(And what did you think?).
Yes, Focus. Not FOMO.
So hard to do and so necessary for getting things done. The ability to focus varies from individual to individual – some of us are amazing, some of us not so much. We’ll all agree, however, that this is a skill that comes with practice.
With all the distractions I live with, I’ve found that being focused needs a lot of effort. It takes patience and most of all, it needs intention.
When the mind wanders, it is not always easy to bring it back to the present moment. Even when we succeed in harnessing it, it can quite happily return to those daydreams. It takes tremendous patience to consistently practice staying in the moment. Also, we have to allow ourselves to focus.
When we do that, we create a space where we can concentrate on an experience and enjoy it thoroughly, completely. When we don’t focus, we don’t really appreciate life fully. When we spread our attention too thin, we’re only aware of things up to a point, preventing us from knowing ourselves fully.
The funny thing is, when we do decide to focus, we become restless quite soon, seguing into impatience and then, boredom. We find it tough to sit still for extended periods as our mind refuses to be still and is always looking for a distraction.
In fact, it is this restlessness, impatience and tendency to feel bored quickly that come in the way of us focusing successfully. Being mindful can help us overcome these.
Just try the following exercise in a situation where you tend to find it tough to focus:
- For five minutes, focus on your breath as you breathe as usual
- Tell yourself that you can now focus on a single task for 10 minutes
- Switch off your chats, sign out of your email and switch off your phone for these 10 minutes
- Focus completely on what you decided to do.
- If you see your mind getting restless and wanting to wander, gently bring it back to the task on hand.
- Keep doing this until you finish the task.
- If you find yourself becoming restless or bored, just focus on the task
- Once this is done, move on to the next one.
Try this with everything you do throughout the day – reading, writing, driving, conversing with others, showering, listening to music, eating – just about everything you do.
How does it feel to channel your complete attention to what you are doing?
Were you more productive? Did you save time?
Did you feel a sense of accomplishment?
What you did was simple “mindful focus”
As you cultivate this habit, you will find it easier to focus.
You don’t have to be perfect.
All you need to do is embrace the moment because each moment is perfect in itself.
Let’s try another one!
You’re probably aware that the ideal time of day to practice mindfulness is when you eat! I am guilty of sometimes trying to finish a meal and reading at the same time. I’ll keep my email open and try to quickly catch up. Or at the very least, read a book.
But I don’t do that anymore. When it is mealtime – lunch, dinner – I go sit at the table, and no I don’t take my phone with me.
I focus on the food I eat – I admire the colors, I enjoy the flavors. I feel grateful with each bite. I savor the moments.
Being mindful trains our brain to focus because each time our mind wanders off, we consciously bring it back.
So make the F word your mantra.
Here’s a task for you!