I have a confession to make. I have been totally unfocused on my own work lately. I am blaming a bunch of exterior factors and demands but I am also to blame because I forgot something fundamental in the last few weeks, and that is to take some time for myself and take care of my mind.
As Dr Michael Rich, Harvard physician, puts it, “Downtime is to the brain what sleep is to the body”, so honour your limits and allow your brain to truly relax. When you’re fresh, focus, when you’re spent, refresh.
Unfortunately today, when it comes to health, we generally put the emphasis on the body, eating well, exercising and getting our sleep.
But we also have to pay attention to our mind because if we are not happy, it doesn’t matter how fit or physically healthy we are, we won’t be able to enjoy our bodies and we won’t be able to focus.
To protect your focus, you need to remove external distractions as well as internal distractions. A cluttered mind cannot focus.
When it comes to external distractions, we think about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Netflix, the news media, your spouse, your partner, your kids, all the newsletters you subscribe to, etc etc. They are all pulling at us, wanting our attention, constantly soliciting our focus and luring us in a lot of different directions at higher and higher speed! What can we do about it and how do we maintain focus?
First, we have to accept that focus is there or it isn’t and that it cannot be divided. So let’s stop trying to multitask and handle three things at the same time, it just doesn’t work. Trying to split your attention between two tasks, you can focus on neither.
Focusing means you are paying attention to something for an extended period of time while tuning out other stimuli and it is not easy. But it is what makes the difference between successful projects and wasted time.
The media companies, content creators, sellers of anything and everything are in the business of grabbing as much attention as they can. Your focus is only a commodity to them but it is the difference between success and failure to you.
Take care of your mind so that you can enjoy your healthy body. A calmer, clearer mind is more able to make better choices and also to focus, to work faster and more efficiently.
Breathing and other meditation exercises will help calming the mind. A calm mind listens better. A calm mind is a powerful tool for focus.
We must think about training our minds like we do our body, even if it means scheduling and even if it only for a few minutes a day. In the long run, it will make a difference.
Finding time to quiet the mind brings a sense of happiness in yourself but also more clarity about making changes towards positive health and towards better focus.
I certainly plan on getting back on track on this.
Take care and stay safe!
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