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Focus – the base skill of all the others

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Do you want to work quickly, efficiently, precisely, without many errors? Want to avoid losing time on set, during the creative process, or on your days off?

The way to all these things is common: mastering to focus your attention.

When we talk about focus, meditation pops in automatically.
It is something I always liked, but to be honest I always dropped.

Maybe you also tried it and abandoned it.
I didn’t feel the benefits back then so it never became a routine for me.

Instead of exercising how to focus what do we do? Watch cute animals on youtube.
Life teaches in funny ways.
A video of a cute dog is exactly what helped me learn how to focus.

It was this video exactly.

 

A little dog is playing with a tennis ball. Seconds later he discovers leaves on a brunch and gets excited about them. 2 seconds later he notices the yellow ball again but then remembers the leaves. Trying to decide which to play with he falls on his back. Trying to stand up again he notices the leaves, then the ball, then the leaves. Finally, he sees the owner recording him and runs there.

After I closed the video,
I started working on something that was on my mind. Then I suddenly remembered I didn’t finish one other thing. Immediately started doing that, but then a colleague came and told me about a new task. I started doing it right away. Minutes later, I realized it is not actually urgent. So finally I started doing the task I was doing originally. Until a new email came…

That’s when it hit me. I am exactly like that little puppy.

Throughout the day I started watching my colleagues too.

Some of them more than the others, but everyone was doing this.

Some got distracted by their own new ideas and thoughts.
Some by their phones or by new tasks and by people they could chat with.
Noone was focusing on one thing for more than a couple of minutes.

I myself usually get distracted by the thoughts in my head.

A new idea that emerges, or I suddenly remember something I forgot. Even more frequently I start stressing out about how the task I am working on can go wrong.

We can not call this focused work because we know how focused work feels.

It is a whole different level of productivity and precision.
We all experience it when we submerge into something that we LOVE doing. It is called the state of flow.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to work like that all the time?

So I started to experiment and research.
Everything I looked up was pointing back towards meditation.

But it didn’t use to help me! What now?

What I learned this time is, it is much better to meditate daily than to have long sessions only a few times a week.

Before, I was aiming for 20-30 minutes of meditation. Since it felt super hard, you can guess how many times I didn’t even hit “once-a-week”.

What I ended up with is 5 minutes of meditation 2 times a day.

5 minutes is a different experience.
When the timer app signals the end of it, I still WANT to do a couple of more minutes.
I don’t feel tired, instead, I am motivated to do some more!

I ride this motivation to build the routine. When I think about doing meditation I don’t see a big, difficult task anymore. It is something fun and motivating I WANT to do.

There is still a long way to go for me on the road to focus, but finally, I feel the benefits.

Mastering to control your attention is essential if you want to become the best in your field.

On set, there are also external distractions. You will need other skills to deal with them too. Although focus is the foundation for all of these.

When everything and everyone is trying to break up your attention, the best you can do is not to do the same to yourself.

Have you ever caught yourself acting like the puppy on the video?
What are your experiences with meditation?

We would love to hear your stories in the comments below!

 

Cover Photo by Nigel Tadyanehondo on Unsplash

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