How present do you tend to be? In the moment, living in the now or distracted and somewhere else?
Are you somebody perhaps that is fixated on past events (Memory-Driven) spending a lot of your time reminiscing?
Maybe instead you spend a lot of your time thinking about the future (Dream-Driven)? Do you like to dream about the better days ahead?
Evidence shows that those that actually perform the best and achieve the best outcomes of course reflect on their past and so too have dreams about their future. However, their primary focus the majority of the time is firmly in the moment and concentrated on the present.
The danger of course is that through living in the past or future, that real life passes you by! You may drift along unaware of the fact that you are not maximising the opportunities that actually lay at your feet right now today! It is essential that you remember to enjoy the journey.
So, the question then is how can you ensure that you are living in the present?
Well, the first is self-awareness and that is why you have been asked to consider the points above. Secondly, with improved self-awareness comes individual responsibility to make the necessary steps.
Below, I have included some suggestions on how to maximise your day and focus on the now!
Firstly, there is a need to reduce distractions. Putting your mobile device on flight mode and allowing time for deep work that requires real concentration can help you to focus on the now. Schedule time each and every day for this kind of deep work and inform those around you of your intention.
Create a to-do list each morning or the night before. Group similar activities together and list them in order of both importance and urgency. Doing so ensures that you are focusing on the tasks at hand and maintaining concentration where it needs to be. This is not the same as multi-tasking where your attention is divided across a number of areas. Instead be singular in your focus.
Remember also to pause even momentarily upon completion of each task before you commence the next. Doing so again promotes mindful practice so that you do not end up racing thoughtlessly through your day/week/month/year.
Through setting SMART goals means that you have to focus on your immediate actions – Objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic (though I would recommend replacing that with risky) and timely encourage you to focus on today and to understand that your actions today effect your future destination.
Being mindful is a great way to stay focused on the present. Notice when your attention drifts from the work at hand not in a critical way but rather acknowledge that it has and then gently bring your attention back to where it needs to be.
Staying with the topic of mindfulness for a moment, you may also focus on your breath as there is only one and that is happening right now. Through focusing on your breath a few times each and everyday it draws attention to the now and ensures that we are truly present.
Stay grateful for the things that you have in your life today. It is so very easy to take things for granted so recognising even simple things that are going well encourages us to live in the moment and enjoy each of our individual journeys.
Getting enough sleep is essential to maintaining focus on where it needs to be. Sleep is one of the most underrated tools that you have at your disposal for peak performance.
Finally, good nutrition is essential in fuelling both mind and body so that you can maximise each and every day. Try to balance lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates to sustain your performance and levels of concentration. This too, will assist you on maintaining concentration and in focusing on today.
Joe McDonald, founder of create10 is a professional coach and trainer. Working with individuals, teams and organisations in maximising their performance. One to one professional coaching, impactful workshops and online courses available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.create10.ie for further information