"Be open to all outcomes, but attached to none."
Alkan added a topic in Main RoomA Core Priniciple of FocusSo I've been working on focusing more easily for a long time. I've noticed more clearly now that the times at which I am less focused, I am emotional about something. Either I'm too stressed out about something, or something else is getting under my skin emotionally.
Meditation has helped this a lot, but it takes more than that. You have to be able to understand what's bothering you and how to keep a larger perspective. You have to find ways of understanding how to make your emotional state better.
Which is no easy task, but I am finding that there's a direct correlation over a very long period of time where procrastination for me has come from feelings of insecurity and anxiety associated with the work I'm doing (because it's very hard stuff). Learning to let go of that, it's made it much easier to just dig into things and stop procrastinating with everything else I've been working on.
I felt like making this into a post, because I never really realized how vital it was to being able to stay focused on mentally demanding tasks. I suppose if I was doing something that didn't require me to use my brain very much, being stressed out might be fine. But, such is not the case for me.
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Alkan added a topic in Main RoomAn Agreement With MyselfI had kind of a shitty few days. Kind of got lazy and depressed.
It started out with kind of just wanting to have some sort of nice stimulation to relax after working hard, but it grew into staying on the internet too long and not getting things done. Which, inevitably turned into sluggishness and having a hard time pushing myself to go out and bike.
So, I made an agreement with myself: I'm going to be good to myself and I'm going to fundamentally develop the habit of doing the right thing for myself no matter what.
So, we'll see how this particular experiment goes.
EDIT: I think a more nuanced way of this is instead of calling it "self-compassion," call it, "be on your own side." Not just like a coach. You recognize your own mistakes, and what lead to them. Don't burden yourself with guilt for no reason. Don't give other people that kind of power. It's silly. It's not beneficial to you and who are they to judge you. If they have the power to make their judgement have impact on your life, then that's stressful - but that doesn't mean that its something to feel guilty about.
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Alkan added a topic in LifestyleBecoming More ProductiveSo, I've been putting in a rather large amount of effort into making myself a much more productive, focused person. My ambitions are very large enough that I don't even put them out there yet, so, I've been putting myself through hell simply to make myself react. I read The Power of Habit and The Slight Edge, and do what I can to apply the 40% rule. But, these things weren't enough on their own. I had to get creative and apply some other things I learned.
Anyways, I've found that there are several things that I am doing that have really massively increased my overall ability to produce, and produce efficiently:
1. Meditate every day, even if there is a deadline to meet. Spend some time researching this. I've found that I really like Sam Harris's: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OboD7JrT0NE
I do it without guidance since I've practiced from this one.
2. Proper nutrition. eat enough calories and protein Spinach and berry smoothies with a bit of protein powder in them work very well for this. It gives your body a full fledged breakfast. I eat cereal on top of this. The fiber in the spinach also causes the sugar from the smoothie to be released slowly, preventing an insulin spike, but giving you this very controlled, elevated sugar spike.
3. Coffee. Dose it properly. Then, find a day where you can be less productive for reducing your dependence. Do this if you find that you can't focus quite enough without all of the other steps.
4. Toughen Up: Decide that you're going to push through something because it's hard, not because it's easy. So, get in the habit of doing things like taking a cold shower, or biking to work, or something that takes more effort. Make your bed every morning, no matter what. Rip yourself out of bed at 5 am. Make this process of toughening up useful. The process of toughening up is literally the most effective thing I've done. I spend more time working on myself AND working by a long shot. The more you exert your willpower, the less life's obstacles and setbacks will phase you. You will become simultaneously happier, more resilient person and much likelier to attain your goals by craving difficulty instead of running from it.
5. Control your emotions. Meditation helps with this. When you're emotional about something, it takes away your ability to focus as a completely involuntary neurophysical process that you simply cannot overcome with willpower. Not a bad couple of videos:
6. Exercise. This will cause neurological changes to the hippocampus, helping regulate emotions.
7. Journal. Every time you journal, you reinforce what you just wrote down as if you were communicating it to someone else. This has a strong reinforcing effect which allows you to hone yourself, making yourself more effective. Write down thoughts, learn to use it as a tool to discover more about your inner workings, the inner workings of others and as a scaffolding for developing yourself into the person you want to become.
8. Energize yourself. Get pumped up, somehow, some way. This will get blood flowing to your brain, allowing additional focus, and will reinforce your ability to energize yourself at will.
These things take practice. It's going to be impossible to implement them all at once, but if you make a larger effort to do it every day, you will see a relatively rapid improvement. Mix all of these into a routine. Yes, you do have time. In fact, you actually create time by becoming more focused and productive. So, if you spend two hours on this stuff every morning getting ready, you're going to be 20-30% more effective, and you're going to be able to push for longer.
My personal routine is:
Make bed. (Apply Rule 5)Shower, sometimes cold. (4, 5 - I do mental processing while in the shower)Make coffee and smoothie at the same time, eat cereal with the rest of these. (2, 3)Meditate (since the caffeine kicked in it helps the focus). At LEAST 15 minutes. (1)Journal while meditating, since I find that I get my best ideas while meditating. (5)Listen to some metal music to get myself amped up. I find that it gives me more of a feeling of imperviousness and makes feeling sorry for myself seem like a complete and utter joke. (4, 5, 8)Bike to campus at a brisk pace. (6, 8) - sometimes this is before meditation.Thus far, I've been more productive than I have ever been in my entire life, with more consistency, while feeling a lot better about it.
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