More focus

What are the strategies that bring more focus?

  • Practice it it’s a muscle and can be exercised 

  • Clear your head. Regularly clear head from ideas. Write them down, outline how to take them forward. Practice GTD or similar method.

  • Find locations with little or no interruptions. Banish notifications 

  • Stop being reactive. Take control over when you check messages, when you look at updates or respond to people.

  • Get proper sleep 7-8 hours. It has bigger impact than any amount of work or effort you could put in.

Read more over How to focus

Judgement vs Stamina

Last night I got to watch Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Arianna Huffington. One of the topics touched on the amount of time spend working.

One particular sentence by Arianna Huffington that stood out for me was:

people are paid for their judgement not for their stamina

This is quite profound especially if you think how much infromation is produced every minute, how many workplaces are lost due to automation. This process isn’t slowing down, quite the opposite. One can’t keep up with a machine that can perform the same set of tasks over and over again without any need for break, sleep or else.

It’s clear we can’t produce more purely by spending more hours working. In fact it’s the reverse the more you work the lower your output. There are countless examples of that.

This brings us to judgement this is how one provides value to company. By taking time to think, work on insights, use creativity to suggest new solutions or improvements.

See full episode for some more insights Oprah & Arianna Huffington on Her Big Wake-Up Call.

Kindle centered reading and learning workflow

An excellent reading and learning centered arond Kindle

  1. read a book
  2. highlight sections, sentences as you go
  3. extract highlights to your notetaking app of choice
  4. review highlights, add any additional thoughts and comments
  5. use those in your writing and learning

I picked it up from The Knowledge Project podcast- Shane Parish – Interview with Sanjay Bakshi

Commonplace notebook

The idea of commonplace notebook, a place where you record important quotes, ideas, books read, plans etc. has caught my attention. This notebook isn’t a journal or a log it’s more of a reference place where you can check things, find inspiration, ponder about life’s purpose and so on. 

A good starting point and introduction to commonplace notebook ideas is blow linked blog post:

The Glass Box And The Commonplace Book

For the moment I haven’t really settled on a specific workflow to capture things into my commonplace notebook. I’m using plain text files to store them at this moment but I’ve read a lot of compelling arguments in favour of paper for this purpose. It definitely looks more appealing.


Narrowing focus

Welcoming first a child into a family is really a special event, one that is surrounded with lots of worry, some fear, excitement and overpowering joy.

At the same time there are the practicalities of looking after your wife, newborn, pets and the household in general . All require care, attention and time. Nappies need to changed, hugs and support given, plants watered, dishes cleaned, pets fed etc. It’s a big stress, with lots of balls to be juggled. 

Despite being short on sleep, I like this type of busyness, you’re focused on providing tangible service (comfort) to people you most care about and get almost instant feedback whether you’re doing it good.

Speaking of focus, it narrows to almost unbelievable level. All I’m focused on is the baby and the needs of my family. It’s a bit strange to do just that one thing (with hundreds of moving parts) and be constantly occupied by it.
From time to time I get the flashbacks of what it was before, what I was able to do, see, spend time on. To be honest it can be a bit frustrating but it goes away quite quickly as it makes me realise how scattered my focus was before. 

All in all, I think that’s good, the arrival of my first baby will result in some very significant changes and they will be for the better. The required attention and effort that needs to be provided leaves me with very little free time which in turn forces me to think what is important in the given moment. Is it running, writing for this site, reading blogs etc? Frankly all that was set a side.

Deep down I know I can do all of that, although I have to accept I can only do one thing at a time (maybe be two if I’m lucky and stick with GTD). 

To finish this post I would like to point you to very good episode of Weekly Briefly Podcast -Platform Juxtaposition, where Shawn Blanc talks about focus, platforms, creativity and inspiration. It was a great companion to a number of chores that I did this morning.