Fall always feels like a bonus New Year celebration to me, a time to reset. Whether it’s work, school, or personal goals, I feel like it’s time to get after it again, finish the year strong. I find a lot of joy, maybe relief, in having some structure and routine, even though this is exactly what is so bittersweet about this time of year.
I get reflective, teetering on wistful about summer's end. Did I enjoy my summer enough? Did I take advantage of the beautiful outdoors? The supposed relaxed pace? I try not to look in the rearview mirror for too long, I can always think of something I should have done more of and all the things that you’re not supposed to beat yourself up about, but one of my strengths is maximizer–how can I do it better next time?– So, I cannot help myself.
I indulge myself with a little look back and then I have a little chat with myself, it’s fall–a new year–reset and finish strong. I ask myself, what do I want more of? I am not in the say no and take care of yourself camp. I am in this world is amazing and I want to participate in all of it, and what are my priorities, so I do that the most!
Interestingly, as fall came upon us, I started reading books and listening to podcasts that were all focused on the same topic, the importance of getting into undistracted, deep work to excel in our job, to learn, to hone our talents, and to be and feel successful in our rapidly changing world. Seems obvious and something we could throw on our calendar for a few hours of our day, but it’s really hard to keep our attention on one project and really give it all our attention, without checking phones, emails, organizing, or grabbing something to eat or drink. Try it! We have a tendency to want to blame our phones, social media, our kids, our co-workers, our parents, the need to be available in case of emergency, and any external object or reason we can think of, and all are very good reasons.
As I was listening and reading about this concept, it reminded me of the running clinic I did one morning. I cannot remember why I was there, who I was with or who was teaching it. What I remember is the question I asked the coach and the answer I received. We were instructed to run a hill, about ¼ mile, pretty steep. I asked if we were supposed to jog it, go 80% or actually sprint–give it 100%. The instructor looked at me and said if you don’t give it 100%, how do you know what you can really do? Whoa! I think about his comment all the time, but I hadn’t thought of it in the context of being super focused on a project and controlling the distractions to give 100% of my attention to what’s important in my world.
If I am asked, what do you have going on today? Would my answer be, I am going to be distracted and reactive for most of the day, and every day this week. I am not going to carve out concentrated time to develop the strategy for the product line that is uber important to our future, because I will be busy skimming the surface of emails mostly, some texts, followed by moments of list-making for all the things that I didn’t get done yet, and I’ll list things that we should do in the future. Really, I’ll model distracting behavior for my co-workers and kids all week. After observing myself for the last two weeks, this is me, and remember, I am a Lilac 11 devotee.
Or, have you ever talked to someone who says, I work so hard and I am not appreciated. Share the content links below. It does challenge your way of being and not everyone wants a challenge. Our world is dynamic, we are lucky to have so much access to so much at our fingertips. We owe it to ourselves to consider the impact of being distracted and allowing the distractions to rule our world. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean we cannot be on social media or that we have to give up our phones, it’s about creating space to purposefully indulge ourselves and creating space for undistracted, deep work that allows our body and brain to get into the flow and for us to access our best self, talents, and capabilities.
For a quick listen:
To get deep, read:
Deep Work by Cal Newport