Crafting Focus

March 01, 2019

If there was one headlining takeaway for me from my time away, it's that my focus requires just as much thought, intentionality, machinery and precision as anything else that I craft. I learned that focus isn't fleeting, it's the result of a considerable amount of preparation and care.

When I reflect on how much space I had within my days, they certainly weren't filled with empty obligations or random happenings. My three months was incredibly productive because it was so incredibly focused; even and especially the rest portion.

This alludes to my discovery of how routine brings sanity (for me). Monotony is a fear of mine but I didn't realize how much I allowed it to influence my days and decisions ... as fear never should!

What do I mean by this? I mean that my days had a set schedule and the more care I placed in structuring even my free time, the more rested AND productive I was all around. Why? Because I learned to even schedule time to be distracted (texts, emails, social media, etc). These things used to bombard my day without aim or reason and all in the name of "I don't want to miss an emergency" or simply general FOMO. Which even that thought is silly because then I end up structuring my days around the possibility of an emergency instead of scheduling my days around living and living with purpose. (I highly recommend the book Deep Work by Cal Newport, this solidified so much of what I learned)

Upon my return, I made a decision that I would take these new routines and practices and slowly and steadily implement them into my days at home. Here came the real challenge...entering a very familiar space with a whole new view and set of intentions. I emphasize decision because I have learned that just having an idea to change means nothing, I must be decided about the change. A day (many days, actually) will come when I'm not in the mood about this new change or I don't feel like doing what needs to be done, but if a decision has been made, my mood and feelings don't get to share the stage because it has already been decided.

So how does this play out, practically? My days are set as follows (for the most part;-):

-Morning routine

-Working hours time block (no texts, emails or SM)

-Lunch break (includes all the texts, emails and SM;-)

-Working hours time block (same as above)

-Evening routine 

This is the macro-outline that I have found great success in maneuvering and adjusting where needed. Each of the above blocks has their own specifics involved but I wanted to share a general overview. This setup has allowed me to maintain solid focus as it's not interjected uncontrollably with all the little extras; instead, I've combined all the littles into their own time block. Let me TESTIFY to the mental clarity this brings, if you're able to practice it!

It has taken TIME and lots of discipline to not get sucked back into the chaos of how I used to live but as a result, I have been immensely more rested and productive so the sacrifices are worth it.

Focus takes planning, ideation, saying "no", experimenting and removal of distractions; what's crafted as a result is beautiful.

How do you stay focused?

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