Your attention itself is essentially your greatest resource. As I see it, managing your attention well is a key to fulfillment and to developing the resilience we all need in these times. Lyedie
It is mid-January. The frenzy of resolution-making is settling down, and I find this to be a good time to hunker down into the basics so as to set a solid trajectory for the year. So please bear with me, and consider your attention itself as a resource — I'm defining attention here as being the flow of the most essential energy particles that you direct (consciously and/or unconsciously) as you move through life. Within this definition, thoughts and feelings are forms of attention.
Here are a few questions to help you explore and assess how resourcefully you are working with the essential currency of your own attention.
1. Locating your attention: Where has your attention been in the last hour? Has it been out the window, on your best friend in high school or, deep in the project you've been working on? Has it been in the past (remembering), the present (now), or in the future (planning)? Have you been directing it, or has it been commandeered somehow?
Here is a surprisingly beneficial little practice: Stop yourself a few times a day and just notice where your attention is located. Setting a timer on your smartphone to prompt yourself to take note of this will gently help you awaken to your attention. After all, where your attention is is where you are. Choosing to notice, in and of itself, is an act of taking control and directing your attention.
2. Then there is the quality of your attention: What is the quality of attention you are giving to this moment? Is it focused and penetrating, or is it diffuse and receptive? As you consider these words is your brow slightly furrowed as you engage your focused attention in an effort to understand, or is your brow soft indicating that your quality of attention may be more receptive? What kind of attention you give to what, and when, can make a big difference in the quality of your experience and the quality of what you produce.
3. And how do you decide? How aware are you of your default priorities? Do you tend to put attention on making progress or tending to things? Do you approach challenges by springing in to action, seeking perspective, fostering others, or nourishing yourself? Which of these areas do you privilege in your approach to life?
Getting back to the basics of working with our attention and energy provides foundational support to working effectively with the balance of work - rest - play - collapse that is critical to developing resilience. This can allow for making good contact with the ache of our longings, and then to getting around to fulfilling them. As the prima ballerina, Maria Tallchief, so aptly revealed to to me many years ago, “My favorite class is still Ballet I.”
I hope you have found this helpful in some way. If you are looking to make a shift in your approach to life — to developing your resilience and to getting on to fulfilling those longings, click here to learn more about working with me. Or go ahead and just schedule a discovery session with me.
Do you find yourself longing to be more productive?
Well, you are not alone. This longing is shared by many of us as we navigate the complexity of modern life. There is no one secret to becoming more productive -- I have no formula for success to offer. What I've found is that for each of us the path to being truly productive is an evolving set of practices, an ongoing personal adventure. Alongside developing clarity on the big picture, I help people put their shoulders to the wheel and develop truly productive life habits and structures. Today I'm offering you a high leverage tip that magnetizes productivity, and reminding you of a few habits that you already know are the very foundation of a highly productive life.
The Four Simple Truths: (The ones that you already know)
- Get enough sleep
- Eat well
- Exercise often
- Contemplate daily
Tip #1 –Determine One Thing That Will Make a Difference
Take a look at your long list of to-dos and ask yourself:
What is the one thing that will make the difference if I get it done today?
Choose one thing that will have an impact, that is feasible to accomplish today.Write that down in bold letters across the top of your list, then orchestrate your day to accomplish that one task and let the rest of your to-dos follow suit -- believe me they will! Drive your day with the one thing that will make a difference, keep putting your time, attention and energy on it. When you get it done shout out, “Yes!”
Check in with your list at the end of the day and take note of all your accomplishments. Celebrate your wins and let them give you energy. Then determine what the "one thing" is for tomorrow and put that at the top of the list, big and bold, before you close up the day. Set it up so the “one thing” greets you in the morning when you start your day.Do the "one thing" on a daily basis and keep repeating.The "one thing" will serve as a magnet, attracting your accomplishments with each daily, “Yes!” that you shout out. You will be amazed at the momentum that putting this simple tip into practice will produce.
This simple tip addresses focusing your attention in the midst of distraction and complexity. Your own productivity challenge may call for a different approach. Contact me for a free initial coaching consultation.To learn more about productivity read on.
So, what do I mean when I use the term productivity? Well, I don’t mean just getting things done. Productivity is the result of using your time, energy and attention in concert such that you are sustainably making progress on the things that support your well-being and bring meaning to your life. Productivity is the driver of fulfilling our promise. Being truly productive creates momentum. It gives us juice!
In the weeks to come I’ll offer more tips on working with time, energy and attention more effectively. But now I want to explore the four simple truths.They are the foundation of a sustainably productive life. They are “no brainers” but many of us have trouble maintaining at least one of them and when we get stressed they tend to fall away leaving us depleted, unfocused and moody. A productive life is built on a solid albeit simple foundation. Nothing will get you more productive than getting these four in place. Nothing will challenge their dynamic equilibrium more than success. So, let go of doing it perfectly, be kind to yourself, and enjoy the ride!
Invite yourself to continually work the four simple truths into your life habits:
Get Enough Sleep – Work with your bio-rhythms and make it a priority
- Refrain from caffeine in the second half of your day
- Sleep clean -- in a room free of the distractions of TV, tablet, and phone
- Invest in an old-fashioned alarm clock and charge your phone in another room
- Take naps if at all possible (10-30 minutes is optimal. Too long and you will wake up groggy)
Eat well – Keep it simple and delicious
- Eat early and well over the course of the day
- Include lots of leafy green vegetables in your diet
- Get enough protein
- Limit your sugar intake
- Drink plenty of water
Exercise Regularly- Moderation is key to keeping it daily
- Greet the day with a quick walk or run (10- 20 minutes)
- Take a short walk during your lunch break
- Ride your bike or walk, if possible
- Build upper body strength somehow – lift weights, stack wood, carry children
- Take an exercise class or go to the gym regularly
Develop a Contemplative Practice – Build your Jedi brain capacity and reduce the allostatic load of modern life
- If you already have one: Commit to it and deepen it.
- If you haven’t established one yet: Investigate a way to “meditate” that is right for you.There are many methods available for busy people with busy minds from many traditions.
My next posts will introduce the productivity triad of Time, Energy, and Attention. I’ll be offering you ways to boost and harmonize these three critical elements to achieve true productivity.In the meantime, try focusing your attention by using Tip #1 to hone in on the one thing that will make the difference, and shore up the very foundation of your productivity by inviting yourself to implement the four simple truths.
If you feel called to action and you want to work closely with me in a program that I design just for you, click here to schedule a free initial consultation.
I hope that you are enjoying these glorious summer days as much as I am!
Warmly, Lyedie Geer