problems with posting stuff on this blog on a regular basis…just a wild guess)
Okay. Okay. Okay. The thing is; I tend to want to be somewhere else. Always. When I’m in the middle of reading a book, I suddenly feel like writing a letter. As I’m writing the letter, I feel like cooking something. And as the kitchen is all messed up, I get an idea for a picture that I have to take. Right away.
It’s like my head is not capable of being in one place.
This can be frustrating. Everyone knows how good it feels to finish things. To write the last line of an article you’ve been struggling with for days. To paint the wall you’ve been planning to paint for two years. Finishing something releases this great energy – and it makes you feel like anything is possible! But when your focus shifts every five minutes, it’s really hard to get to that place…
So. I’ve decided to do the grown up thing. No more putting my fingers in my ears singing lalalalalalala. No more saying that this is who I am, and I just can’t do anything about it. I’m looking for long-term solutions! For some time now, I’ve been experimenting with different strategies for finding my long lost focus. And believe it or not, I’ve actually found a few things that works:
1) Hour by hour scheduling.
I might not be inventing the wheel here, but I’ve found that making a good old time table helps me stick to one activity at the time. Every morning I try to make a list of stuff that I want to get done during the day, and I decide how long I want to work on the different tasks (and in which order). This way, I don’t have to (ehm…get to) answer my email as I’m writing a blogpost or solve world problems during lunch. Very liberating – and effective! I usually do each activity for an hour, and I put in plenty of breaks. (And here are some breaking news: it’s highly necessary, I would say ESSENTIAL, to sneak fun stuff in between the not so fun parts!)
I’ve been writing about this before, but it can’t be said too often. I consider meditation to be my (not so) secret superhero weapon in my fight against the evil armies of King Chaos and Queen Doubt. Meditation is just a metaphor for living. As I get better at sitting still without reacting to my thoughts and emotions, I also get better at keeping my focus in all other areas of life.
Ah, it sounds so boring! Like some creepy animal sneaking up from behind and attacking my freedom. But I’m slowly starting to realize that some routines are actually very helpful if I want to get things done. Why? Because they help me cut down on the ridiculous amount of time I spend on arguing with myself. If I know that I will be working out every Tuesday and Friday, I don’t have to spend my precious energy trying to convince myself that it is better to do it tomorrow. And if I know that I’m getting up at 8, I don’t have to have that exhausting fight with my alarm clock every single day. Routines for President! (as long as there is still enough time to play…)
No work without a reward! This is simple children pedagogy, I know, rabbits and carrots, but hey, it’s been working for thousands of years! Chocolate. Fresh air. Sex. Reading a book. Watching an episode of Seinfeld. Knowing that something good is waiting for me in the horizon will always makes me work a little bit harder – and faster! And I suspect I’m not the only one who’s brain is functioning like this. (Oh, Homo Sapiens you are such a predictable species…) More carrots, please!
That’s it for now.
100 grown up points for me!
(and probably about a thousand hypocrite points if I don’t get better at updating this blog…)
Please let me know if you have any good advice on how to keep my head in place.