Putting The New Year in Focus & Working Smarter
Feeling overwhelmed? Stressed? Not really sure where to start or can’t seem to complete anything? I was there as well, especially after last year, feeling like tasks and projects were daunting to the point I’d never even start. That’s why I wanted to use our inaugural blog post to write about “Focus”. It's an important concept that I think a lot of us take for granted and don’t train enough in our day to day. I wanted to start by looking at what focus is and then we’ll get into some techniques and practices that might help you regain that sharpness you’ve been looking for.
As defined by Oxford’s Dictionary, focus is…
Two Sides of The Same Coin
So, I see two sides of the same coin from both of these definitions. Focus as a center of interest or activity - is the “what” of the thing you’re doing. Focus as a “state or quality” is the how. A lot of times, we as creatives or entrepreneurs try to juggle a ton of aspects of our projects or companies at once. Never really sitting down to hone in on singular pieces, to the overall detriment of the work at hand. To be effective, you have to be able to singularly focus on one thing at a time and point that energy towards a desired result. Hence, being sharp, it's a pointed and calculated effort. In many ways, to me, that is the essence of “working smart”.
Next time you don’t know where to start on your long list of to-do’s - stop worrying so much and just start somewhere. Though once you’ve begun that task, finish it all the way through. If you’re intending on aiming for perfection every time - you’ll never hit it and I promise it’ll be much harder to build momentum. Just get things done. Make work happen. Produce, don’t think about producing. Easier said than done, I know. Now let's get into a few ways we can cultivate that precious focus
Practical Practices for a More Focused Life
Ok, I know what you’re thinking “ummm, aren’t I already breathing?” Well yes, but not in the way that allows you to slow down and deepen the connection with yourself and the world around you. You may have heard of the Wim Hof Method or similar breathing techniques that help you harness our breath. In my opinion though, you don’t need to start any sort of rigorous training. Just observe your breath, deepen the inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth with real, and precise intention. A simple, and super easy framework I was taught recently is the 4-7-8 method. Inhale for 4 seconds (slowly), hold for 7 seconds and then slowly exhale for 8 seconds. Try that a few times, in a controlled and composed manner (and remember, with intention) and tell me you don’t feel noticeably more relaxed and centered. This mindfulness practice leads me to the next technique
You’ve probably heard about mediation from somewhere at this point. The word seems to be sweeping across the planet, I even saw a whole Netflix Original Documentary released recently solely teaching and advocating for mediation. I think to a lot of people, mediation is misunderstood. They see it only for Buddhist monks in monasteries, or as a new wave LA woo woo fad that they just can’t get behind.
The most common objection to meditation I hear is, “I just can’t sit still” - to which my reply is always: that’s why you need meditation, dummy! Meditation is for everyone, it's free, it's uncomplicated - and dammit, is it human. Tapping potentially the most human element in all of us, consciousness. Most keep a pretty messy and complex headspace up there, mediation helps you clean that out so you can get back to focusing on all the things that truly matter in your life.
Start writing everything down. I mean it. Your ideas, your preferences, your bad days and the best days. Journaling and task keeping is super important not only because it holds you accountable to what you need to get done, but it also allows you to see how your growth has compounded over time. Sometimes, life feels like it requires an exam on every “level up”. At least personally, a big motif in my journey of growth is, I get comfy in one spot and start yearning for expansion. I then have to learn a lot of new stuff to expand and eventually will be tested to get comfy again in my big new shiny “comfort zone”. It would help a lot if we could study for those tests life seems to throw at us, huh? That’s why I write EVERYTHING down, I want to be able to contextualize and see the growth. It helps me get better, faster, more useful results for the next level up.
What are some ways you’re cultivating focus in 2021? We’d love to hear from you either on our socials or in our Discord! We’re looking forward to connecting with the culture on so many more fronts this year. We’ve got a ton of exciting projects in the pipeline already and we can’t wait to share. Seeing that this is our first official blog post and newsletter we’d love your feedback and suggestions for future entries. Appreciate you all! Have a wonderful weekend.
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