Attention matters and time management

Summarizing the lockdown I hear many people say that 2-3 months went by extremely fast and they don’t even know how they spent their time. Now they wonder how is it possible that with social distancing, telecommuting and almost zero social events, they still didn’t get anything done?

“Exercise was forgotten, healthy meals didn’t happen, and the work projects continue to pile up. Distraction was endemic before the pandemic and will continue long after” (1). Every phone notification and little bit of news occupies our attention. Oh, what’s that? 10 minutes lost. And what about that? 30 more minutes gone.

I consider myself quite a focused person but I have to admit I often experience the same thing. I sit down to work on my laptop determined to work on BWG Magazine and then I catch myself browsing the internet for the latest beauty treatments. Or I wake up in the morning and say “I will work out today” but then I don’t. I promise myself to call my family then I delay it to the next day, then after that they call me up asking why I disappeared for a week. Can you relate?

We are constantly distracted. Everybody knows what we should do and how we could do it – it’s not a lack of information anymore, we can Google everything about time management techniques – but we still struggle to make time for things that we “want” and to cure our shortage of attention.

It is all about your mindset. Not paying attention is not the fault of social media, TV and video games. It’s not defining how you want to spend your time. You have to know what you are distracted from. Watching TV is okay, spending time on Instagram is okay… Everything is okay if you decide on your schedule. It is about prioritizing certain things.

When I used to do sport professionally I had to keep up with my training no matter what. It meant that I had to skip things I wanted to do but they weren’t important to achieving my goal, which at the time was winning competitions. When I went to the gym I would put my phone away in a locker and leave it there until I was finished (I don’t have kids so I have the luxury of not needing to be reachable 24/7). If I kept my phone with me during my workout I would start to answer messages (they seem to come more often when I’m at the gym than any other time of day) between sets. I would lose focus and time. My mind was not 100% on my training anymore, so my workout would become less effective and I wouldn’t finish the exercise plan because I ran out of time. It’s like that with everything!

You need to plan your days. If you don’t do it someone else will do it for you. Your kids, your boss, your social circle. (Of course I cannot speak on everyone – if someone is a single mom the schedule will revolve around looking after the kids.)

To be able to decide what to do with your time you have to know the person you want to become. If your priority is health you have to schedule time for your health: exercise, eat good meals and get enough sleep. If watching TV makes you happy then do it, put it in your calendar and figure out how to cut time from the things that have to be done in order to be the person you want to be.

It is both simple and complicated. When I wanted to win a competition I did not watch TV, I socialized less (if at all) and I hardly spent any time on social media. All I did was work to be able to pay my bills and train. Doing more than that in a day was just not an option. I didn’t have time for it. I had a schedule.

(1) YogaBody podcast newsletter

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