Last week, for the first time ever, I left my iPhone at a friend’s house. No, I didn’t panic. I have an iPad, and I can make phone calls from my iMac. Yeah, I’m an Apple guy. So I ended up not having the phone for about twenty-four hours, and I noticed something extraordinary.
I felt a spaciousness and a peace of mind I hadn’t felt in months. What happened? I turned off nearly all my phone notifications a long time ago, so that wasn’t it. But all those little moments, where I’d check the weather, or the news, or ask Siri how many gallons were in a bushel—moments where I’d interrupt myself—were gone.
I was suddenly face-to-face with how I had let my own mind distract me. I’d surely be taking some steps to change that as soon as I got my phone back.
I’ve been a student and teacher of time, task, and focus management for over a decade, and I’m still amazed at how there’s no such thing as attainment in this work: there is only practice, and it never ends.
In the Clear and Open Dojo Ranking System, the beginner ranks are mostly concerned with self-organization, time and task management. There’s a very simple reason why.
Overwhelm makes us stupid, tired, and unconscious. It’s an observable fact. Eliminating overwhelm is the lowest hanging fruit I’ve found to help people. Period.
Notice how throughout history, great achievements in math, science, philosophy, technology, art, etc. happen in cultures during times of peace and prosperity. Think of the Golden Age in Greece, or the European Renaissance. Now consider yourself as a culture. What great things would you be able to produce if your inner life were clear and open?
You’ve been conditioned to believe that a life of squeezing things in, multi-tasking, and over-commitment will bring you fulfillment. How’s that working for you so far? (Click to Tweet)
Maybe just a little longer? Okay, be my guest. Maybe that fulfillment you’re looking for is right around the next overwhelmed corner. But what if it’s not?
I can tell you from my personal experience and helping hundreds of people eliminate distractions and learn to self-manage: if you’re overwhelmed, stretched-too-thin, and overcommitted, you are, for all intents and purposes, operating without sufficient oxygen to the brain.
Whatever it is that’s driving you: fear of missing out, inability to say “No,” or an attention span damaged by years of MTV, it will not deliver you to your dreams. Your dreams need all of your attention and energy, not a divided and distracted fraction of it. Some people are so overwhelmed they don’t even have dreams. This situation speaks for itself.
Are you ready to change this? My upcoming live course, The Art of Self-Management, can help. What your life looks like in a year or two depends on the decisions you make today. The course begins on September 6th. Don’t wait any longer to get out of overwhelm.