My son and I officially killed another venus fly trap. We fed it with flies, watered it but realized in the end that this is not the environment for it to grow at its best. While trying to edit my book I observed the plant; it looked sad and waited patiently for flies. I focused on it and thought about what we did wrong this time. My mind started wandering around. I am supposed to focus on my work and this book so it gets published any day now. It’s 2 pm. How is it already 2 pm? I glanced down at my empty coffee cup that sat next to the dying venus fly trap and contemplated whether it’s time for another cup. “I have to get all the editing done today”, I thought when the nutritional pathology assignment on Hashimoto’s disease that is also due in one week came to my mind.

I looked back at the screen, to the plant, and to my coffee cup. There is so much going on outside on the street, too. Why is the neighbor wearing only his underwear while watering his lawn? Why is this guy swimming naked in his pool while five baby raccoons are playing on my balcony?  I sit back at my desk and decide to focus. But shortly after I checked my emails because maybe I missed another enlightening and funny one that brightens my day. At least I barely check Facebook anymore because I find it annoying and tiring wondering why people post every single step of their life. Who the hell cares. Who the hell cares about “likes”. Nobody.

Then I sit back and decide to focus. I have a lot of work to do. Now is my time. I open the word documents I am working on and put on headphones. I never work with my headphones on but I want to give this a try. I am really feeling this song. B-b-b-bad to the bone. They are touring again soon. The last concert was awesome. Let me check this other great song they played at the concert. What an awesome night. Let me forward this song to my friend. He would definitely appreciate it. When they are touring again we are going. Def going! Okay, I will find a calmer song now to launch me into my super creative work mode. There it is. I love this song. Now I can focus. Like hard.

In the corner of my eye, I see my phone light up and it’s a text. Yay. I sort of know who it is from but also maybe someone could be in danger and needs my help. If they were, they would obviously send me a text over a phone call. In any case, I better check. Like now. Cute message from Mr. X so all is sweet. I smile and sent him a message back. And he sent me another message. And then I….

I work great under pressure and I easily fall under the distraction spell. I love what I do, especially when it involves writing but I am easily side-tracked and have a hard time finding my way back to focus on the task, especially if I know I still have a couple of days left before I have to hand in an assignment.

Does this all sound familiar to you? At The Institute of Holistic Nutrition, I learned some amazing tips to feel more focused, energized and not get too distracted. I will share the best ones with you.

Breathe.  I breathe in and breathe out deeply and let go of all the stuff that is stuck inside of myself. I usually put one hand on my heart and one on my belly and breathe quietly. I do this anywhere and anytime I have the feeling I really have to take care of myself. With this simple notion I  feel better and can give myself a feeling of safety and that I am here. Now.

The fastest way to focus is to simply give my brain a break. Whenever I think I keep hitting a block in what I am doing (for me especially when I am writing or coming up with a solution to a problem), chances are that my brain has too many tabs open. Then I am standing up, breathing deeply, walk around, go outside and basically visit an environment different than the one I am currently in. This gives me some space to re-sort things. I feel most creative and productive when I spent time with myself or when I sleep really well. Awareness is my friend. Once I become aware that I am distracted I am in a better position to do something about it. Whenever I get distracted I am taking a moment to analyze the before, during, and after.

I am a writer and always carry a journal or notebook and a pen(s) with me. Whenever I feel most distracted and I have deadlines creeping up, I create lists. I add the things that I want to accomplish by the end of the day. When I cross things off, I feel confident. One thing at a time. When I start something really important I choose to stick with it. It usually means that I have to be super hyper-aware and listen to my strict inner voice thoroughly. I can work best when there is complete silence. I cannot work productively with music playing or any other distraction.

Life is not easy but I don’t fear trying new things. The saddest summary of life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have. Moving on and it feels so good.

Just focus.

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