Finding Focus

Do more things that make you forget to check your phone.

As I sit here on my front deck with my laptop open ready to write and explore my thoughts about Focus I have my earphones on listening to a podcast by Esther Perel. I have tabs open that I keep jumping to, trying to skim-read articles I have saved that I haven’t prioritized time to read. My attention is all over the place. And it’s making my head spin.

I sit down to watch Netflix, and find 15 minutes has gone by as I scroll through the endless choices, none of which appeal.

In this era of constant distractions and information overload, managing our time is not enough. Prioritizing and scheduling, spreadsheets and meditation apps are not going to do it for me if I am not keeping distractions at bay.

I have turned off the podcast.  I have closed the tabs.  It felt uncomfortable; the  fear that I am missing something…

Time is precious and it’s becoming more and more so. I am feeling a stronger desire than ever to protect it, claim it, use it intentionally and in alignment with my values.  

Most of my life I have rejected planning and structure (I have linked them to control and authority, and reactively rebelled against them). Finally I am learning some of the lessons life keeps trying to show me, and recognizing that planning and structure allow for focus, attention, and ultimately a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction as I actually complete the things I want to do. The result: greater trust and belief in myself. 

Focus requires discipline. Another descriptor I have not associated with myself, and rebelled against. So I have decided to edit my out of date stories and I am going to choose discipline. I am choosing focus. I am reclaiming my attention that is being constantly competed for in a world requiring I buy more, be more, be different, fit in to consumer values that make me shiver, and at the same time I get hooked into because of their sparkly images. I choose to stop being diverted by the myriad of time-wasting, and energy-sapping distractions. And this is how I am going to start:

  • Getting back on track with daily planning of my day.  I will return to daily morning time with my bullet journal to note and park all the stuff swirling in my head. I will then choose between 1 and 3 things I will focus on that day.  I’ve tried this before and it works in a good enough way.
  • Get back on track with journalling (this may be part of the above, but I commit to regular (most days) writing of something, even if it’s a sentence about the weather.  Claiming this daily time and space allows for a slowing down and reflection of what I am carrying into my day.  It supports response rather than reactivity.
  • Intentionally choosing what I watch on Netflix or CBC Gem (no cable), and when. One episode only (most of the time, with the occasional binge watching!). And getting up to move my body through any commercials.
  • Continuing to put my phone down when I come home from work. Treating it as an old fashioned 1980s home phone that can only move as far as the spiral cord allows!
  • Schedule time for reading & time for podcasts.  Choose reading over Netflix.  
  • Stop buying into the story I am too busy.  And start being busy with the things that bring me energy, satisfaction and ideally moments of joy.

Wishing you focus and attention on the activities and habits that allow for a feeling of true alignment with your most possible self…

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