Seriously, focus – in any field at any age is magical.
Hard to achieve this most simple concept because we are so attached to our habits, our routines, our need to be on top of all things we care about and are responsible for …
I’ve had a habit most of my working life.
I think it goes back to the beginning, to childhood.
It was part of that ‘early to rise, get to work early, work hard … ethic’ I learned from my dad, from watching him head out early every morning before the neighbourhood was awake.
My challenge when I was young, was being a night-owl. While my night-time activities changed as I’ve aged and worked my way through life’s chapters, I’ve still been a night-owl. What suffers most is sleep. Not every night, but many nights, I would be short-changed on sleep. I alone was the culprit. I used to have considerable bravado – how well I could function on so little sleep. Sadly, looking back, that was a delusion. I’m recovered!
Lately, if I am up late by choice or necessity, I sleep longer. Sure, my morning routine starts an hour or two or three late. Some things get ‘shortened’ or ‘not-today-ed’, but I’m sharp. I’m awake. I’m functioning on 75-100% (according to my WHOOP app) of my sleep need. For instance, last night I ‘fell asleep watching TV … napped for 3 hours between 8PM-1AM. I know that because my device measure it. I went to bed at 1AM, got up at 7AM – two hours later than usual. Was I behind before I started my day? Of course, but the difference from ‘the old me’ was that I was fully rested, full of energy and ready to meet my day’s tasks full on. By 10:45AM I was still about two hours behind on my daily tasks, but I had no sense of misgiving about what I was doing.
I may not have a great brain, but I know I have a good one. Being well rested these past two years has taught me, so poignantly, that it is a much better brain than I used to think it was. The answer, a simple free commodity we all can have. Sleep. Sleep more. Sleep a lot. It’s the best fuel we can get – and remember your non-conscious mind is chugging along all the while. I think it chugs better with great nutrition, regular exercise and mountains of sleep.
This shift has slit my focus, but also concentrated my focus. Writing mornings, business afternoons – which, when you consider my frequent compressed mornings – one might expect my writing to be reduced. It hasn’t. On daily things I’m keeping up, on book projects I’m making better progress than I have in a long while. Sure, interruptions and ah+ha moments show up in the morning, and I deal with them promptly. My clients are probably getting better service than ever and they don’t know why. It isn’t my attitude that changed, but rather it’s a product of focus. Afternoons too …
What we focus on expands. Focus on meeting people and your world will grow. Focus on fitness and you’ll be healthier. Focus on sleep … no telling what could happen!