3 Tips to Find Focus in the Digital Age

The Internet is like profit or like sugar; none are inherently evil or pure. The Internet just is. Profit is, too. And sugar, love it or hate it, also hangs out in that “is-ness” realm. But what we do with these things can certainly carry moral weight, and entire technological, economic, and nutritional movements have been made developed as a result. There is, quite literally, more information about the “pros” and “cons” of these things and their influence on society, than any one of us could read in a lifetime.

But let’s get practical, because I’d rather be reading something like this (than exploring a new diet craze or reaffirming how Facebook makes us lonely), anyway. When it comes to the lives of artists and writers, what we really need are practical tools to use, within the context of our lives, to help us focus in that middle ground of utility. The Internet is great, when we need it. Certainly profit and that heavenly bite of Green & Blacks Hazelnut Currant dark chocolate are, too.

When I feel concerned that I don’t have enough time to accomplish what I’d like to accomplish, and that starts to disrupt my focus, the first thing I do is this:

BODY SCAN.

Yep. I look out the window at the trees and check in with my body and try to give it what it needs. This habit has grown more and more essential for me in recent months, as I’ve explored business classes with Sister.

Second, I remind myself that “I’m the source of time.” This is straight out of Gay Hendricks’ book, The Big Leap, and it sounds wonky, but it’s actually a pretty cool concept. If you create time, then you create its scarcity, too. But if there’s always enough time, and you proceed with ease and playfulness, it is in fact possible to find yourself living the life you imagined—one where there’s always enough time, and where stress doesn’t come in waves as the second-hand makes another revolution around the clock.

Third, I prioritize what tasks I can do offline and, if at all possible, I do those first. I have a pretty healthy relationship with email, social media, and the Internet but it’s not quite “easy” for me yet. In other words—it still takes me energy to not check for new messages or tasks online. That’s because sometimes I don’t want to be both the boss and the employee, so I let my inbox be my boss. It’s cool…for like twenty minutes…and then it’s just kind of…blah.

Once I’ve done these three things, it’s pretty easy to find my flow. Case in point: Right now I’m typing offline, sitting on a bench outside my massage therapist’s office, enjoying the pale yellow light of a 27 degree afternoon. I keep extra layers in my car for exactly this kind of opportunity—fresh air, getting work done without losing focus, and enjoying this beautiful earth while I’m at it. Here’s the view of my pop-up workspace:

 

Comments
  • Suzi Banks Baum
    Reply

    Today I sat on my porch after a walk, watching the light play with the water droplets on the trees. There was one that sparkled at me, like it was Tinker Bell or something else very special like a visitation of a dearly departed teacher. I know that sounds whacky, but when I spend that extra little bit outside, instead of rushing back in to get to my desk, I receive something unexpected. I love that you set yourself up on that bench, just to sip up another bit of autonomy. Lots of love, S

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