Find your focus and get things done. Sounds easy, right?

Sunny #focused photos

Sundays are probably the best days to reflect and tidy up. So, this Sunday I decided to back up my old iPhone photo gallery. While I was doing it, pictures were flipping in front of my screen in fast motion. An entire year flashed through my screen in a couple of seconds. I was gazing away in this divine fast-forward of my life when one particular photograph caught my attention. This especially sunny Sunday was reflected in that single photo. Suddenly I started to think about focus. Some of you that are into photography know how important focus is. It makes things clear, images sharp and smiles visible. Funny enough, this photo made me think of how I maintain focus in my life. One could think that focus in business is like described in a book like The One Thing. If you chase two rabbits, you won’t catch either one. I believe this is not the right analogy. Let’s take a look at this photo once again. You clearly see the model, then another model behind. Also, you can see the sun blazing, while in the front you see photographers taking pictures. Focus clearly means cutting to the most important scene (in this case the model and new collection).

At the same time it doesn’t mean that the blurry parts are not as important.

What are you doing at this #moment? Are you happy? Is your mind wandering?

I remember reading an article from the New York Times about a recent Harvard study on happiness. Researchers used an iPhone app to contact 2500 individuals to ask them how they were feeling and what they were doing at that exact moment. One might guess what the happiest persons were doing. Surprise came from the fact that 90 percent of ‘the happiest persons’ were ones having sex at that specific moment of being called with half of them reported that their minds were not present. They were simply not focused on the thing they were doing. This brings to the question of what we should do in order to perfect our eagle eye focus skills. We live in the red bull – Ritalin – coffee environment. There is a saying that the industrial revolution started when British bars introduced coffee instead of rum. Putting revolutions aside, I believe the answer to better thinking cannot be prescribed by your doctor or your barista, for that matter. It should be the (one) thing that makes your heart beat faster.

Low #willpower is in love with distraction

We are all struggling with multiple distractions every day. From Twitter feeds, e-mail floods, and phone calls – you name it. Using Internet makes us extremely shallow. We are rapidly losing our ability to read and think deeply.

Lately I’ve been exploring a method of solidifying my willpower by more efficient dieting complemented by more exercise. It seems like this has enormous effects on my thinking capabilities. It seems as though self-control spills from refusing cookie dough ice-cream to timely answering an email. I have found that will power is like fuel. It can run out. Thus we need to find a way to keep our levels high.

Our 140-character culture is surely not helping this constant fight. One of the things I’m struggling with is to make proper mini-vacations. A constant feeling of missing out on the action or being perceived as lazy, prevents me from going away for a longer weekend without laptops, iPads and the rest of the “working screens”. To summarize, eating, sleeping and working out should be the first steps in your focus-training mission.

*#Measure* everything. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. **

But first, let’s start with the one thing you should stop measuring: Your working hours. Putting more hours in your work does not necessarily mean you will get extra output. In my quest to become more of an ‘Übermensch’ I started with simple, small and measurable goals. The first enemy to defeat was my weight. Go down from ninety seven kilos to seventy nine, in nine months. It felt like I was reborn. This was simple to measure. And the nice thing was, what I started to notice about measuring and simple goals – was the interplay of your weight, your running miles, your words typed. One is leading to the other. This positive feedback loop makes sure you meet your goals in every field. More running meant more weight loss, that lead to even more running. Finally, it leads to better thinking, and to a healthier and happier self.

Focus and energy are always intertwined. High focus and high energy lead to purposefulness.

15 seconds of #*truth *

It took around 15 seconds for my computer to flip 1000 photos from my iPhone. These 15 seconds and one perfectly focused photo made me think about my last year. I got to realize that I’m at the beginning, eager to master new skills and continue to practice focus and maintain high energy.

It made me feel good as I understood that a whole picture needs to be shown while only important things should be sharpened. Because, sometimes you also need to see what is behind the blurry things as well. Learning to adjust our focus and switch between abstract and specific thinking is something I’m going to explore in my next posts.

*This article was written on a Sunday in a cafe bar without any Internet connection that could interfere with complete mindfulness and mental focus. It feels good. You should try it.