Often in life when we’re going through a difficult time or something unideal happens we end up feeling stuck. We think it’s because our situation is just so awful and terrible. However, often we end up stuck because we aren’t putting enough of our effort and energy into the solution.
For example, lets say you got made redundant. You then spend the following days or weeks talking about how you didn’t deserve it, how X person should have been let go instead of you, that it’s not fair, you’ve been hard done by, it’s ruined your life, constantly dropping your redundancy into conversations and wallowing in self pity.
As much as it’s important to acknowledge a difficult situation, there’s little to no benefit in dwelling.
Instead, you could focus on moving forward and getting a new job. That could involve updating your CV, researching companies to apply at, filling out job applications or thinking about what you want your next career step to be.
A new job might not come come quicker but I think that being pro-active can do wonders for boosting your morale.
So often in life we feel like we’re super busy but in reality we aren’t actually getting anything done.
Perhaps you’re the sort of person who always has at least 7 things on the go. You feel like you’re busy but really you’re just overwhelmed. You’re overwhelmed because you’re not allowing your mind to focus.
Instead of finishing one task before you start the next one, you’re doing little bits of each task, flitting from one thing to the next. Then suddenly you find yourself rushing to try and complete everything. More often than not things don’t actually get finished.
Or perhaps you believe in multi-tasking. Things like baking whilst listening to a podcast or making notes at a webinar are fine. The issue arises when you’re baking and trying to make notes whilst listening to something. Or maybe you’re writing, watching a show, playing a game and checking social media.
I think we sometimes underestimate the effect that focusing on one thing at a time can have on our ability to be productive.
In our bid to be productive, feel busy and get lots done we often end up over complicating things.
We’re much better off, slowing down and focusing on one thing at a time
I think one of the most common things that holds us back and stops us achieving our goals/aspirations is not focusing on the long term.
You’re so focused on every little thing that you have to do right now that you’re missing the bigger picture.
It might seem like it takes a lot of effort to be the type of person that is committed and disciplined, the type of person that you want to be.
But you have to start small. However, that doesn’t mean you should forget the bigger picture.
It’s really just a case of doing things now that you know will benefit you later.
Instead we often end up making excuses because it turns out what we want might actually require more effort than we’re willing to give.
Sometimes the life paths we choose end up getting distorted by distractions and we end up making choices to reach goals that we don’t even really aspire to.
You might find that in order to move forwards, you actually need to go back and figure out what you really wanted in the first place.
Many times we end up sacrificing our aspirations because we’re too focused on other peoples opinions. We’re so focused on what everyone else is doing that we fall into thinking our dreams are not enough or it no longer feels possible.
But I think it’s important to remember the dream that you had. When you take the time to think about what you really want, you can start shifting your focus to what actually matters.
Life is about balance. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever be able to pay equal attention to all things constantly. Instead you give more attention to different areas of your life when necessary.
And that means that at certain points, some things will have to take a back seat. Perhaps when you’re focusing more on work, you spend less time with friends. Or when you’re focused on saving you spend less time going out for drinks/food. But when you’re focused on improving your health and fitness you spend more time working out and cooking.
Sometimes, after a period of focusing on one thing, you might find yourself feeling guilty for having put other things aside, even though it was for the best.
Something has to give because you can’t give 100% of your effort to every aspect of your life at once.
However, you can’t just totally neglect an aspect of your life, the trick is to balance your time so that you’re not so focused on one thing that everything else falls apart.
It’s probably true that in almost any situation there is something negative, difficult, disheartening or unfortunate that you could focus on.
And focusing on those things will rarely make you feel good so why not instead just focus on the good bits. Focus on the bits that bring you joy, make you happy and make you excited about life.
It’s not that you should ignore things that need sorting out or just put your head in the clouds. However, sometimes having the kind of perspective where you focus on the good bits allows you to see the not so good bits with a level of clarity, this then allows you to move forward and progress.
We might not like them but we have to have them.
We put off difficult conversations because they make us nervous.
We’re worried about how our words will come out, how our words will be perceived, how the person on the receiving end will feel, we’re scared of being vulnerable and we worry that we might regret it.
The list goes on.
Unfortunately, no matter how you might feel, the conversation still needs to be had. You can have it now or you can have it later.
As much as it is difficult it is also important. I think that’s the bit worth focusing on and is much more of an incentive to get yourself talking. Don’t focus on the nerves or hoping you can control how the other person will react. Just remind yourself that the conversation is important and worth having.
Not everything will be perfect and not everything needs to be.
Sometimes all you need to do is focus on making something that is good enough for right now.
Maybe, you can make it better later or maybe good enough is all that it needs to be.
If that’s the case, any time spent making it amazing isn’t time well spent. Instead of stressing to make it better, try focusing your efforts and energy on something that needs to be much better than just good enough.
Getting feedback can be terrifying.
Even if you have confidence in what you do the last thing you want is for someone else to come along and tell you that actually what you’re doing isn’t as good as you think it is.
I think feedback is difficult to take in because we act as if it’s personal.
And if you’ve done something creative like a poem or a painting in some ways it is personal. But it’s also subjective so if someone thinks your painting could be improved by having a richer colour palette, doesnt mean someone else won’t love it just the way it is.
But the other kind of thing we get feedback on is the stuff that’s more rigid and regulated like what you might do at work. If you’re a construction worker, there isn’t really much room for perception. The feedback you would get isn’t personal, it’s a more a case of this is is how it’s done and here’s where you need to improve in order to do it the way it needs to done.
And of course there may be things that lie somewhere in between.
But either way the main thing to remember about feedback (when it’s from the right people) is that it’ll benefit you in the long run. And if you keep that in mind instead of focusing on the fact that there are people who don’t like what you create or that you didn’t do something perfectly, receiving feedback might get a little bit easier.
There is always so much emphasis on the work, on dedicating your time, effort and energy. There are quotes like the grind don’t stop or I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
And that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with working hard, being dedicated and focusing on making money or building something (as in a non-physical thing like community).
But what about fun?
When was the last time you consciously set time aside to do something for fun, to make yourself laugh and bring a little joy into your life. The work, your work is great and it matters but it doesn’t have to be your whole life.
And the fun can be short and free, in fact it’s better that way. It could be watching Key and Peele skits on YouTube, having a solo dance party or maybe baking cupcakes.
As much as the work matters, there is also so much more to life that you might end up missing out on when you don’t make time for fun.