How long are you able to maintain attention on a given task for?
Our brains are designed to highlight new elements that enter our world. It helps us survive. It could be seeing a bus coming or noticing your girlfriend’s new haircut. Other than these life saving functions, new ‘noise’ can be detrimental in your chase for greatness.
We now can be reached and distracted at any minute of any day. Messages, notifications and multiple forms of social media will all reduce your ability to maintain focus. This alarming reality would seem easy enough to avoid but unfortunately these distractions have an underlying addictive nature and replace proactive activities. If you have notifications turned ‘on’ in your apps or you have checked Instagram more than once in the last few hours, you’re addicted.
Here are a few of my tips on maintaining attention.
Ask yourself these questions when you’re about to check social media.
- Why am I doing this right now?
- What purpose does it serve?
- Turn the push notifications on your apps to ‘off’
- Create a timeout environment away from distractions. Focus on working only on 1 important task within a 40-minute period.
Another big factor to this ‘spinning your wheels’ mentally is the perception of other people lives. Through social media we’re constantly seeing what other people want to show us.
“The highlight reel”
We automatically perceive happiness and can envision us doing something similar, trying to obtain that feeling. Don’t get me wrong, I see this as a positive not a negative. I’d much prefer people to be spreading a happy vibe into the world.
Things to consider when engaged with these feelings. Majority of the people we see online are on their own journey just as you are, that journey encompassed with their own trial and tribulations.
There is a minority group within the highlight reel that actually lives the life that they portray and I have no doubt that they have worked ridiculously hard for it. They have been battling it out on a daily basis and are now reaping the fruits from their labour. It just so happens that for the last 10–20yrs of their hard work wasn’t spread virally across the Internet.
So what can we learn from this?
That our brains are solution oriented and are prone to take you on the easiest path of least resistance. A way to get you committed to the longer, harder not so fun journey. (But far more rewarding) is this thought. “
“Focusing on only one thing until finished is going to be the quickest and easiest path to your own personal fruits and fulfilment”.
You may be thinking, but what if something else quicker comes along?
If you allow something new to come in and steal your attention then you always will, this will be become a habit. Flash forward 10 years; you have tried a dozen plus plans that have all overlapped with no substantial gain.
How would you feel then? Wouldn’t this collection of perceived easy options in reality be the hardest path to your ideal outcome?
There isn’t any way around hard work and you won’t enjoy the fruits that you see others enjoy if you keep chasing juicy red apples. If you did find a quick solution, it will likely be short lived because haven’t earned the character required to maintain and grow it. Developing yourself personally and professionally in the process is crucial for continued success. This is why people that win the lotto or find fame quickly, end up broke within several years.
Maintain attention of your path and your world.
Don’t let others live in your brain rent-free. Regardless of being positive or negative, spending too much time thinking about what others are doing will get you nowhere.
Being cynical towards people that are showing their highlight reel even if you perceive it as fake or their action doesn’t resonate with your values is time wasted. They are trying their best and at least there aren’t spreading negative energy. If you’re stewing on thoughts about what others are doing then you haven’t any space for your own creatively and chasing your dreams.
So what’s your game plan? Creating a plan of action is going to be key to success. Do this whilst in a calm, enjoyable state and environment. Be connected with the feeling of love and helping others, even if parts of your plan are for personal gratification. With the outline prepared in this state, you will be drawn into work that you will love, not trying to avoid pain. Start with a few small actions to move you forward, this way you build momentum and feel a sense of purpose.
Are you an optimist or a strategist?
At some stage all of us have wanted something more from one area of life. Some of us may have us would have even created a mini plan of action to achieve this. This is the testing moment, the difference between getting what you want or staying the same. As I mentioned before our brains are always looking for that red apple. Filtering our worlds based on things we need. If we bring happiness, love and financial freedom into our attention, our brain will constantly say.
What about this?
What about this?
What about this?
Unfortunately, we see it as.
So what do you do with this big opportunity? You park it! Have a folder, book or online doc.
I personally use Google Drive. This way I can add it all to a doc from my phone and not have to redo it later. My brain tends to say ‘what about this?’ when I’m out and about.
So it doesn’t fit it with this mini current plan, then it not for you. Not forever, just not for now.
Go big then go small.
Connecting with the perceived feelings associated with the main outcome will get your energy and drive jacked up. After you’re ready to rock, come back to the process on a smaller level. Continuing to build the outcome will stop you from taking action. If will becomes too big and too far away from your present moment your brain will be on the hunt for easier solutions.
If growth and progression is a priority to you, see if you can apply any of these principles into your life. After all, if we don’t actually want a different outcome why would we bother continue to push ourselves into pain and frustration. It would be easier to just watch TV.