It’s 11:22am and I’ve just spent the last hour on a loop, switching between tabs that included Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, my 3 email accounts and my favourite local fashion retailer. I also tried starting the newest module in Digital Course Academy (the Amy Porterfield course I’m doing to build GAMEFACE) and during the 2.5 minute intro video, continued jumping between tabs just in case something new had popped up in the 30 seconds following my last check.
This is my life.
A browser AND a brain with too many tabs open and no ability to stay focused on one until a deadline is looming dangerously. Then again, even with deadlines I’ll continue jumping between tabs even as that sick, anxious feeling starts to build up in my stomach then creep through my veins.
I’m not proud of this behaviour. In fact, I’m pretty damn ashamed of it.
But the other day I stumbled onto a book (well, I got the audio version which was ironic, since I have way more trouble focusing on those than books that I read) thanks to Amy’s advice. It’s called Hyperfocus. I didn’t even read the back cover. I knew I needed it. And then I started listening… and realised that I wasn’t the only one in need. This dark secret of mine is (according to the thousands of studies the author read) a problem that’s affecting the majority of the developed world.
We’ve forgotten how to focus.
It affects our work.
It affects our relationships.
It even effects our ability to relax.
This lack of focus is poisoning us slowly and I’m scared to think about how it’ll affect the next generation if it’s already this bad with ours.
I mean, I didn’t join Facebook until I was 20. I spent the first 20 years of my life absorbed in, well, LIFE. And yet in the 10 (okay, almost 12) years since I “went online”, I’ve been slowly taking more and more energy from my real life and moving it into my digital one.
But enough about that. If you’re reading this, chances are you know exactly what I’m talking about and are also looking for a solution. And I’m happy to say that they DO exist. Just like anything worth having, it’s going to take some work… and thankfully these authors are here to help us.
This book is the
I recently dubbed myself a “starter”, not a “finisher”. As a creative person, I think it’s pretty common, but that doesn’t make it okay. In your teens and twenties, unfinished projects are part of the growing up process. But once you hit your thirties, it stops being cute and starts to become a problem. Oh, and let’s not talk about the number of times I’ve tried to achieve my health & fitness goals only to give up on day 20 (or more commonly, day 2). The author has a very clear reason for why we do this and what we need to finally finish our thing. Whether it’s a business, a weight-loss goal or writing a novel. So insightful and incredibly practical, this book is a must for any serial starter.
As Mark Twain once said “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” A perfect companion to the first two books due to its slightly different tact, the author spent years studying productive, successful people and simply compiled a list of techniques that they use to “eat that frog”. I love this book because it’s more of a menu that you can use to trial what works for you (you certainly don’t need his entire list of 21 ideas). Some of the techniques were absolute game-changers for me and I’d be surprised if you didn’t find at least 1 that does the same for you.
If there’s one thing I want to leave with you, it’s that there IS hope so don’t give up on yourself. Following the advice from Chris Bailey, I put myself into hyper focus mode for 30 minutes while writing this article and would you know it, after 25 minutes I had an 800 word article that would have taken me 2 hours if my focus was split.
Kat is an actor and personal branding coach as well as the host of The Personal Branding Project Podcast and her self-titled YouTube channel. She started her career off by playing Marilyn at Warner Bros Movie World, went on to perform in the original Australian casts of Jersey Boys & Hairspray and eventually found herself writing/producing her own work before becoming a self-employed copywriter and marketing strategist. She now offers 1:1 Coaching and Online Courses for entrepreneurs, freelancers + multi-passionate creatives.