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Finding focus

7 September 2020

One of the things that I struggle a lot with these days is having focus. Despite my several attempts to mitigate distractions, they always find their way to make it into my attention span. The result of that is that I feel stressed, and when I'm stressed I can't think clearly. I feel like I'm jumping from one thing to the other without being able to do deep work in any of them.

One side of me thinks that the solution to this is removing those distractions. For example, applying some ideas from the minimalism movement: be only in the strictly necessary Slack channels, don't spend so much time in social networks, tidy up the desktop and phone setup and remove any apps clutter. That has helped, but it's not enough, I still feel distracted and often stressed.

What else can I do? I think I have to learn to accept that distractions will always be there and that I have to become better at saying yes and no to things. I struggle with saying yes, this is important and therefore requires my attention, and no this is not relevant right now and therefore I should let it go.

I'm also trying to get comfortable with not reading Twitter often. I got used to being a passive consumer of everything that it's going on in the world, and that's not sustainable. My brain is exhausted with keeping up with everything that is happening. Instead, I'm teaching myself to be more offline than online, and more active than passive. For example, I'm trying to read more paper books and newspapers, or write more often in my blog or in random pieces of paper. It's very tough because my brain somehow got used to being distracted all the time, but when I get it into the mood of being offline I quite like it.

It'll be a long and tough re-education process but this is what I'm up to these days: trying to be less stressed to have more focus and be able to do deep work again.

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