Thoughts

Focus

It’s a great thing to be interested in many different topics and fields. Having passion and eyes and ears open for new experiences is nothing short of awesome in my opinion.

But personally, I developed the habit of starting projects and rarely finishing it. But why?

In these last couple of days I thought about the reasons behind that, and I’m trying to change this behaviour. Focus is the one thing you need to create, to be mindful, to see beyond the daily distractions.

So let’s first dive into the core of the problem first:

  1. Being distracted
  2. Being stuck
  3. Time management

We live in an information and action driven society. Everyone looks at their smartphones, every second of our lives we gather information, we get easily distracted. We are accompanied by our smart devices, computers and rarely spend time thinking without some sort of input. We have newspaper articles, games, books, and don’t get me started on the internet! For me personally, I also tend to distract myself from problems or work hanging out with friends.

Also, when things get harder, I might be not as motivated anymore. Maybe it’s stressful because I don’t know how to continue, hitting a wall. Or the repeating the same task can feel repetitive and tedious, my brain wants some variety! The feeling of being stuck is not a pleasurable one and can lead to thinking one has not enough mental strength/discipline so that I might give up because I feel I could never finish it.

Also, with the daily grind, it’s not that easy to find the time. Between work, chores and the need for social interaction/free time, where to put all those 362 projects in my bucket list?

There are some thinking and habit adjustments that really helped me there:

  1. Rise early
  2. One step at a time
  3. Keep track
  4. Do[n’t think]!

For me as an early bird, it’s maybe easier as for others, but we all have this timeframe during the day where we feel the best, the most productive or relaxed and motivated to do something. I personally can work best on projects before going to work, when my mind isn’t as cluttered and tired from the day’s input. It’s good to listen to both body and mind, everyone is a little different. For me, getting up at 5 in the morning is a blessing. Yes, of course I’m a bit tired, but I’m also relaxed because I have to leave the house latest at 8 o’clock. This gives me enough time to study, getting ready for the day and do 1-2 things on my priority list for the day.

Often, I felt overwhelmed by all the projects that I thought I had to complete. In my mind, it’s truly an avalanche of undone stuff that hits me. I would be so stressed out that I wouldn’t pick up any project again.

So, I vouched to NOT start new stuff, but slowly and gradually work my way through the projects that I’ve accumulated so far. I don’t feel as stressed anymore. I still have not the discipline to focus on only one thing completely, but I split up bigger projects in tiny tasks that I can fulfill in the morning. Like writing this article, as an exercise in being focused on one thing, to remind how to regain this mindset in case I’m getting off track.

Writing in general, taking notes on progress is helping me immensely. To know what I achieved and where I’m headed is a great reminder of progress. If you make the time, (yes, it’s about making time and taking time for the most important stuff!) then you can elevate it further by making things pretty and easy on the eyes. Personalize! You can do that any way you like, I’m using a so called Passion-Planner.

I really like the Japanese saying: “A journey of 1000 miles starts with the first step.” Planning, scheduling etc. is great, but don’t overthink it. Just start. Do. Don’t be focused on why it’s hard, just do and see how much you can achieve. If you struggle, be mindful, think about the problem and then try a different approach. Projects are rarely coming together smoothly, the most rewarding thing is the experience you get, despite any other outcome. Learning can be a fun thing, problems can be a challenge. Never forget that you’ll able to learn!

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