1 - The Purpose of Social Media
I know, I know.
I said you can’t blame your lack of focus entirely on social media, but you can blame it for some of it.
Social media is a brain killer. It thrives on uncertainty. Your uncertainty.
People go to social media–and go back to social media–because they never know what they’re going to get. And that’s the central part of its allure.
Your brain loves novelty. It wants to consume new and exciting information. It feels that, if it’s not checking into the vast, ever-changing world of the Internet, it might miss something valuable.
We evolved to perk up when we get new, unusual information.
That worked great when our ancestors were roaming around hunting for food, but it doesn’t provide much benefit these days.
Too much Twitter, or Facebook, or Instagram—and your focus begins to deteriorate.
It convinces you that you need to be everywhere at once, which leads me to my next point.
2 - You’re Trying to Do Too Much
If you’re anything like me, you’ve kept to-do lists. And that’s fine. They work for a lot of people.
But how much do you actually cross off your to-do list on a daily basis? Is it half of it? A quarter? Or are you one of the lucky ones who get everything done, every day?
The do-list can be a powerful weapon, but only if it’s used correctly. And only if you’re selecting the right things in the first place.
Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things. - Peter Drucker
So take a look at your to-do list–or however you keep track of what you want to do.
There’s a really good chance that you’re trying to do too much, that your focus is being pulled in many directions.
It’s much better to focus your entire being on one task and THEN move to the next one.
Something that has helped me significantly is to set a 25-minute timer when I need to focus. If I’m at work, I use this tomato timer website
to get my brain in gear.
It’s a subtle reminder that I can focus for set periods of time AND that there is an end in sight.
Don’t get lost in rabbit holes. The Internet is full of them.
3 - You Think You Need to Do Something, Period
This reason might seem strange to you.
It’s good to do stuff, right? I should want to get things done, right?
Yes, but remember as I said above, you want to get the right things done.
And sometimes doing the right thing means doing nothing.
What’s that, you say?
Action bias is a natural tendency to take action to resolve an issue, even if taking action would actually make things worse. It’s our natural state to want to be fixers.
We’re not good at immediately sizing up a complex system and realizing when it’s NOT appropriate to take action.
So we default to taking action.
But how often have you intervened in a relationship when it would have been better to just let an issue go?
How often have you offered to contribute at work, and all it did was lead to having too many cooks in the kitchen?
Ego is a powerful force, and I’m just as guilty of wanting to rush in to save the day.
But it’s not always necessary.
And it can seriously hamper your ability to focus.
If you think you always have to be the savior, if you think only your action will make the situation better, you start to see every situation that way.
You become the proverbial hammer that sees everything as a nail.
Instead, what if you tried pausing before you step into a situation?
I bet it would calm your mind and narrow your focus. It has for me.