I recently figured out what my problem is.
Well, one of my problems.
My many problems.
Tip of the iceberg, really.
In order for things to be done right, you have to put focus, says every productivity book on the planet. Whether it’s a project, proof read, a blog post, a project but also cooking, conversing with a loved one, planning out your dream life: You have to focus. Give things your undivided attention.
Yeah, turns out? I don’t really have undivided attention.
My job consists of doing a 1001 things. I often have to do them all at once. Which is not good for my focus. Because while I’m finishing one thing, my head is already at the other thing. Working against one deadline, I see the next one rapidly approaching as I go. After coming out of one meeting about Subject A, I have to start working on Project B, and someone from Task Force C knocks on my door with an urgent issue.
To a certain extent, I’ve gotten used to that. But when I work I am (hyper)aware of my multiple tasks*, which means I’m not always really focusing fully on the task at hand.
I’m the same with life in general. While I’m watching a movie, I think about a blog post I still have to write, and that book chapter that’s waiting for me, and that guest post for one of my friends.
While I’m texting one friend, I’m also reaching out to the other one, buying a birthday gift to my friend and scheduling in a date with the next.
While I’m cleaning the kitchen, I plan out my weekend and mentally write a grocery list.
While I’m at yoga, I’m thinking of how I will handle that delicate situation, that project, that chocolate raspberry soufflé I still want to learn how to make.
Undivided attention???? WHAT EVEN IS THAT?
And. I do things fast.
Because I can, for one. My brain is wired like a Fast & Furious race car. I think fast, read fast, talk fast. I don’t need a lot of time to do something to make a decision.
But it’s not just because I can, it’s also because I feel I have to.
Last week I had so many different things to do at once, and zero time to do them in. Honestly? I gave up beforehand. I was like ‘fuck it’ and decided the only thing I could really do at this time, was to take my time and do the things I could do really well. And so I focused completely on the most important, most urgent thing at hand and worked on it…slowly.
And (I think) it worked.
I paid attention. I didn’t rush. I made time-efficient decisions but I focused and took my time to do what I had to do. I didn’t get (as) distracted. I didn’t get (as) bored. And I got way done more than I initially had expected.
It felt really nice. I like it when my head is quiet, when I’m not already planning out the 1304 things that can go wrong. And I liked working slowly, with focus. It made me feel more in control, and like I was achieving better results.
My theme for this week?
Focus and slow down.
Do what I have to do with undivided attention. Be in the room, see what is happening, concentrate on the situation. Not let stress or potential mayhem get to me, just do what I have to do.
And do things slowly, carefully, contemplating the process, the details and the consequences.
I’m tired of having to do everything fast. I want to do some ‘slow-working‘ I guess.
Are you with me? Let’s see what happens.
*AND ALL THE THINGS THAT COULD POTENTIALLY GO WRONG OH MY GOD.