Personal Development

Focus, Focus, Focus

Action wrote about Feeling Success, a phenomenon in which you can actually feel yourself succeeding. I think it sounded like being in The Zone. You can’t lose because you are in a mode that is beyond your normal capabilities. It’s a good read, especially the part about cultivating this feeling.

One of the drawbacks of “feeling success”…is that you get super-focused and put a lot of things aside. When I begin to “feel” the business….I am so focused that I have to stop a lot of other activities.

Can I “feel” the business, while still living a balanced life. Maybe. But I think hyperfocus is imperative.

I think the key to maintaining a balance is to apply your ability to focus on things other than your business. Being able to maintain focus on a single task or event is key to keeping from being overwhelmed. The best part is that it works for everything, not just your business.

Are you hanging out with friends? Stop worrying about the coding issues you’re having! If you come up with an idea, by all means write it down, but stop thinking about it and focus on being with friends.

Are you eating? Focus on your food. Taste it. Chew it. Swallow it. Enjoy the experience. Then go back to the business after you’re done.

Some people make it a point to work for an hour early in the morning, every day, without fail, no matter what. People can die, disasters can happen, but they will do whatever it is they dedicated themselves to doing at that early hour. Dan Kennedy writes, for example. The ability to focus on the task at hand is important in getting things accomplished and making progress on your goals.

Amazingly, I was just thinking about this very topic today. I realized that it can be very easy for me to be distracted from a task. I was writing down the somewhat-detailed action plan for my game development work tonight. Whenever I got stuck or paused for a moment to think, I realized that I mindlessly started browsing through my Active Bookmarks. I would read someone’s blog (in fact, two blogs at the same time! Yeesh!), then stop and work on my plans. I would check email. I managed to get the plans finished probably because they were so small. I could have finished them in minutes, but instead I let distractions get in the way. A little too easily, I think.

Maintaining focus is something I will need to improve. I’m able to accomplish quite a bit as it is, but if I could really focus on my tasks, I would be unstoppable.

3 replies on “Focus, Focus, Focus”

That’s easy for you serial-wired brained people. We parallel-wired brained people hyperfocus on a subject in parallel, so reach our “attention burnout” point faster. Medical experts call it ADD, but for many at least, the root cause is exactly what you’re saying. Focus on something TOO intently, especially from multiple angles, and while you understand it faster/better than otherwise you also wear out your brain faster.

Sometimes, you need that break to let your head clear so that you can refocus afterward. Keeping that break from turning into a distraction, now that’s a fine art. 🙂

I believe taking breaks helps as well. How many times have you worked on a task late into the night, only to easily find the solution to a problem after a good sleep? So you’re right, we need to take breaks.

The “art” of avoiding distraction might just be that you consciously choose to decide when to take a break rather than allow it to happen. If you allow it to happen, your mind is working too hard by thinking about the task you SHOULD be doing while you are doing something else. If you make a decision to take a break, you give your mind a rest. Your mind knows that you are doing exactly what you should be doing, that you’ll return to the important task soon enough, and that it doesn’t need to worry about it anymore.

So rather than mindlessly check email while I’m working on my plans, I could dedicate myself to working on them for 10 or 15 minutes and reward myself with a break. Or if I am getting incredibly tired, I’ll take a nap.

I think instead of wasting time that I should be using for a task, letting circumstance and random events dictate my productivity/life, I am instead dictating the terms. I will choose when to take a break so that I can focus on that break AND on the task when I return to it.

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