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Self Improvement

My Aim for 2020: Stillness

2020 will be the year of stillness and focus for me.

That’s the plan, anyway.

I want to follow the Zen saying of “chop wood, carry water”-that is, do the work that matters.

Focus on the important stuff and reduce or cut out entirely the distractions, the stuff that stops me from focusing and doing my best work.

So, stillness and quietness and reducing the inputs to my mind will be the priority.

My biggest problem, and I have written about this before, is email.

All the other social media I can control in my daily life, and I have notifications turned off so I am not receiving a constant barrage of flashing lights or ping sounds to tell me I haven’t posted for a while on Facebook or someone likes my post on Instagram, or has started following, or think my YouTube video sucks.

No, my problem is email because I use it every day in my business and I have an irresistible urge to deal with every email as soon as I see it. This is the big interruption in my working day and I cannot switch if off entirely or ignore it.

It is vital to my business. However, I may need to change the way I do email.

I need to deal with this and ensure that I have quiet, undistracted time to focus on the important priorities which I need to identify on a daily, rolling basis.

It’s the 13th December 2019 today and I have started to condition myself to quietness and working without the radio on, a habit of a lifetime.

Since arriving at the office this morning at 6.30 am I have worked in complete silence, as I did yesterday. This is a novelty for me but one I am beginning to enjoy and appreciate.

If I face a blank page, as I did this one before writing this post, in complete silence I think I am giving myself a better chance of writing something, clearing my mind, arranging my thoughts about something, thinking with intention, than if the radio was on telling me about the British general election and Brexit and Boris Johnson.

So, roll on 2020 and developing stillness and focus and blocking out timewasting distractions and notifications.

And giving myself the best chance possible to do the best work I am capable of.

Attend to the process, not the outcome

I have previously written a blog post with the ambitious title of “How to succeed every time“.

This post looks at the success of leading sportsmen and women who focus, not on the outcome of a free kick or penalty or putt but, on the process.

Why? Because you cannot control or determine the outcome but you can control your process, and how you apply yourself to a task.

This is virtually identical to the idea of seeking stillness. I see them as two sides of the same coin.

Because stillness is not necessarily about being physically quiet or still-it is about applying your mind and body entirely and completely to the task at hand.

If this is your work, and you want to do good work, you will give yourself the best chance of doing great work on a consistent basis if you achieve stillness, and focus, and attend to the process-not the outcome.

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