Finding your focus and getting things done
Sunny focused photos
Sundays are probably the best days to reflect and tidy up. This Sunday I have decided to back up my old iPhone photo gallery. While I was doing it, pictures have been flipping blazingly fast in front of my screen. Whole year in a couple of seconds. I was gazing away in this divine fast-forward of my life when one particular photograph caught my attention. This especially sunny Sunday has reflected in that single photo. Suddenly I have started to think about focus. Some of you who are into photography know how important focus is. It makes things clear, images sharp and smiles visible. Funny enough, this photo made me think more of how do I maintain focus in my life. One could think that focus in business is like they are describing it in the book The One Thing. If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one. I believe this is not the right analogy. Lets take a look at this photo once again. You clearly see the model, then another model behind. You see the sun blazing and in the front you see photographers taking pictures. Focus clearly means cutting to the most important scene (in this case the model and new collection). At the same time that does not mean that the blurry parts are not as important.
What are you doing now? Are you happy? Is your mind wandering?
I remember reading an article from New York Times about the recent Harvard study of happiness. Researchers used an iPhone app and contacted 2500 individuals asking them how were they feeling and what were they doing at the moment. One could easily guess what were the happiest persons doing. Surprise came from 99 percent of people who were not having sex. Half of them reported that their minds were not present. They were simply not focused on the thing they were doing. This brings the question of what should we do in order to perfect our eagle eye focusing skills. We live in the red bull - ritalin - coffee environments. There is a saying that industrial revolution started when British bars introduced coffee instead of rum. Putting revolutions aside I believe the answer to better thinking cannot be prescribed by your doctor nor your barista.
Low willpower is in the love with distraction
We are all struggling with multiple distractions every day. Twitter feeds, e-mail floods, telephones… Using Internet makes us super shallow. We are rapidly losing our ability to read and think deeply. Lately I have been exploring a method of solidifying my willpower by more efficient dieting complemented by more exercise. It seems like this has enormous effect on my thinking. Self control spills from rejecting cookie dough ice-cream from rejecting to answer an email immediately. I have found out that will power is like fuel. It can ran out. Thus we need to find a way how to keep the levels high. Our 140-character culture is surely not helping this constant fight. One of the things I am struggling with is making proper mini-vacations. Constant feel of missing out of the action or being perceived as lazy one prevents me from going away for longer weekends without laptops, iPads and rest “working screens”. To summarize, eat, sleep and move should be first step in your focus training mission.
Measure everything. If you cannot measure you cannot manage it.
Lets start with one thing you should stop measuring. Your working hours. Putting more hours in does not mean you will get extra output. In my quest to become a more of Ubermensh I have started with simple, small and measurable goals. The first enemy to defeat was my weight. Ninety seven kilos to seventy nine. In nine months. Feels like I was reborn. This was simple to measure. Nice thing I have started to notice about measuring and simple goals was the interplay of your weight, your running miles, words typed. One is leading to another. This positive feedback loop makes sure you meet your goals in every territory. More running means more weight loss leading to more running leading to better thinking and healthier and happier self. Focus and energy are always intertwined. High focus and high energy lead to purposefulness.
15 seconds of truth
It took around 15 seconds for my computer to flip 1000 photos from my iPhone. These 15 seconds and one perfectly focused photo made me think about my last year. I got to know that I am at the beginning, eager to master new skills and continuing to practice focus and maintaining high energy.
It made me feel good as I have understood that whole picture needs to be shown while only sharpening important things. Sometimes you need to see what is behind blurry things as well. Learning to adjust our focus and switch between abstract and specific thinking is something I am going to explore in my next posts.
This article was written on Sunday in the cafe bar without Internet connection in order to achieve mindfulness and mental focus. It feels good. Try it.