i HATE not being focused. Not being able to get what I want to get done, done, is quite possibly THE WORST. This is what it looks like: my brain is foggy, my eyes feel crusty, my thoughts are jumpy, and everything seems like it is crap.
This usually happens to me if I get a bad nights sleep and/or I give in to DESTRUCTIVE DESIRE OF COMFORT too early in my day. "I don't have anything pressing to do, so I'll just flip through instagram (or insert social media platform or news outlet or email checking)."
That is a SURE FIRE for my brain way to be a jumbled mess. I get addicted to NOT WORKING. My brain doesn't want to focus, I can't comprehend what I read, everything literally sucks. (fyi, coffee often makes these feelings worse, NOT better)
I let my day be dictated to me instead of me dictating my day. I give into the easy path, rather than doing what is needed.
There are a couple results
One: I feel shame for not being at the top of my game when I listen to fitness/business podcasts that are all about performing your best. Well, you know what? I bet you fuckers also have days where shit goes off the rails.
Two: The cycle is perpetuated -- I nap then wake feeling a little more focused and get stuff done. But then that night's sleep is affected and I don't get fully rested for my next. Then I make the excuse, well shit, I'm tired, might as well just take the easy path cuz everything is going to be difficult.
HOW DO I FIGHT THE POWER ON THIS?
Get in a Rhythm and Be Proactive and Get in a Rhythm!
GET YOUR SLEEP
Try to always get your needed amount of sleep (for me, it's 8ish, maybe more depending on training and workload). As much as it is inconvenient, set a rhythm for your sleep patterns. This doesn't mean just hop in bed at 10 and expect to wake up at 6 rested. About 45 minutes before you want to go to bed, start turning off overhead lights, put the phone away, turn off the computer/TV, think about your day and plan for the next day. The body loves rhythm and habits. The closer you can keep that rhythm, the more natural and easy it will become for you to go to bed and wake up at your desired times. BUT YA GOTTA WANT TO DO IT. If socializing is more important, then you gotta make the trade off in your sleep and productivity.
Make PLANS for the next day.
Writing out a list of possible actions is crucial for me. My sleep is better and therefore my days are more productive. HOWEVER, I very rarely get the entire list done: it's more of a spectrum of actions. I'll mark the few things I need to get done and then work on others as my energy/time allows. So, I've got PLANS not just a PLAN. If shit goes off the rails, but I'm still able to get the two or three things done I want to get done, then I can "let myself off the hook" and not kick the shit out of myself for being unproductive and know that the next day will be better. PLEASE NOTE -- my spectrum of actions also includes HOBBIES and DOWN TIME. Being 1000% focused on one aspect will make you less productive and happy; will increase stress and make you stale in relationships and conversation (ask me how I know).
DON'T LOOK AT MY PHONE FIRST THING
If I look at my phone and immediately begin checking social media, responding to text messages and group threads, or scrolling news, 9.8 times out of 10, my day will be less productive -- I'll get less work done and the work I do get done will be of less quality. My phone will also be my de facto stress avoidance. Stress in conversation (how often in a lull in convo do you check your phone for ZERO reason?); stress in work (how often do you check your phone when you hit a mental block on your work and how often has it ACTUALLY helped you?); stress in relationships (avoiding tough conversations with people by scrolling the gram or participating in pixel prognostications on social media?)
If need be, I schedule times to check my phone and check social media. My brain WANTS TO KNOW WHATS GOING ON on those platforms. If my brain knows my alarm is going off in 20 minutes or so or if I have a scheduled block of time to check social media, then it is easier to fight the urge to "just check it real quick" then 38 minutes later, I'm like well shit.
Another helpful thing for social media and phone checking is to have ACTUAL TASKS allotted for that time. For example, 3:30 to 4:00 is my social media time -- in that time I'm going to Post My Infographic, respond to my messages, and check XYZ account to interact with their latest post. When you get that done, with whatever time you have left over, you can scroll through, but you don't have to. Having finite tasks for your social media lets you be proactive with your time, focus, and energy allotments.
FOCUS FOR 15 MINUTES
Focused meditation, stepping away from technology and going for a purposeful walk, taking a short nap (set a timer for 20 minutes so you don't doze for forever), or diving into an action you have to HOLISTICALLY focus on can help RESET your brain's wiring. The brain will better able to deal with focused work, will not seek out distraction, or give in to resistance. HOWEVER, once you're reset, DON'T OPEN YOUR PHONE or anything that will let the NEGATIVE PATTERN OF COMFORT takeover again.
I hope this helps. It sure has helped me. I was a cloudy mess before this. Now I can move on with my day proud of what I've accomplished (a blog post was one of my top tasks for today) and better focused because I spent an hour of dedicated time writing this out.