Seen on a T-shirt:
“AD/HD!! Highway to…
Oh look, there goes a butterfly!”
I’ve come across an interesting piece of research recently, in my relentless hunt for FOCUS.
This research points out that we are hard-wired to be “distractible”. Our brain responds to outside information coming in, by forcibly overriding whatever we are doing, and paying instant attention to the new information.
On a Caveman-Brain level this makes a lot of sense: There’s no point in deeply focusing on crafting a bone flute if there’s a tiger creeping up on you.
My first violin teacher, during violin lessons when I was very young, taught me that focus is if the house can burn down around you and you don’t notice because you are practising. It was an extreme image, but it did burn home the message.
So we are hard-wired to be instantly distractible. Here’s the complication. If you have 1000 things to do and think of, how do you cope?
Over the past month or two I’ve learnt new tricks. I’ll bring them here as resources – maybe they’ll prove as useful to you as they do for me:
- One of them is a little time tracking app, that I use to track down what I spend my time on. It’s an eye-opener.
- Another is of course the time-tested list. A little notepad item on my desktop, listing tasks that have to happen today, and those that should ideally also happen today but can be delayed.
- One of the best devices I use, is to spend the minimum required time on each task, and then move on. That means, quit thinking about it. This last trick is incredibly liberating. If a task takes half an hour but you stew about it for five hours, it interferes with all subsequent or concurrent tasks. So, do what is necessary (and if that includes thinking about it for half an hour before executing it, then focus on thinking about it and do nothing else while you think), and then free your mind. I’ve won back already about 60% of the “RAM” space in my brain just doing that.
- One last trick I’ve discovered: Frustration.
You wouldn’t think of frustration as a resource, would you? And yet it is. It is action energy looped in on itself, all strangled up and spinning inside you because it needs to be LET OUT! So the logical thing is to let it out! Do the actions that will bring you closer to your results, until the frustration is dissipated. Energy, according to popular physics, can never be lost, only transformed.
Peace of mind:
There’s one extra thing I do these days. I meditate. Even if it’s only for 3 minutes after waking up in the mornings; it makes a difference and sets the tone for the day.
So, hope these help! 🙂