5 Personal Growth Tools and Tips I’m Using This Month to Improve my Focus
My word of July is focus.
Did you know that our attention spans are shorten than a goldfish? It’s shocking, but I believe it.
I certainly know that I’m not alone in having the habit of checking my phone every five minutes when I want an excuse to avoid my work, when I’m feeling stuck, I see a notification pop up, or simply when a page isn’t loading fast enough.
Apparently, Americans check their phones about 80 times a day. And honestly, I don’t blame us. It’s not easy to stay focused when there’s a million things in real life, and on the internet, to distract us. But regardless of the fault, it’s something to continuously work on.
So here’s how I’m tackling focus this month.
I’ve been listening to binaural beats, specifically the “Binaural Beats: Beta Brainwaves” playlist on Spotify, when I’m trying to focus on something. I put them on in my apartment the other day, while letting my lemon essential oil diffuse. I felt focused, and was able to get in the zone much quicker than usual. I’m going to try keeping this up, especially when I’m feeling particularly scattered.
Blue light blocking glasses and breaks
While I’m trying to focus harder on my work tasks at hand, I still have to be honest with the fact that being on the computer too much isn’t healthy. I need to protect my eyes with blue light blocking glasses, and take more breaks from the screen.
Aside from working, I‘ve also been reading on my iPad a lot more frequently before bed, and it feels really intense on my eyes. I received some blue light blocking glasses from Felix Gray. I have the Lovelace glasses in Serengeti. I can feel the difference when I wear them. I’m straining my eyes far less, and they are so stylish to wear.
I’m working this month to get in the habit of wearing them more often, especially when looking at the screen at night.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about thoughts (ha!)…especially thought loops and the way that it takes massive interruption to break them, or you’ll just keep going with the thought until it feels impossible to do nothing about it.
You know when you keep replaying a thought again and again, until you make a decision or drive yourself insane? Maybe you said something dumb at a party, and you keep replaying the situation over and over again. It becomes the sole subject of your conversations, both in your head and even with others.
It’s funny how we believe that there are so many problems surrounding us, but almost all of them exist within our minds. Our minds are fascinating. We get in our own way all the time, and it helps to learn about why our minds do what they do.
Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School has a podcast episode all about Thought Loops, and she brought to life the feelings I feel when I make impulsive decisions that I later regret. We feel this sense of urgency in our body, that we feel so strongly that we must do something or else we’ll die. Brooke talks about why we feel this way and the ways that you can work with that energy instead of trying to restrict it –– cleaning your house, doing something creative, going for a run.
It’s important to ask ourselves questions when we’re in an irrational thought loop, like “Is this really true, or am I in a thought loop right now?” And, “What am I trying to control right now? And why?” Break it down for yourself, so that you can acknowledge reality.
Asking yourself questions is so powerful. So this is something I’m working on this month. I can either exhaust the energy by doing something physical like going to a boxing class, or work through it by writing questions to myself to get to the root of the issue –– instead of saying something I’ll regret or making impulsive decisions that don’t serve me.
Weekly biz meetings
My coach, Tess Brigham, suggested that I start doing weekly business meetings every Sunday to help me set up Life Goals for success each week. It’s my first week of doing it, but it’s also the beginning of the month, so it felt good to structure the month and week ahead and see what I need to focus on ahead of time. I tend to overload my to-do list and then feel too overwhelmed to complete it. So I’m really working at focusing on fewer tasks at a time, and getting clear on what needs to be done.
The idea is to intentionally set aside time to my business, and assess my goals. Am I getting closer to them? Is there anything to celebrate from last week? What went well? What could be better next week?
Gratitude before diving into work
Another practice inspired by my coach was to create a ritual that puts me in a good headspace before starting work. My ideal morning routine (that sometimes happens) right now looks like going to my morning workout, drinking a smoothie while getting ready, and then heading to a coffee shop to get some Life Goals work done before heading to my office job. So, something I’m working on doing is bringing my notebook along and setting aside five minutes for some gratitude practice –– whether it’s for things that I currently have or things in the future that I’m hopeful for––before getting to my to-do list.
Do you guys like this kind of post? It reminds me a lot of when I had a personal blog, and it feels really fun for me. Is it something you’d want to see monthly with each new theme of the month I’m tackling? Let me know!