Why Improving Mental Clarity and Focus Can Be Life-Changing?
How to change your life through improving your mental clarity and focus.
Have You lately felt a bit lost or lacking clear direction? The high volume of information and the year-long pandemic have taken a toll on all of us. It is difficult to have mental clarity and ability to focus when we try to keep up with the flow of daily news, hoping to hear something good about the future.
Mental Clutter and Clarity
Mental clutter is one of these things we all experience sooner or later in our life. And of course, even more so during a year-long global pandemic. It is easy to get lost in current context of uncertainty. It is easy to feel fear and confusion as the future holds so much unknown, so much uncontrollable.
You might feel lack of interest and motivation to get things done, to take action or even think deeper as "Who knows anyway what is going to happen? Who knows when it is going to end?" You might feel tempted to sit still and wait it out. Well this is one way to do it. Comfy zone is always comfy!
Lack of clarity can also relate to understanding yourself on a deeper level. Sometimes the daily life gets on the way and you settle into what you have. There is of course nothing wrong with being grateful and happy with who you are, where you are and what you have, rather the contrary - gratitude is one of the most powerful forces, but giving up on understanding better our deepest desires and following our heart comes with a cost. If we do not listen to ourselves and do not give us an opportunity to explore our inner desires, sooner or later we end up dealing with it - either as some sort of life crises or nagging feeling of dissatisfaction. So better sooner than later.
If clarity is your map telling you where you want to go, then focus is the ability to do what needed to arrive there. Unfortunately "focus", the ability to concentrate on a task in hand, seems to be a superpower these days. Have you noticed people around you constantly distracted or almost seeking for distractions. How often do you see people enjoying their life for longer periods hands-free? How many calm deep conversations have you had yourself lately?
According to Cal Newport, the author of a book "Deep Work" mastering the skill of deep work, "the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task" is becoming increasingly rare, but holds the power to bring extraordinary results. A recent Forbes article (by Chris Westfall) included "deep work" in addition to "stop the busyness" and "finding time to think" among three critical skills one needs to develop for the future of work.
How to Gain Clarity
The easiest would be to choose to stay in the comfy zone and keep going. But what if there is much better way out? What if I say that gaining some clarity can really help you to focus on what matters and invest (your time and effort) into your desired future?
Although clarity and focus are interdependent, usually gaining clarity is the first step. You need to know on what to focus!
As always, the first step to take is to calm Your mind and think about (and write it down):
1) Who You are?
2) What do You really want to achieve in Your life? What kind of life do You want to build for Yourself? What are Your core values?
The most certainly none of us really knows "How this ends" and "When this ends", but we do know Who we are and What we want from our life. While many things might change and are not controllable, what if it doesn't really matter!? What if there are many possible ways for us to be Who we are and build the kind of life we want? Once we gain clarity about what really matters, we have a clear idea about on what we need to focus NOW. When things change, we just need to adapt!
Boosting Clarity and Focus
Stress is said to be the major cause of mental fatigue, which makes it harder for us to think clearly and to focus. Knowing this, reducing stress should be the first step when dealing with mental clutter and lack of concentration.
When looking for some quick boost of clarity and focus, the following 5 ways should work:
Do a brain dump - declutter your mind and thoughts by writing down every little thing that is floating in your mind.
Meditate - no complex routine is needed, simply calm your mind by sitting still and following your breath for few minutes.
Practice mindfulness - do one thing at a time. Focus really on doing that one thing, be present. (Reading works well for training focus!).
Move - physical activity does boost immediately some brain chemicals that tend to affect focus and attention. Exercise. Walk Dance. Stretch.
Eliminate distractions - put down your smartphone. Take a break from (social) media, silence all notifications.
The "Side-Effects" of Improved Clarity and Focus
Imagine setting out of the door without any plan or map or destination, what do you think will happen. Well probably nothing terrible, you will be wandering around - here and there - and eventually return home again. What about your life? Is this how you want to live it? Kind of wandering here and there?
Gaining clarity is about understanding better your needs, your wants and your deepest desires. It helps you to have a plan, set a direction to move towards it. Clarity helps you to understand who you are and what you want and most importantly - how to get there.
Improved focus on the other hand will helps you to get things done. And if taking the skill of focus to mastery, to the concept of "deep work" level, some extraordinary results will most definitely start showing up.
Improved clarity and focus will change your life - you will know where you are going and you will make it happen!