Re-Learning To Focus
I have a condition.
It’s a serious condition.
It’s a serious condition where I can’t seem to get anything done. I certainly can’t get stuff done on time. Some days I forget important tasks, like brushing my teeth. I have even put things where they don’t belong, like when I put my fresh hot cup of tea in the fridge. Golly!
My condition – Mommy-Brain.
I had a lot going on in my brain before babies and now my mind is full of new responsibilities, to-do lists, and worries/concerns for my babies and that’s in addition to what was already taking space in my mind.
Did you have a full plate before your kiddos? Yep. I bet it’s overflowing now. Who’s with me?
Although some people think this condition is temporary, the long term effects can cause difficulty focusing and a general lack of self-discipline. Kids do grow up and become more responsible for some things. That’s true but then I have to learn a whole new set of rules for the new season of life. Every season it’s different.
Honestly, I’ve struggled with maintaining a healthy focus for just about anything in my life since my kiddos came along. My life has revolved around my kids (which is a good thing). The problem is that I have fallen short in my personal life. I think I need a little more balance.
I know I have a condition but I’m ready to deal with it. I’m ready to have consistent Bible time, ready to stop digging out of a pile of laundry every week, and ready for some quality time for myself, my husband, and my kids.
It’s time for me to level up.
Focus is Important for Quality
Focus is devoting all attention to a given task or person for a period of time in order to produce quality results. I have learned over the past few years that focus is important for quality. Quality time, quality projects, and quality relationships are key to finding some peace and joy.
Regardless of why our focus is fainting, there is much value in reestablishing our focus. Focus tells others around us that we care about them because we actually listen. It helps us maintain a clean house because we get things done. It also helps us work deeply to accomplish great things.
I am determined to recapture my focus even though I have two busy bees. However, focus is not something that you can do by sheer force. Recapturing focus is a skill that must be relearned by our brains which means it’s hard and it requires cognitive strength. One word of caution (mainly for myself), retraining your brain is hard and may be exhausting. There must be a balance of all things. So my plan is to start slow and build from there.
Intentional Focus is a habit to learn and a habit takes time.
I’ve implemented these three tips that have helped me restore my ability to focus.
1) Social media breaks.
I have made no tech times for me. From 5:00 – 8:30pm I do not pick up my phone, get on my computer, or anything else unless someone calls. Even then, I keep my phone on vibrate so I often don’t hear it. That’s ok. That time is my family time. I will call back after the kids are in bed.
2) Incorporate do-nothing time.
My do-nothing time is when I sit with my kids and I do nothing except be with them. I have nothing planned. I don’t need to get up and do anything. Play is on their turf and on their terms. I force myself to focus on my kids. I do-nothing except the task at hand.
This was hard at first because I had become so accustomed to brain stimulation. A few minutes without a tech hit was terrible. If you’re a person who needs brain stimulation, this will not come easy at first. You’ll need to train yourself to handle boredom. I have never been able to sit still long. My mind starts wandering. So I started out with a small amount of time maybe 5 minutes then built from there. Recent studies have shown that our brains can be retrained but it’s something we must work on. I encourage you to challenge yourself to focus. Do-nothing time is now my favorite time of day and my kids like it as well.
3) Bundle your activities.
Whatever you do, make yourself do only that. If you are chopping vegetables, then chop vegetables. Don’t stop to wash a few dishes or wash a load of clothes. What happens when you stop an action to do another, you lose momentum. Losing momentum means losing time and productivity.
So if your phone buzzes right in the middle of whatever, you’ll stop every time. Your brain is wired to do that. Even if you don’t pick up your phone, the buzz throws you off. You’ll lose precious minutes by simply being interrupted. The best way to prevent this is to schedule your messages and turn off your notifications. Check email/texts a couple times a day. Maybe, first thing, after lunch and right before bed.
You can also bundle your housework too. Quick, focused burst of cleaning is much more productive than grazing through your house all day. Get it done so you can move on to other things. I have even started getting my kids to do sprint cleaning with me. We fly through the chore so we can get to something fun.
We all want more time. I’m learning that if you focus your minutes on the task at hand, you will have a few more minutes for the good stuff. Let me know in the comments how your Focus is developing.
Life is a grand total of our choices. What do you choose today?
Progress through purpose, change through choice!!
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