I was never diagnosed, but I always thought I had some sort of ADHD growing up.
I could never focus on one thing at once. I was always either watching TV and playing games on my computer at the same time, or reading while listening to Bullet for My Valentine (terrible idea). There's so many amazing works of art in our world, from video games, to music, to movies, that I tried to consume it all at once.
I was also terribly impatient.
I was born into a world that has become saturated with thousands of different things competing for my attention. From text messages and Facebook notifications to related YouTube videos and BuzzFeed, it has become a serious modern day problem to learn how to deal with all of these distractions.
Sometimes I wish the world was as simple as a time before, where the only things you could realistically do in a day were work, write letters, and have a beer with your pals down the street. Yes, you lived in a world of ignorance, but you didn't have to give it much of a thought on what you were going to do that day. Your choices were limited.
Now we have to deal with the consequences of living in a world full of abundance, awareness, connectivity, and opportunity.
With so much content to consume, our generation's inability to focus or decide on what to do with our lives has increased tenfold. That's part of what's lead to this seemingly generational depression.
We feel like we have a million options on what to do with our lives and become overwhelmed by that choice, so we distract ourselves to delay having to do the "hard stuff".
We scroll down our Facebook feeds so we can delay having to do homework for a little bit longer.
We stay in poisonous relationships so that we can delay having an uncomfortable feeling.
We go to college so we can delay having to think about pursuing a potential career path and possibly failing.
Before we can fix this "delay addiction", we have to realize how bad not having control of our focus affects our lives. Lack of focus means becoming a sort of adrenaline junkie, hooked on the bright-screened stimulation that comes with being "connected". You become reactive with your actions, rather than taking control of them. You'll start to run on autopilot, and your bad habits will have become so automatic that you'll just let them happen unconsciously to the detriment of your goals.
When's the last time you put your cell phone down when doing your homework? This is multitasking at its most common form for many of my college-aged peers. We know it doesn't help us finish the task any faster, so why do we do it?
We do it because it feels like we're being productive. We have to reply immediately to our club member's text or always be on top of what our friends are chatting about on a group message. It makes us feel like we're getting shit done.
Others multitask because they hate what they are doing, and believe that their phones will make the task itself less painful.
In reality, the more you switch back and forth between tasks, the longer it will take to finish. Your quality of work will also reduce drastically. And you won’t accomplish what you want because you’re spending all of your waking hours binging on distractions.
Look, we all want more in life.
Maybe you want to start writing that blog you've always dreamed of starting. But you think that if you muster the courage to write one blog, you'll forget about it in a week, and never get back to it.
Maybe you've tried going to the gym multiple times, only to give up after a week. And then you hop on the next trend and the cycle repeats itself.
You ask yourself “why can’t I stick to this and just do it? It’s something I want, so why is it so hard?”
It’s okay to think like that. A lot of people have faced that problem, myself included.
How do you break out of this rut?
You have to start by learning how to focus.
Start with focusing on a micro level, then over time, your focus will show naturally grow. When you focus just a little bit every day, before long you'll be focusing every day for a month, and then every month for a year.
The thing is, I didn't think about writing over 100 posts; I just thought about writing one post and I did it every day. That's called focus. And with focus, you get measurable progress.
Progress that builds up with every minute you spend intently doing something.
The results aren't immediate, but they're well worth it when you look back on it.
Here are the exact steps of what I want you to do right now:
- Set aside 30 minutes of your day tomorrow to work on something important to you.
- Schedule it into your calendar.
- This is the key part: set a timer right before you start for those 30 minutes.
Commit to not doing anything BUT the task you want to finish. Just having a running clock allows you to focus on the task at hand, without having to worry when time is up.
Without it, you'd be constantly checking the clock to see when you should be done. By having a "focus timer", you can let yourself be immersed, worry-free.
By simply taking these small steps, I've controlled my lack of focus a lot better and that's made me a happier because now I can work on achieving my goals everyday.
Comment below immediately on what you're going to do, and let me know how it worked out for you. I'd love to hear it. You can also message me directly at evanduyLe@gmail.com.