The Challenge Today

While technology was meant to enable more leisure time, it in fact has increased our inability to focus and complete our daily tasks. Not wanting to miss the latest twitter post, the Facebook comment, or the latest picture on Instagram we find ourselves in a world of destruction. If someone texts, you feel the need to respond right away regardless of the urgency. Our necks are sore, our eyes are weary after a day of staring down at our phones.

We are constantly bombarded by emails reminders that your order was shipped or an add to buy some new product that you probably don’t need. All of this has led to an age of Defocus. It has become increasingly hard to pay attention to anything for more than a few moments. We read news from short posts, books by audio, important ideas are cut to 140 characters, important decisions made in between text messages and orders via the Internet.

We have busy lives, pressures to get things done and the ongoing external pressure from parents, spouses, managers, and peers to work faster and smarter.

The result of poor focus and reduced deep thinking

The ability to think deeper and to make deeper connections between one’s inside world and the outer world requires focus. Without focus new connections are quickly made and lost. Deeper learning requires deeper thinking as well which leads to enlightened awareness. This requires comparing and contrasting new learning with one’s current knowledge. This is no always easy.

Without deep focus, poor decisions are made, errors increase, productivity goes down, relationships suffer and one’s overall quality of life resembles a pinball machine.

How to improve one’s focus?

Start to do one thing at a time fighting off multiple distractions and interruptions. Have more face to face conversations. It is common knowledge that the majority of what we communicate is done non-verbally so this is lost when always communicating through technology.

The other day just before one of my college classes which I teach I approached the door of the classroom to find it locked. As I waited for the key, my students gathered. I looked around, and no one was talking to anyone. All 30 students had their heads down staring at their phones. To enable better focus, it is important to be organized and in control of one’s time.

Time is one element that is equally shared for everyone. We all have 24 hours a day, no more, no less. Start to become more aware of where you are using and wasting your time. Once your time is lost it can’t be reused.

What occurs with deep focus?

Deep focus enables a greater awareness of oneself in the world. Deep focus is important for stability, calmness, confidence, and better relationships with others. One has a better quality of life with deep focus. New ideas are processed on a deeper level, conversations have more meaning and one feels better about themselves and others. Most important that with deep focus people have greater self-insight and a better understanding of the environment. Time is used more wisely, creativity and energy soar, and joy for live increases! Additionally, relationships are no longer taken for granted.

  1. Avoid the phone and Internet for 2 hours straight per day. Use this time instead to think or walk, read a book or talk to others.
  2. Get outdoors with nature and observe.
  3. Read one book a week in your hands.
  4. Take 20 minute naps and eat healthy throughout the day.
  5. Take 30 minutes to think about a challenge you want to solve in your life and aim to solve it after walking or running for 30 minutes.
  6. Take 20 minutes a day to plan what you will do and what is most important to complete for the day.
  7. Include and show appreciation to people daily.
  8. Start to have more face to face conversations.
  9. Smile, laugh, tell jokes, amuse yourself, don’t take life so seriously.
  10. Find the ways which work best for you to slow down, de-stress, and calm down.

Final thoughts

Build a road map for your life aligning your core purpose and where you want to contribute. Match your purpose with your most important values and goals. Follow healthy behavior that supports your values and identify and avoid unhealthy behavior which doesn’t support your values. What is most important to you? Slow down, focus, pay attention more to your thoughts and to those around you. You will start to have a renewed sense of calmness and happiness about your life and what could be better than this?!

Craig Nathanson

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