Archive for the ‘focus’ Category

Not so long ago, on a glorious saturday afternoon, I started feeling nauseous and not very good at all. I was at a family gathering and really enjoying the Durban sunshine. Fortunately, I made it home before it all came back to me – lunch and anything had eaten before.
I have no clue what caused it, but am sure the 2 hour bike ride in the heat of the day did not help my electrolyte balance.

To get to the point and to leave out the gnarly details – I was very sick that night and was in bed most of the following day (sunday). I lost much fluid and weight in the process.

This left very weak on the monday morning going to work. I was not sick enough to skip work and go to the doctor and was running at about 60% The difference was remarkable. Instead of taking 2 stairs at a go – I could only manage one. This forced me to take it slowly.
Breakfast gave me an energy lift, so working at 75% was about the max I was going to get to. This was good!


I shall explain. Running at 100% is never effective and never efficient for anybody or anything. Take a car for example. It gets less efficient as the speed gets higher. So travelling at 110km/h is actually more efficient than 120km/h which is more efficient than 130km/h etc. You get the point. So why try and go at 130 km/h when 110 km/h is more efficient and more effective?

I figured this out while working at about 80% on the Monday. It was amazing how efficient and therefore focussed and ultimately more effective I was that day. Because I was working at 80% does not mean I was working slowly. It meant that I stopped spending energy on nothing and rather focussed it on the important items.

Try it out for yourself. Stop working at 100 (or 110) % capacity and see how it will increase your efficiency in daily life.


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Are you always forgetting things?

Do you say ‘I should write that down so I remember it’?

Are you always being distracted by more exciting thoughts and ideas?

I am currently studying part time and it takes a lot of my very little (and very precious) spare time. I would rather be doing other things more fun and exciting but that’s a different story!
As it gets closer to exam time – the distraction get more and more exponentially. This is not good for studying.
I started to use that age old saying of ‘have a pen and paper handy’ so I can get it down on paper and out of my head.
This does 2 very important jobs:
1. It gets the thought out of my head – focussing my thoughts on the job at hand.
2. It builds a ‘to-do list’ for when I am finished studying.

The last one is especially relevant because every time I finish exams for the semester – I wonder around aimlessly thinking I have to do something but without studying – I have no idea what!!

This is equally effective in the work place too. Use your computer / tablet / smart phone to remind you of the items on the appropriate date or time.
If your job is deadline driven – use my exam principle above but replace exam with deadline.

Having written items down – I love to check them off as done – it gives me a great sense of accomplishment.

Any other tips? Write a comment below to add to this post.

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Everything you have done, everything you have experienced has brought you to the point where you are right now. It is a pretty simple statement but it needs to be looked at. Everything you have done and experienced has prepared you for what you are about to do.

Let’s look at few examples: a professional golfer stands on the first tee in a tournament. Before this moment, he has hit 10 000’s of practice shots and done exercises to prepare him to be able become better. Practiced for hours on end without anybody watching to prepare for this moment.

A singer stands up front of an audience to give a performance that will make her career and set her up with contracts for a long time. Before this moment, she has sung countless bars of music in countless places. Practiced for hours on end without anybody watching to prepare for this moment.

The examples are every one’s life. Yours and mine. They do not only have to apply to a Hollywood style come back or meteoric rise to fame and fortune. The difference is how we use ‘everything’. We can use it in 2 ways:

1. We can focus on the negative aspects or ‘bad things’ OR

2. Use the whole experience to focus on the positive aspect in order to become ‘better people’

I will use my year of 2011 and show how to apply the above points.

I held 3 jobs that did not work out,

I only cycled about 1 800 km the whole year – pretty dismal distance from a ‘cyclist’,

I failed more subjects than I passed in terms of studying

And I weighed more at the end of the year than the beginning.

Pretty bad points that I could easily focus on. Easy to point fun at IF you do not have the facts behind these facts and the positive aspects to my year.

The facts behind my year:

The first job was a contract position that was not renewed, the second I left in search of better opportunities and the better opportunity retrenched me.

I only cycled that distance for a few reasons. I had hand surgery that kept me out for 2 months at least.

The Positives:

I am now a father to a perfect baby girl.

I am married to an amazing wife, AND

We have an amazing support structure of friends and family.

The positive experience account for the cycling studying not going to well.

So how am I going to use the year that was 2011? By following the second point above in the following way:

1. Analysis what happened during 2011. Most things were pretty much cause and effect for me so this is pretty simple.

2. Plan the year ahead carefully. Take all events into consideration (obviously as much as is available)

3. Use the support structure I / we have to maintain an even keel throughout the year.

4. Be flexible. Things happen and cause things to change so being able to chop and change (only when necessary) is a very good tool to have.

5. Enjoy life. It takes work but it’s worth it! I love my wife and little girl and intend on enjoying them all the time I have them around.

It is never too late to use your ‘everything’! How are you going to use your ‘everything’?

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Over the last 4 and a bit weeks, certain things have come to light for myself and it has changed the way I think about what I am doing.

My daughter arrived (Yes, I know – it is everything to me currently and it is not going to change) and suddenly the focus changed for Carrie and I. Our whole life and how we do things changed.

When it come to me personally, it only really affected me on a deep level when I started to do some training. Suddenly, the time was short and the opportunity to do the training was dramatically reduced. Gone are the days (for now) that I could go for a run just before dinner or when I get home from work.

I consulted my older brother (father to a dughter of 16 months at the time) because he had obviously was in the same boat. After a chat (whilst running – he did most of the talking), he gave me the insight that only the focus had really changed. It is how you use the time you have available that is now so critically important.

WOW! The value of training just went up ALOT!!

Looking back now, this had become apparent a few years back too, but I had not cognitively recognised it. I was a student full time for a long period and now had to start working. Whilst working I had to study as part of the articles I was serving with an auditing firm. This study was now part time and after hours! Same principle!

It does not matter what you have going on, time to yourself is precious. When you do use that time – there is certainly a concentration of effort in that time. This does not mean you have to work at a super fast fast or sprint the 5 km you planned, it means that when you are doing that activity – your mind is completely focused on that and nothing else.

What are you doing with that precious time?

Are you using to the full?

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Selfish (adjective)
1. Devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
2. Characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.
That is the definition of the word selfish according to dictionary.com but I believe that doing something for yourself is not selfish. 

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“There’s lots of fighting in this world but there’s so much loving, too”
Ready by Third Day

Those are such inspiring words to me. They are very ture in todays society where violence, war and just fighting in general are seen daily in every city, in every country around the world. In the past 10 days, we have seen the greater London area (and further out) being destroyed by riots and locally to myself in South Africa, the municipal strike has resulted in sewerage being thrown at municipal building  further up country. No country, race or creed is exempt from this sort of violent occurence.
Yes, we have to accept that fighting is every where. No, we do not have to focus on the fighting because if you look around in the very same cities, there is a huge amount of love too. Take London after the riots for example, The cleanup of the rioting chaos created a massive movement of locals chipping in and helping out. That is awesome to see happen. Everyone focuses on the riots themselves but I think that the silver lining of the clean up should be focussed on as much too.
When I say ‘love’, I mean the little gestures  that make a difference to someone. I am not talking about massive public gestures and giving millions of Rands or Pounds (or whatever currency) to charity at some big press launch. I am meaning the person holding the door for you, the guy who lets you cycle past before pulling into the traffic, the person ahead of you who let you take the last item you wnated etc. There are 100’s of these actions going on daily and we often take them for granted because we have negativity tinting our eyes.
It is the little things that enlighten our days with a beautiful moment of love from a complete stranger who wants nothing in return and tells us there are still great people in the world.
Try and see the love in the world but better yet BE the love in the world.

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