You’ve hit a plateau.
It feels like no matter how much effort you put in, you’re just not progressing to the degree you desire.
Other people do it. You know it’s possible.
Let’s keep this simple.
3 forces you need to change your relationship with to gain enough momentum to break through:
Time is mysterious.
Once gone, it can never be reclaimed.
Most of us don’t think we have enough. But how much of this precious resource do we squander every day?
If you had an extra couple of hours each week what would you do with it?
sometime I’ll tell you about how I helped a client get more done by Wednesday than he previously was in an entire week…
Set aside a half-hour this week to audit your life. Make some categories: work, family, hobby, chores, commute, exercise, Netflix, social media. You get the idea.
You can even divide up your work day into its constituent activities.
Tally up how much time you’re spending on each category.
I’m willing to bet one of my toes that you can find 2 hours (probably much more than that) currently being used for, um…, let’s just call them low-value pursuits.
But what good is time if your energy is crap?
This is a real problem.
In fact, much of people’s time problem is really an energy problem.
This is a big topic. There are so many ways we can work to improve our energy.
For the purposes of this post, let’s just get some clarity about your energy status.
Is it hard to get out of bed in the morning?
Are you drinking tea, coffee, energy drinks? Eating chocolate and sweets? Tobacco? Amphetamines?
These are crutches.
You’ve got the right idea. You’re trying to manage your energy to improve your performance.
I’m not going to say to never do these things (except the amphetamines… not a good idea).
But we often abuse these things, when we could be employing much more effective strategies for ensuring we make it to the end of the day and week without feeling absolutely fried.
I’m just going to remind you of something basic here. You’re a big boy, and I’m not going to sit here and spell out every little detail.
Walk or bike to work. Get off the train earlier and walk farther. Take the stairs. Get some workouts in. Do active things while spending time with your family or girlfriend.
In the words of Ronnie Coleman: “Aint nothin to it but to do it.”
You will either move more, or you won’t. It’s a decision. One that will have weigh heavily on your health, success, and fulfillment in life.
I personally prefer to move out in nature, for reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere.
Are you paying attention to what I’m saying?
Because that’s the final piece—attention.
Attention is in short supply these days.
My qigong teacher would often say, “Where the mind goes, energy flows.”
This is absolutely true. What we focus on grows.
For most of us, the problem with our attention is that it’s all over the place.
We are scattered. Distracted. Interrupted.
And when our awareness and attention are spread so thin, it’s quality that suffers.
The quality of our work, relationships, ideas…
Let’s tie it all together:
We need to carve out the time to show up and experience life. If we don’t have the quantity and quality of energy, our time will not be enjoyed or used effectively. We feel like we need more time, but if we had better energy, we would get more out of the time we have. Having distracted, scattered attention is both a cause and effect of not having enough time and energy.
How do we improve our attention?
I will share a version of a simple yet powerful method I’ve used for years to cultivate high quality attention.
3 times a day, set a timer on your phone for 3 minutes.
Find somewhere relatively quite (and safe), where you won’t be disturbed.
Sit in an upright, but relaxed posture with your eyes relaxed (you can close them if that’s more comfortable).
Bring your attention to focus on the sensation of your breath entering and leaving your body.
On each exhalation count the breath. Count all the way up to 10, and then begin again at 1.
You will get distracted by thoughts and external stimuli. Just gently return your awareness to the breath.
Gradually increase the amount of time and/or the number of practice sessions as you get better.
Practice in earnest and you will begin to reclaim your attentional powers. You’ll be amazed at how much better you can focus on what really matters in each moment.