The Steps I take to Refocus

We have all been in a position where we were struggling with what our lives mean to us and what we want to achieve from them. I have been in this situation for a number of years and I find myself slipping back into it regularly. While my aim is to climb out of this rut, I find it difficult to stay out of it. There are the steps I take to climb out every time.

1. Go back to my Motivations

I have written down a list of my motivations stating why I want to have an unravelled life. I try to remember to carry this list wherever I go in my bullet journal.

Whenever I find myself drifting away from the direction I want my life to be heading, I pull out my list and review all the items on the list. Often it is the action of pulling out the list that snaps me out of the funk I am drifting into.

If pulling out the list does not help, the list of items is enough to remind me what my priorities should be rather than where my head wants to take me. I will review each item on the list and assess whether it is still a motivating factor. 99% of the time it is still a motivating factor.

The 1% of the time where it is no longer a motivating factor, I will go back and review it further, or tweak it. I am yet to remove an item completely, but won’t hesitate to do so if it now a detractor.

I use my motivations list to bring my focus back onto what really matters in life rather than letting my mind control where I am going.

2. Take a Walk

Now this is abstract. Particularly when it comes to work, I take a quick five-minute walk away from my desk.

They say that exercise is helpful to focus the mind. While it isn’t known why we have a clearer mind while we go for a walk or do exercise, it seems to work, at least in my experience.

While you may not find that walking is enough, the act of exercise should have some benefit to you. My gut says that the reason the mind thinks clearer is due to the mind having a break from problem-solving the particular problem you are faced with, and thus giving it a rest. Also, you are allowing your subconscious to do the processing while you are focused on something else, namely exercise.

Using exercise to help focus the mind on what is important to you has not been proven by science, although there is anecdotal evidence that supports the idea that exercise will help focus the mind.

I take a short walk to take my mind away from what is troubling me at that moment.

3. Reducing Temptations

The reason we lose focus on what is important to us is because we have many distractions around us. By removing these temptations, we remove the things that distract us from our focus.

One of my biggest temptations, when I get into work, is to check my email. Not only is it a distraction, but I also use it to do things that aren’t important in my job. Every day I aim to do one important task before looking at my email. That way I can at least finish one task before being distracted by a temptation.

While it would be good to do away with some temptations (such as emails or mobile phones) sometimes they are a necessary evil. This is why I aim to do at least one task before being distracted by these temptations in my work life.

When it comes to home life, the phone is one of my biggest temptations, it takes me to a world away from where I am, a world that is often better than the current surroundings. I find it hard to stay away from this temptation, but it is something I am trying to work on. I have removed unnecessary apps from my phone to hold the bare essentials. One problem is that new apps can and do distract my focus.

I am considering getting a “dumb” phone as I call them, but they seem to be rarer than ever before. So I suspect I will always have a temptation with me in my phone unless I can get away without owning one.

Reducing temptations will help you focus on the meaningful and doing a task before looking at a necessary temptation will help keep the focus on what is important.

Summary

We all lose focus in our lives at one stage or another. I have three steps to combat the loss of focus I am trying to rid myself of:

  1. Looking at my motivations list
  2. Taking a brief walk
  3. Reducing temptations

I find that using these three steps in order is more often than not successful in bringing my focus back to what is meaningful.

What do you use to refocus your attention on what is important in your life?

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