This past weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about how difficult it is to focus, no, truly focus in the modern digital age. While being well connected is a big blessing, and enables us to connect with loved ones even if we’re thousands of miles apart, it also comes with a downside, in the sense that we are constantly bombarded with information, from a host of different angles.
I’ve slowly started to realise what this has done to my ability to focus (productively focus) on my work, which is something I take a lot of pride in. I’ve been working as a marketer for over ten years, but over the last stretch I’ve mainly been consulting for companies from all over the world. Working for yourself has lots of perks, but also comes with lots of stress. Last week, I realised that I was simply taking on too many personal projects, to be able to give the business my full attention. I looked at all the personal commitments I had made, and realised that I was starting to burn the candle at both ends again. My body agreed, and put me in bed for a few days with a cold to contemplate this fully. Conclusion: It was time to simplify.
Since then, I’m back on my feet, and have initiated a process of simplification in my life, i.e, I’ve gone through all current commitments and cut the things that aren’t essential at this time, and taking away from my focus. While I would love to keep finishing Masterclasses, studying new languages and working on a novel at this stage, I have to also be realistic about my capacity to hold all these projects successfully (especially because they are all quite cognitive heavy), while also reminding myself that I’m one person, putting a lot of pressure on himself to do very many things and all at once. Nobody can live like that. Well, live a fulfilled life like that.
So I’ve decided to take a step back from bigger picture objectives, and decided that for now, my main focus would simply be on putting in the necessary time with regards to my business. I love working as a marketer, and have been blessed to work on some amazing projects over the years, but my attention has dwindled a bit in recent months, especially as I’ve been travelling, and as a result of living in a foreign country for a few months, and I’d like to take a few steps to start rectifying that.
Aside from removing some commitments temporarily, I also decided to go through all my notes, books and post-it’s from the last couple of months, cataloging some ideas and important information, and tossing the rest. It’s amazing how things can build over time, to a point where you don’t even know what you’re working with anymore. Decluttering this aspect of my life, and placing some items I have with me in storage, has truly made me feel refreshed and light going into the new week tomorrow. I underestimated what it would do to me to do something as simple as just keeping a handful pens with me at all times, rather than having a case with 50 odd pens on hand at all time. Simple is better!
I guess you get the same feeling from going through your cupboard and tossing or donating any clothes that have simply spent enough time on the hanger in the last year (another event that we should all be working into our calendars soon as well). Living light gives you the chance to simplify, live with less baggage, and ultimately, improve your long term focus. Try it with me?
– Conrad was here.