Typically I have about 20 things going on in my brain all at the same time. While the science says there is no such thing as multi-tasking, just fast switching back and forth – it can feel like I am trying to do those 20 things simultaneously. Most of the time I can surf with all of this brain activity. But there are also times where it is overwhelming. In those times it seems like I am not able to make progress on any of the 20 items. I lose focus and motivation and creativity. I need a way out of the cycle and back to energy.
There are many options for recharging and refreshing yourself. These include taking a day off, taking a vacation, meditating, yoga, reading, playing music, running, playing sports, etc. The trick is to find what works specifically for you. What activity, at what frequency, works best for you? I need both the activity and the frequency to match – a great activity that only happens once a month won’t do it for me. Once you create this option, it can be the go-to place for you to quiet your mind.
I also like a combination of the longer term and shorter term activities. Longer term would be a planned vacation of at least a week. I put my vacation time on my calendar before any client appointments go on it. Doing this early helps avoid any conflicts and guilt about going on vacation.
For short term, my activities of choice are meditation, playing music, or horseback riding. Meditation is the hardest for me as I have to consciously stop thinking about things and let go. Having a distraction is better – rather than stop thinking about many things, I can focus on just one thing. But, the activity has to be all involving – one where I cannot shift focus without consequences. That is where horseback riding comes in for me.
I have been taking English riding lessons for almost 4 years. It is a sport that has specific and numerous technique requirements – eyes up, heels down, shoulders back, sit up, etc., etc. And if that weren’t enough to focus on, you have the horse underneath you. If you ride correctly, they respond. If you don’t ride correctly, they do whatever they want to do. It requires single focus, on you and the horse to be successful. No thinking about what dinner is going to be or how many phone calls you have to return later – you just focus on you and the horse. There is also something in the human/animal bonding that contributes to me quieting my mind. I have a relationship with Gucci and am committed to doing well for him in our partnership. An hour riding lesson can go by in a blink as I am totally present for myself and my horse. And on our best days we come together like magic and it feels like flying.
At the end of the ride, my mind is clearer and relaxed. It truly feels like I have had a mini-vacation where everything else melted into the background. A bonus is that when I come back to my work, I don’t come back to those same 20 things. The craziness of what I left becomes more apparent when you focus down to one thing. So, the 20 things pare down to 5 as I am better at prioritizing and focusing on the real, value-added activities. I am more creative and frequently see possibilities that I hadn’t seen before.
What is your place to quiet your mind? Do you have one place or many? Do you provide yourself and your team opportunities to be focused on one thing? If not, give it a try. You will be surprised how much benefit can be gained by just a short visit!
Let us know your place to quiet your mind. What do you do for you and for your team? We’d love to hear how giving your mind a quiet place creates better focus and results!