To Hear The Silence, Stop The Noise
What was I doing again?
Right, recently I had a conversation with a friend about the struggles of staying focussed.
We’ve all had moments where we can’t seem to focus on the tasks that we planned to do for the day. For some of us, those days happen more often than we’d like. Whether it’s fatigue, lack of motivation, distraction, or something else, our incapability to focus stands in the way of our productivity. Therefore, it can jeopardise in what we want to achieve.
I also had moments when my focus was off track. I planned to create content for my first start-up company through blogging. I couldn’t pull it off, because I felt I wasn’t good enough to write and I gave in to this thought. Avoidance was my drug of choice, and the supply was endless. From avoidance, it turned into a distraction and eventually into dissatisfaction.
I came to the point where I drowned myself in other activities such as Facebook, YouTube, games and text messages to feel good. I could only hear the noise.
Regaining my focus was hard, but I knew it was something that must be done. I didn’t know what to do besides asking myself “Why can’t I focus? Just Why?” repeatedly. Then it finally struck me. It’s the “Why.” Somewhere I lost focus on my “Why.” I knew what I planned to do, but I didn’t remember why.
That was my turning point. I had to find once again my purpose to write content for my first start-up company, and that was to provide honest and valuable content for the readers. Finally, my sense of purpose became clear again and so was my focus.
“When the WHY is big enough, the HOW is easy.”
I knew what I planned to do. I remembered why I wanted to do this. The only thing left is to bridge the gap between my ‘why’ and ‘what’, and that is ‘how’. So, how do I stay focussed?
I tried different methods since then. As of today, these are what kept working for me and I hope to help you on your way as well.
1. Never Forget WHY You Started
The why is often lost in the daily grind of everything you do. Repeating to yourself why you started, gives you the reason to do what you do. It’s the consistent reminder that keeps you grounded, energised and focussed. It’s your cause, your purpose, your motive and your proof. The why is your core belief in what you do.
“What is your WHY?”
2. Start DOING Before Overthinking
Whenever you have an idea of doing something, do it before you overthink. This is crucial, because if you don’t, you give your mind the time to talk you out of it. This is always the case when it’s something big connected to positive changes in life. We overthink positive things until they don’t look so positive anymore.
The mind trick to stop overthinking is to stop giving your mind the time to overthink. Mel Robbins mentioned in her talk ‘The Secret to Self-Motivation’ at Impact Theory, that there is a short timeframe between having an idea and when we start overthinking. That timeframe is around five seconds. So, when you have an idea, small or big, start doing within five seconds or your mind will cut in between and talk you out of it.
“You are one decision away from a completely different life.” — Mel Robbins
The moment you have your idea, that’s when your focus is at its strongest because you don’t create the noise around it.
3. A Great WORKOUT Makes You Feel Great
Working out can really help with letting go of inner tensions and worries.
In my case, it often makes me more decisive and think clearer. I will sleep better, get more energy, feel more pleasant and improve my memory. It’s a goal I set for myself every morning to go the gym for an hour and see this as my first achievement of the day.
4. Slow Down And Be In The PRESENT
Being in the present moment means focussing on the now. Often, we let the present slip away, allowing time to past us by and wasting those precious seconds of our lives as we worry about the future or reflect on what’s past.
“If you are depressed, you live in the past. If you are anxious, you live in the future. If you are at peace, you live in the present.” — Lao Zi
What I do to get back in the present is by slowing down on whatever I’m doing and give my mind a break. Walk slower, talk slower or read slower, so I can become aware of my senses and see what’s happening all around me. I take a deep breathe and reconnect with the now.
5. Seek Like-Minded FRIENDS
Your social environment plays a big role in your focus. Not only the people close to you but also what you listen to, read and watch. These are sources that encourage you and helps you to maintain your focus by having a positive effect in your life.
Therefore, find ways to spend more of your time and attention on friends and other sources that have a positive influence on you. One friend or source can push you in the right direction when your focus gets blurry.
6. Go OFFLINE
This is my really my last resort if I want to stay focussed and productive.
Disconnect from the internet and put your phone away if you can, so there are fewer things to distract you from your work at hand. Every time you flip attention from one to another, a little bit of attention remains with the task you just left.
“Offline is the new luxury.”
Believe me, your productivity will skyrocket, and you will blast through your tasks!
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