Focus

When I was young, my parents and teachers constantly had to remind me to focus.  I had so many interests and activities that it was difficult to concentrate on any one thing.  Today most child experts would immediately diagnose that version of me as ADD or ADHD or whatever they call it now.  They might talk about medications and behavioral therapy and other ways of curbing my natural tendency to have too many irons in the fire.

And the adult me certainly has the same challenge.

So, a few weeks ago, in anticipation of the new year, I started looking around for resources to help.  I looked at lots of web sites, watched some webinars, and walked the self-help aisles at a few book stores (both physical and virtual).  And I didn’t find much in the way of new information or thinking or motivation.  Until I stumbled across Leo Babauta’s focus manifesto.

Focus3D-Cover

Now, I’ve been a big fan of Leo’s Zen Habits site for some time.  I’ve learned a lot from reading the posts, and I’ve even put a few of the ideas into practice when they struck me as fitting into my preferred style.  So, I downloaded the free version of the manifesto with no small amount of anticipation.

And I have not been disappointed.

The subtitle of the book is “A simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction”.  That spoke to me deeply because I feel like most of my day is spent battling distractions.  Of course, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m easily distracted, and I still have lots of interests and activities that compete for my attention.  I need something to help me tackle this problem, and I believe this book is that something (or at least one something).

So, if you have the same or similar issues, I encourage you to download the free version and give it a read.  And watch for more posts on this subject as the days go by.  I’m bound and determined to get some focus in my life, if only to finally make my parents and teachers proud.

Hello, 2015!

I usually go to bed early on New Year’s Eve. I like the idea of starting the new year with plenty of rest. And every New Year’s Day rolls around with the same promise. A clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning. So, I usually wake up early, put on some comfortable clothes, and start tackling all the little projects that I’ve put off for weeks (or months) before.

This morning, I did it a bit differently. First, I slept until 9:00am which is very late for me on any day but especially on New Year’s Day. Second, I took my time getting out of bed, reading through some emails and a magazine before finally throwing back the covers to a very cold house. Third, I ate more than normal and didn’t really focus on healthy eating even though I had promised myself that I would just the night before. In other words, I broke all my standard traditions when starting a new year.

And you know what? I wish I hadn’t. I had a hard time revving up today, and I missed the normal burst of energy I usually have on the first day of the year. Now I feel sluggish, behind, and otherwise just not firing on all cylinders. It’s almost 6:00pm as I write this, and frankly I’m ready for bed.

Perhaps it’s getting older. Perhaps it’s not getting enough exercise or traveling too much in the previous months or changes to some medications I take regularly. Whatever the cause, I feel… off.

So, hello there, 2015. I wish I had greeted you with more enthusiasm and vim and vigor. I wish I had done my normal planning routine in the week before so I had a game plan for today. But I didn’t. And I can’t redo today. So, I’ll redouble my efforts tomorrow. Until then, I’m going to bed.

Energy & Movement

My house is a wreck.  There, that’s off my chest.  My wife and I have never been what you would call superb domestic engineers.  Heck, we’re lucky if the kids got out the door to school with both shoes on and at least some of their books.  Finding two matching socks was so hard that I was secretly thankful for the teenage trend of wearing mismatched socks (and flip-flops).  We had so much clutter that I expected the producers of Hoarders to call us begging for a chance to put us on the show*.

Today I woke up with some sort of energy burst and started in on the house.  My wife is out of town this week visiting friends, so this was a solo effort, prompted almost entirely by my belief that the clutter is killing my ability to create.  Yah, yah, I’ve read it on every minimalist blog that I read. And I’m reasonably educated and know that my attention is zapped by piles of “stuff” all over the house.

So, I dug in.  I moved stuff out, I threw stuff away, I made better decisions about storage, and I worked at trying for clean lines and peace in one room – what we call “the library”.  The library is really our formal dining room that we have never had a dining table in because, hey, we’re not formal people (and we don’t expect the Queen to be dropping by for tea).  I moved out some exercise equipment, some of the “stuff” that had been piling up, etc.  And I found that the more I moved around the house working, the more energy I got. (Yes, I’ve read that, too, on a bunch of different blogs.)

Why am I posting this?  Probably more as a reminder to myself that I need to get back into my old habits of organizing, paring down, sorting, etc. that I let slide during the last 18 months.  A monument, if you will, to the fact that I do indeed know better.

Maybe I’ll work up the energy to tackle the studio tomorrow.


*Okay, maybe we’re not that bad, but still…

Finding Motivation

I’m usually a very self-motivated person.  I bounce out of bed in the morning, full of ideas and plans, ready to take on the world again.  But in the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a hard time getting my engine going.

Normally I’m not one to overanalyze myself or perform any dime-store psychological self-probing.  At my core, I’m a pretty low maintenance person and just don’t see the point in spending a lot of time trying to “fix” myself if I’m not broken.

Today I ran a lot of errands, trying to plan the most effective route for all the things I needed to do while avoiding ending up with a car full of groceries only to have to stop somewhere.  And when I got back home, I found my energy level up quite a bit.

I’m coming to the conclusion that working from home once again can be strangely demotivating.  And I’m not sure why.  My work output certainly hasn’t lessened.  In fact, I probably do more work now than I ever did in cubicle land.

More on this as the days progress…

4th Quarter Comeback

I’m not much of a sports guy, but I know the term “4th quarter comeback”.  In fact, if you search Google for “4th quarter”, an overwhelming number of the results are about football and quarterbacks leading their teams to victory against impossible odds.

Today starts the 4th quarter of 2012.  In the last few weeks, I’ve left a good job and started a new company.  I’ve made some major changes in my personal health situation.  And I’m trying to regain the edge I feel like I’ve lost over the last couple of years.

I need a comeback.  I need a resurgence of energy, motivation, and focus.  I need a plan.

And I’m working on it.  Today was spent mostly preparing as will be the next few days.  I’ve discovered that I don’t do well without a plan.  I can’t tell if I’m winning without a scorecard of sorts.

I don’t really pay attention to the statistics on any of my sites.  It’s not that I don’t care about being read but more that I haven’t thought through what it might take to increase my profile.  And so even if I’m in the only one who ever reads the posts over the next three months, they will be worth it to write.

Because I’m making a comeback.