One of my biggest personal issues is keeping my attention focused on a long-term project or goal. I can be distracted by anything new, or shiny, or interesting, and I find the strangest things interesting.
Your energy will follow your attention.
It is all well and good to set goals and make lists, but if you can’t keep your eye on the finish line, you’ll only ever cross it accidentally.
I’d like to tell you two completely true stories that will, I think, appropriately highlight my inability to remain on task.
In the first, I was driving down a fairly desolate highway while on my way to work. There had been heavy floods around that time, and the more or less perfectly flat sod farms on either side of the highway generally offered nothing of interest. not so on that day. Because I am chronically incapable of keeping my mind on a single task, I was distracted by my very first sight of a pelican cheerfully fishing in the shallow floodwaters. While going 55 mph down a two-lane highway.
In the second, I fell off a porch set four feet above the ground because I was watching a duck waddle along the bank of a pond.
Yes. I am also surprised that I can manage to function as a human.
Since I have such an incredibly short attention span, I have had to train my mind to remain on track. All my lists were lovely but useless, because I couldn’t even keep track of them long enough to attempt to stick to them. I never finished anything. Knowing that I had goals that I genuinely desired to achieve, I began to look for ways that I could train my mind to actually finish what I had started.
First, I had to definitively decide which things I needed to accomplish on a daily basis. I broke my chores up into manageable chunks and spread them throughout the week. I also took note of the different things that I needed to do for work each week and broke those things into an average daily accomplishment goals, and I didn’t forget to plan for rewards for myself at the end of the week so that I would have a sense of accomplishment when I finished them. A little extra motivation never hurt anyone.
Second, I invested in an excellent planner binder. I knew that I would not be able to put in the time required to completely set up a bullet journal so I looked until I found one that was flexible but that would also be attractive as well as useful. Having something that I enjoyed looking at inspired me to continue to use it, and it was set up in a way that I would not have to spend too much time filling it out.
Thirdly, once I found a way that worked for me, I adamantly refused to break from my schedule. I have been told that a good schedule allows for fluctuation, and that may be true. However, I have had such a problem with procrastination in the past that, especially in the beginning, putting things off to another day virtually ensured that I would absolutely not do the things that I genuinely needed to finish.
When you begin to change your habits, you must train your mind. The key to this is repetition and consistency. It works. Doing the same thing over and over and over ad nauseam can seem boring (because it is), but there are tedious things that must happen so that you can do the fun things guilt free. Having a focussed mind will also help you to be more quickly and accurately productive in your work.
It’s all win and no lose.
Train your body; train your mind. You are awesome. You can do this!