In a past article, I talked about the most valuable currency we have as being time, and indeed it is. In this article, I’d like to talk about our greatest resource and how best to spend our time on it. Are you paying attention?
Every day there seem to be increasingly more distractions, more ‘things’ to fill our heads. With smartphones in every pocket, advertising around every corner and an ever-growing number of daily stresses to contend with, from commuting to rising cost-of-living to keeping up with social expectations. All these things are in a state of constant battle with each other to grab your attention. Every waking minute you are a vulnerable to distraction and honestly, rarely does it have any upside for you, only downside.
Our attention is limited. No one can have their attention on everything that is demanding it, and deal with them all effectively. It is a little like juggling. Juggling with 2 or 3 balls is relatively easy, but as you begin to throw a 4th ball into the mix, or maybe even a 5th , well – it’s bloody hard. How we allocate our attention in life is no different.
Pay attention to your attention!
So, if you are often feeling overwhelmed and struggling to focus, you would be wise to look at where your attention is. You can’t do everything all the time. If you are running a business, you cannot do everything forever – at some point you NEED to get some help. Focus on one thing at a time, is that ‘thing’ something you can delegate to another? Is it even really a ‘thing’ that needs any attention from anyone? More importantly and probably the best starting point, can you do anything about it? If no, then accept it as it is and move on.
The complexities of life are growing all the time, and so with it comes an abundance of different things all fighting for our attention. Whether that be relationship concerns, occupational concerns, financial concerns, or something else entirely. Dwelling on these concerns achieves absolutely nothing other than hindering everything else that needs to be done in your life.
Money concerns are common for many. I’ve been there myself, laying awake at night threating over how you are going to cover the bills at the end of the week, “what will I do, what will I do!?”. Well, threating in bed late at night over it certainly isn’t going to do anything to alleviate the problem.
To remove these troubles and concerns from your mind, you must tackle them head on, ideally shortly after waking.
Many people struggle to let go of things they can do nothing about, but you must. If they are concerns about things, you have absolutely no control over, then your concern will change nothing, meanwhile things you do have control over lose your attention. So, accept it for what it is and move on.
In reality, very few concerns we have cannot be resolved. Sometimes the attention draining, often irrational thoughts that dwell in our minds late at night fall away as you begin to tackle the other issues on your mind. Sometimes these irrational, seemingly immutable concerns are not concerns at all, but rather, distractions your mind has created to avoid having to tackle the problems you can actually resolve.
Repeat the process until everything has been tackled that can be tackled. Ring the bank, end your volatile and destructive relationship, find a cheaper apartment, speak to a doctor about that pain you get when you breathe. Sort them all out, one by one.
Once this process has been followed through and all these little and big things have been given your dedicated attention and fixed. Then, you can sit back and take a long-deep breath. In fact, treat yourself, take the rest of the day off!
Your head is now clear, now you can truly focus on your day-to-day tasks.
It’s obvious and we all know this already, but I’m reminding you, because if you are anything like me, you know deep down what the best way to do something is; you know exactly what is required to lead your life in the very best possible way you can, as if in tribute to your very existence, you know all of this, and yet…. just like I too can be still be guily of, we fail to navigate our lives in the direction required.
We need reminding, a little nudge from time to time. It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking, that because you can’t quite do the things that need to be done now, you never will. Why bother, right?
We ‘bother’ because we are humans. And, humans being the clever little things that they are, bother. They bother a lot actually. Constantly reflecting on their lives, judging each action they’ve made by assesssing the outcome, ‘That could have gone better…’
We reflect and adjust, and the more we are reminded of the better ways in which we can lead our lives, the more accurate our adjustments become. Perfection has no final destination, it isn’t something that can measured or confined. Perfect is an ideal, its meaning different for every man and women, and forever evolving. Our road to perfection has no end, we can drive faster and take some crafty short-cuts from time to time, but in the end the fuel runs dry and your unique version of what perfection means, is lost forever.
So, look out for the shortcuts and drive a little faster (not too fast mind, the faster you go, the harder your crash!).