The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will
~ William James
Welcome to the 54th edition of the MayWeather Newsletter series, a weekly newsletter where I share my thoughts and new ideas on things that I learn on personal productivity; somewhere between due diligence, good thinking and note-taking.
Have you ever wondered where your thoughts wander when you are not thinking of anything in particular?
Let me take a wild guess, <<First Name>>!
Has it ever occurred to you that most times, your thoughts are fixated on random bits of your sense of self?
A closer look will make you realise how much wandering thoughts weave together your sense of self. Somehow, wandering thoughts fit random bits of your life into a cohesive narrative. It reflects the activities that play in the background when you slip into your default mode: a restless mind lost in a meandering stream of thought that has little or next – to – nothing to do with the present situation and everything to do with you.
Wandering thoughts such as
While the mind sometimes wanders to pleasant thoughts, fantasies or aspiration, it more often seems to gravitate towards rumination and worry.
- the number of things you have to do and how you’ve wasted time;
- the money problems and the alternative you could have embraced;
- the poor performing representative you canvassed and voted for and how things could have been better if you didn’t;
- the things that turned out badly and how you could have handled it;
- the wrong thing you said to your friend and what you should have said.
Safe to say that you tend to do lesser than you bargain for because you distract yourself with you.
How so? The more your mind wanders, the less you can register of what’s going on in the present.
Take a look at the effort demanded from you by your routine—the notifications from slack channels, emails, phone calls, tweets, blogs, chats, reflections about opinions that you expose your cognitive processors to daily.
That notification buzz adds tension to the demand of getting things done. Interestingly, one or two clicks opens you up to an endless wandering.
Doing much more requires choosing your focus. One sharp focus requires helping your mind fight off the pull of everything else and inhibiting a multitude of enticing stuff.
Weekly Thread of Wisdom
Whenever you notice your mind is in its wandering orbit, the only thing you should do is bring it back to your point of focus.
While we almost never notice when we are onboarding, as soon as you come to know, all you need do, is come off it.
It’s a good day to take the cognitive step and sort out what is important from what is irrelevant. I hope this helps.
Until next Friday,