This month both Frances and I have taken the decision to focus on a project solidly for a month to get it to the next stage. To do this we had to make time and space. One of the ways we did this was to get some stuff done in advance and use automated tools to deliver it up on schedule. The thought and effort was the same, the difference was the timing. So we planned to get our blog posts and newsletters written in advance.
We know for both of us Focus takes some planning! And as Sprout we advocate the value of regular Timeouts.
Not Time Management
What we have done could look like Time Management. But it is not that for me – even though it is a happy by -product.
Time for me (and to the sometimes frustration of those around me) has an elastic quality 😉 I can be temporarily tamed by the precision of a clock but it never lasts for long. I do like to be punctual, it’s just I don’t always manage it.
So time management is NEVER an attraction for me. I am not going to manage it and it is not going to manage me either. The goal for us was Focussed attention at the same time on different aspects of the same project. We know that it works, not only does our output increase, but also the enjoyment too.
I don’t want to manage time, but I do like to have a sense of space. Space to work in, space to think in, space to dream in and space to stretch out before turning my attention to the finer details. Space to reduce a complicated idea to something simpler.
Having a major focus of attention does this for me. I don’t feel pressured. I am less inclined to be slap dash or sloppy because I can ease out into the space I have given myself and give it (whatever IT might be) the attention it needs. Removing the irritations and the interruptions also makes it easier to deal with the frustrations when they arise, as they do with any creative activity, with anything that is a challenge.
A sense of ease
A sense of ease, you know that feeling? You lean back into it. You breathe more easily and possibly more slowly. Depending what you need your mind can oblige. Focussing in on something tricky or letting your mind wander abroad with you as a passenger, you find yourself considering stuff, weird stuff, stuff you hadn’t even realised needed to be considered. Because you have space you can be expansive, the focus of your attention can wriggle, it can change shape. It can surrender itself to you. An idea that was elusive to you, holds still long enough for you to look at it clearly and grasp it properly.
Energy reducing decisions don’t have to be made and strangely they don’t arise often either, because you have committed to a primary focus as people want a bit of your time it is easier to say “no”, or “later”. Or if you have signalled what you are up to they kindly don’t ask.
This is a holiday from distraction, it is respite from interruptions, it stops disruption in it’s tracks. And if something does break through and demands attention, your mind is able to shift focus in the same relaxed, easy way, deal with it and then knows that there is something to get back to and shifts back to it with the same elegant ease. Somewhere in your mind, the beat was maintained and without breaking your mental stride you shift back.
Make your own Space
It isn’t single minded to the point of obsession, it is more trance like. Once you make the decision and mean it, your eyes and ears are drawn to it. Concentration isn’t hard, it is a natural effect.
Of course it is a daily decision too. The real world does not go away, bills arrive, people get ill, but your primary purpose – for now – has been decided.
The sense of space can exist in a cluttered room or a tidy one, on a hillside or in a city. Just as the sense of pressure, hurry and obligations can exist in all those places too.
My experience of this is that Making Space has the effect of making time. There will be enough, you will get done what you set out to achieve. It will feel like play because you chose the project, you chose the remit, you chose to give it priority, you chose when to stop.
Time Outs always have a purpose, whether it is just to stop for a while before resuming, or something more explicit like ours is, this month, any month.
A discrete space.
Make your own space.
Breaking out of the daily routines and requirements, takes you to the Final Frontier – Space
Go to PLAY in it.