A few weeks ago, I saw a TED talk, called "The habits of highly boring people", given by Chris Sauve. Among other advice Sauve explained, how you brain focus works. As a matter of fact, our brain is only capable to handle about 7 things at the same time. This "things" can be anything; tasks to complete, issues to worry about, interesting ideas, new habits to adopt,.. If we look at ourselves, however, we will find that we try to handle a lot more things at a time and are therefore not very productive at this. The key is to focus on the most important 7 things, Sauve says.
Watching this video, I got curious. How many things may it be, I wondered, I am trying to handle at the time. So, I got a sheet of paper and made a list, that I called "Projects occupying my head" of anything, that I try to handle with at the time. This were habits I wanted to adopt, interesting projects I wanted to start or to finish, abilities I wanted to keep improving, things, I used energy to think or worry about. Writing this list, it helped me to go through my room and my stuff(what is a lot less since my tidying marathon) and think of every item and whether it symbolizes something, I think about a lot. I also got through my smartphone apps and computer bookmarks. Finally, I thought about a day from the start to the end and what I handle with inbetween.
When I was done, my list contained 72 items. Was I surprised? Not really, to be honest. I kind of knew that I was overstraining my brain trying to do everything at once but I somehow thought, I could handle it.
Then, I took a highlighter and underlined 7 items of the list, including long- term projects like school and blogging, smaller to- dos like finishing my standing desk and habits, I want to adapt like going to bed on time. These are my most important projects at the time. This is, what I will focus on.
"This is all very well", you will say, "but I need to also focus on some things not on my focus- list". so do I. My focus list, for example, does not include eating (healthy)what is, however, still something, I need to pay attention to. So, I took a highlighter of another color and marked all those things, that I do not want to focus on, but still need to do. This is, what needs to be automated.
What does that mean? A great example is successful people wearing the same clothes all the time. Clothing is something, they need to do, but since hey do not want to focus on it, they automated it by chosing a minimal amount of basic clothes to wear always. Another example would be eating the same kind of dinner every day, having a routine of cleaning your room, automating the activity of preparing your bag.
After having marked this things, there were still some items left on my list. It were either projects, to- dos or habits, I want to focus on later, or things, I need to get rid of, most likely worries to have. The difficult thing now is to cut this activities, after having crosse them out in my list, really out of my life. To not overstrain my brain, this is a focus itself.
I am still adopting this list and working with my focus list and still, of course, I sometimes do things, I do not intend to focus on. So far, however, I can already feel eased not having this burden of things to deal with all the time, but having a small number of items (it does not have to be exactly 7) to focus on.
I hope, you found this article helpful and inspiring and I will see you soon,