Focus

I’ve touched on the importance of focus frequently. Today I just wanted to remind myself of two ways that I often lose focus.

First, shiny-distraction syndrome gives me the urge to try all the things, do all the things, build all the things, fix all the things, improve all the things… This does not end well for me. I’ve been getting much better at sitting with, (as Leo Babauta would say,) the urge to chase the shiny thing. Like a dog being trained to resist an urge; OH A SQUIRREL! …no, sit! …wait …wait (the squirrel moves out of sight) …good boy!

Unfortunately the second way I lose focus is pernicious; I’ll call it shifting-sands syndrome. This happens when I decide to take something on—maybe it’s something small, maybe it’s big, whatever, it’s something I feel moves me towards some goal. “Ok, yes, this is a good thing to work on. This is definitely not shiny-distraction syndrome. I’m in. Let’s do it.”

And then someone else moves the goal posts.

I fall for this all the time. It’s like the sunk-cost fallacy. “I was going to do 42 units of life-energy-work, what’s 2 more?” Hey Craig! I’ll tell you what 2 more is: 2 more is 44 units. Stop and think! Don’t make the decision based on, “it’s only 2 more.” Rather, I need to start over: What’s the task/thing/etc., how much work is it (now 44 units, not just 42), do I want to do it, is it worth it, and so on.

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Getting less done

I believe I’ve mentioned that my touch-stone motto for 2020 is, “Get less done.” I’ve been working on this. I’ve been setting smaller daily goals, and I’ve been keeping the “today I should…” list shorter.

Yesterday was a curveball. Didn’t feel well the night before… very little sleep, spent some time napping on the bathroom floor, etc. Nothing serious, nothing major, just… a curveball. So Saturday was a crazy-slow start. …later than normal start. …maybe I’ll just read a little before I even stretch. …maybe I’ll do my little exercise route later. …there are a couple things I need to prepare for a small car trip, but I’ll just do them quickly, rather than my usual thoroughly. …maybe I’ll skip this. …maybe I’ll do that later.

It’s not yet my usual bed time, and I’m stumble down tired. But I’ve gotten more done today than— well, it’s like one of the most productive days in ages. What’s up with that? Was it the slow-and-steady pace that led to all-day success? Was it the complete lack of any real goals for the day; and then, well I did that one thing, so I guess I can do this next thing…

“Curiouser and curiouser,” said Alice.

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