The 'meat' of this TEDx talk starts at 7m46s.

Life is a manifestation of where your focus goes.

Do one thing at a time to the best of your ability. Don't worry about what's important later, what's important now is all the matters. In order to give the next thing your full attention, you must give the current task your full attention.

Two aspects of focus:

  1. Awareness
  2. The Mind

Imagine a dark room. In that room is a huge piece of art hanging on a wall. It's one of the most massive pieces of artwork you've ever seen and is extremely complex. I hand you a flashlight. The flashlight is your awareness. You have a limited range of view, but whatever part of the painting you shine the light on becomes visible. The artwork contains hundreds of little scenarios, reflecting an expanding 'city' of circumstances that are always changing. We can then divide the painting into segments. As you move your flashlight across the painting, you illuminate different segments.

You zoom in to see what is being depicted in the scene. Scenes reflect different aspects we experience in life: anger, jealousy, envy, joy, sex, food, happiness, peace, science, art, etc... the painting is a vast as the different experience you have had (and will have) in your lifetime.

As you zoom in, you begin to feel and relate to each scene. You become absorbed in the scene as if you were in the scene. But you aren't. You are just the observer. The more you relate to each scene, the more you find the challenge in distance yourself from it. You become consumed by the scene.

The art of focus is our ability to keep the light on the scene and not be distracted by the surrounding scenes. Zooming out allows us to see the other scenes and choose intentionally the scene that serves us in the moment we need it. Zooming out allows us to remove ourselves from a scene that is no longer serving us. Recognizing that we are in a quadrant allows us to separate ourselves from the scene and return to that of observer rather than unwilling participant.

Mediation is great practice for focus. As our mind wanders, we return to our mantra and/or breath. We simply notice it leaving and softly (not forcefully) bring it back to the intention of meditation, which is to calm the mind and enter into the space of pure awareness.

Any activity you engage in can become a practice of focus and mindfullness. In fact, focus is the practice of fullness of mind in the moment.

Your mind never wanders, its your awareness (attention) that wanders.

To demonstrate this concept, Dandapani has the audience recall a vivid memory of a recent experience.

We can move our awareness to any area of the mind we want. Again, think of a the analogy of a massive painting. That painting is your mind. The flashlight that reveals one quadrant of the paining is your awareness.

Given this, you can see why multitasking is impossible. You can multitask, but only be zooming out. And by zooming out, you can't see all the details. And when you zoom out, your awareness will be more easily drawn into another scenes (aka distractions).

Perhaps the biggest opportunity is also the biggest challenge. That is, to pick a quadrant and truly be there. To not let the mind drift elsewhere.

The take away starts at 14m34s.

It is simply to bring our concentration into everything we do in our everyday life.

Consider it is how we relate to what we relate to as we are relating to it.

Only when we give our full attention to the task at hand can we perform at our best.

Here's my take away today.

I have shown the concept of 8 up in the past. But today, I am using a 4 up and both sides. The AM is one side, the PM is the other. Today is segmented into 8 two-hour quadrants: 6-8am then 8-10am, etc...

As I begin my day, I zoom out. I choose what I will shine my light on today. I write the events on my 4-up canvas.

As I plan my day, I make room for what is most important. I immediately recognize the need to put an event on tomorrows 4-up. And so the canvas expands. I discover that I am not limited by a 24-hour period, but if I were, what would I need to get done today?

I revisit my 10-day sprint.

And so it begins...

Next I think about how I can setup WebDAV to sync my notes from Notebooks to pubwriter. This distraction arose when I tried to find out why the spellcheck stopped working in Notebooks. Then I realize I am way off task.


AuthorDock as a focus tool

The structure of AuthorDock is well suited for a focus of 'hot spots.' The hotspot is the project. Surrounding that hotspot are all the events (i.e. #839) related to that 'project.'

You can focus on one item at a time in this way.