There are some who might say that I have difficulty with staying…. wait, look, did you see that shiny thing?
What was I saying? Oh yes, staying focused. As I get older, it gets harder. I seem to become more and more fragmented. Dr. Daniel Amen wrote How to Make a Good Mind Great and spends a good amount of time on correcting the brain that can’t focus. The book has carefully detailed quizzes meant to help the identify the location of the reader’s brain that is rent. The book gives detailed suggestions, brain exercises and suggested supplementation. I loved it. It really helped. Meditation and mindfulness eased anxiety. Exercise fought stress. Prayer helpe with deverything. Still, I had more difficulty than I wanted. Wait, that sentence hol the answer. I discovered the reason that I become distracted is because I’m not doing what I want. When I do what I want nothing can break my focus. So that’s solution.. just do what I want.
Don’t look at me like that. It really is that simple. Its hard to believe especially as you are sitting at work putting together a report with all those numbers, due next week. Bring on the shiny object. Or, what you want to do is go swimming in the Caribbean, but you have to do laundry instead. Let me explain… and stick with me as I use a metaphor.
Mother Earth News says that during the month of October we should be putting our gardens to bed and begin to plan for next years. This year my late spring was filled with stuff that kept me from my regular vegetable garden, so I tried container gardening. This is what I expected it to look like.
Mother Earth News then suggests that as you churn the the dirt, clean the implements, and plant bulbs you take note of what worked this year and what didn’t.
This is what my container garden looked like.
The reason it looked like that is because I wasn’t honest about what I wanted. I wanted to have a garden not to tend to a garden. What I wanted was more time. I didn’t want one more thing that required more effort, I wasn’t honest with myself, so my garden was the product of lack of focus. If I had been honest, I could have purchased containers already planted, hired the kid next door to water them — wait I can’t afford pre-purchased containers and there is no kid next door…. so maybe more honesty. A single pot with some simple herbs then maybe. To develop the focus, I first ask myself what I want, then ask what I have do to make it happen. I continue to refine the process until I have a work able timeline or I realize that effort isn’t worth it.
To go back to my container garden. In order to have done it right, I need to have created a list like this-
1) I want a container garden
2) I want fresh vegetables during the summer.
3) Visualize what I want, then begin to work backwards regarding what is needed.
Lets take my failed garden… Vegetables in August
* check for blight and fungus..
* create spray with powdered milk in preparation for blight and fungus.
* buy and place fox urine around containers to protected against deer
* weed every few days.
* Prepare solutions and sprays (soapy for insects, beer traps for slugs,
cayenne pepper against rodents in preparation
* Check for evidence of bad bugs, pick aphids, use spray and traps
* Early June buy plants and plant— have fertilizer on hand for every
three week fertilization schedule.
* Decide what plants and containers are wanted make a plan.
What I did-
I liked the idea of a container garden. I bought plants on impulse and planted them. That’s it.
If I had done the work for the outline, it would have become clear I didn’t want a container garden this year, I didn’t want a garden as much as I wanted the look of the garden and I could have let go to the dream.
Lets apply this method to writing the report with all the numbers.
Problem: I don’t want to worry or every think about the report.
* Come up
*Finish the report, get it over with so I don’t have to worry about it.
* Give my self breaks during work process. Promise myself to get up walk about for five minutes out of every hour.
*Set up what I need, put something nice on my desk. to see or smell while working.
Children with severe ADHD are able to focus for extended times when they are interested in what there doing. As adults we operate from the same desires as kids, But we know that as adults, we can’t organize our lives to do only what we want… but we can organize our minds. Let’s talk about that report, you may not want to do it, but you may be able to promise yourself a reward when you’re done. Make the reward real, don’t let yourself have it unless your done and watch how focused you are. Want to go swimming in the Caribbean instead of laundry, brainstorm ways to get there, make it real for yourself. Watch how focused extra jobs, a savings plan, and dinners in become. Our wayward brain doesn’t have a skilled teacher to remind us to stay on task the way an ADD child has, but we do have ways to remind ourselves
-create a vision board
-create a PDF PowerPoint that works as a screen saver on your computer
-get newsprint, write your focus on it, and post it where you can see it.
-tack post-its everywhere
-create a file of words, or music on your mp3 player and listen whenever you can.
-ask a friend to be a cop, and remind you
Do some of these or all or all of them…just do them!
To recap- Here’s the recipe for staying focused.
1. Decide what you want.
2. Visualize what you want, plan backward from the point you receive it to the present
3.Come up with your own motivation. Sit with a friend and brainstorm some. Create a motivation so strong and bright that it outshines the shiny object.
4. Reap the rewards of your focus.
Leave a comment and let me know how you reward yourself.