“Starve Your Distractions. Feed Your Focus.”
You are what you eat.
In terms of today’s quote, I am not referring to kale, flax seeds, or salmon.
We are becoming an increasingly ADHD society, in which the “shiny object syndrome” is more prevalent than ever. Take a few moments right now for a careful look at the many things that seek your attention.
The payoff with the wide variety of distractions seems to be some form of pleasure, instant gratification, or an escape from life’s difficulties. Sometimes it’s for twenty seconds for a social media fix, or thirty minutes for a sitcom.
The cost for all of us is the lack or diminishment of our fullest potential on both the personal and professional fronts. Because everyone seems to be engaged in these activities, and we all want to fit in, we unfortunately accept this “dumbing down” of our focus as “normal.”
Consider using the More, Less, Start, Stop strategy today, to feed your focus and starve your distractions.
For those who wish to make this a habit, engage the support of others for at least the next month, so the benefits you desire will become sticky and sustainable.
“It’s hard to see a halo when you’re looking for horns.”
—Cullen Hightower, late American quip writer
Image from VG24
Are you a good person?
Most of us like to think we are – and could even prove it through the kind and generous gestures we make throughout the day.
Take a moment to look at the variety of people in your personal and professional worlds. How many have the same size halo you see above your own head? Perhaps more disturbingly, how often do you see their not-so-pleasant horns, because you are focusing on their faults and shortcomings?
Abraham Lincoln once said, “I don’t like that man. I need to get to know him better.”
How can you, too, rise above your own fault-finding perceptions and discover far more halos in those around you?
“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.”
—Sir Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Image from Unsplash by Mike Alonzo
My wife Wendy and I have been watching a National Geographic series titled, “Year Million.”
Standing in the middle of year 2017, we can take an historical perspective of man’s place on earth. The concept of “Year Million” – that very distant future – could hold either great promise or considerable trepidation in what lies ahead for the human race.
I am currently reading Thomas Friedman’s book, “Thank You for Being Late,” subtitled “An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.” The book pulls me back from Year Million to the last 10-30 years. Friedman points out that societal changes and adaptation seem to be lagging behind the wide variety of technological and environmental changes we now experience regularly.
Rather than being fearful of, or overwhelmed by our eventual future, how might you embrace Churchill’s strategy to create your own destiny one day at a time?
“If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.”
Image from dlvr.it.blog
Has anyone ever told you they get some of their best ideas while taking a shower? It turns out that a change of scenery or venue is often just the ticket to get your creative juices flowing. Even the relatively new phenomenon of using a standing desk versus sitting all day has been touted to produce significant boosts of focus and productivity.
What changes can you introduce into your day to shift your perspective and open up new levels of innovation and creativity? Consider taking a walk and letting your angels whisper a few suggestions.
“In one hand I have a dream, and in the other I have an obstacle. Tell me, which one grabs your attention?”
—Sir Henry Parkes, Member of the Australian Parliament
Image from Flickr by Mark Hunter
Today’s quote reminds me of the saying, “Where your attention goes, your energy flows.” Since energy is what moves the world, it makes sense to heed this advice.
What are the issues that grab your attention, personally and professionally? How is directing your attention there influencing and impacting your life?
How and in what ways can you stop focusing on your obstacles and put more time and attention to your most cherished goals and dreams?
“Being busy is a form of laziness—lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”
-Timothy Ferriss, Author
Timothy Ferris is an American author, entrepreneur, and public speaker, best known for his 2007 best-selling book, The 4-Hour Work Week.
Assuming the average worker puts in 40 hours each week, we would see that Ferris is suggesting we work only 10% of those hours.
To achieve such a breakthrough would clearly cause us to do far less and in many cases stop the majority of our daily tasks.
How would decreasing the time you spend in meaningless work and focusing on your most important priorities improve the quality of your personal and professional worlds?
Begin today by ruthlessly cutting out at least one hour of busywork that is adding no real value to your world.
“Focus on being productive instead of busy.”
-Tim Ferris, author & Entrepreneur
Over the past few weeks I learned about a new book by Cal Newport titled Deep Work—Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World.
In this timely book, Cal shares his formula for high productivity:
High quality work produced = (time spent X intensity of focus)
Take a moment to examine your typical work day with regard to this equation.
Where does your time go?
How much intensity do you focus on each of your important and unimportant tasks?
How and in what ways would blocking out larger chunks of quality time when you are operating at optimal intensity increase your productivity today?
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not in fighting the old, but on building the new.”
—Socrates, Classic Greek Philosopher
image from bigfishmedia.ca
When I consider the idea of fighting the old ways of doing things, I think of the phrase, whatever we resist persists. Notice how some of your own less-than-desirable habits or behaviors seem to stick around no matter how much you try to fight them off. The act of building things is much like a replacement strategy where we insert what we desire into our lives instead.
What would be the biggest difference in your personal or professional life if you stopped fighting the old and started building the new?