How I Made Focusing My Super Power
I have been getting a lot of questions lately around how to stay focused. It's not uncommon to feel like a squirrel in this modern society full of flashing screens and notifications. However, with dedication and persistence, you can successfully focus. Your first task - focusing long enough to finish this post!
Checking In With My Doc
During my first ever visit to my Naturopath, we did a deep dive into my day to day activities. I mentioned my stress around managing my energy. I felt obsessed with getting enough sleep and eating a proper diet or else I would feel exhausted. Heck, I felt exhausted anyways!
So we did some bloodwork. Turns out I was extremely low in Vitamin D as well as Iron. Six months and several supplements later, I no longer feel unusual fatigue following me around each day.
The science is out - Meditation changes your brain in amazing ways. Practicing meditation has helped me get control of my Monkey Mind and learn to focus.
"But Devin - I can't meditate! I have too many thoughts in my head running around!"
This is like saying you can't strength train because you aren't very strong. Practicing meditation helps you strengthen your focusing muscle. The busier your mind - the more you need to practice meditating.
Diet + Exercise + SLEEP
I once had a roommate who would often complain about his inability to focus. We would have these conversations while he was eating a lunch comprised of pure junk food and chugging an energy drink, only to be followed by a cigarette.
Let's be clear - I am not judging any of this behavior and I would be lying if I said I never did any of those things. But I am floored by the number of people I meet who complain of their inability to stay focused who also treat their body like a garbage can.
What you do with your body affects your mind and your energy. If you want to feel focused, you cannot skip taking care of your body.
Taking Restorative Breaks
Working less can help you work more. Make sure you are taking restorative breaks throughout your day, week, month, and year. A restorative break can be taking a walk, stretching, catching up with a friend, meditating, etc. It does not mean scrolling on social media.
Here's the thing: your brain will take a break-even if you don't want it to. I personally take a break from Noon - 2 pm every day. No one is getting any quality work done during that time. So if you work straight through lunch, don't be surprised to find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Facebook at 2 pm.
Finding My Calling
I used to work in an office on projects that I could literally not care less about. One day I tracked my time and was astounded by the results - I did about two hours of actual work over the course of my 8-hour workday.
This was a sobering moment. I kept asking myself - "am I lazy?!?!?!?"
The answer is a big fat NO. I just didn't like the job and was unaware of that fact. So I quit, packed my bags, headed to Portland, and explored other career choices. Now I have to force myself to stop working.
If you are doing something you truly despise, no amount of meditation or medication will help you. There are hacks, sure, like setting a timer and rewarding yourself afterward - but this is not sustainable. If you truly hate cleaning - hire a cleaning person. If you truly hate the basic duties of your job day to day - find a different profession.
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