People in the entertainment business navigating their careers are regularly looking for their next job, and seeking the next opportunity leading to the next paycheck. We don’t want to miss deadlines, fellowships, film festivals, Zoom calls, or meetings with people who can change our lives. Inevitably, we spend so much time chasing, searching, and trying that we lose sight of ourselves in the process. Instead of being focused individuals, we become scattered people. Our minds are scattered, our interests are scattered, and we live the lives of people with too many distractions shooting through our brains. But, how do we stop it? How do we get our concentration back? Is there a solution? I use several different tools to help me stay on track. Here’s how to center yourself in a distracted world:
1. Meditate Daily
When I wake up in the morning, I check in with myself using the My Life meditation app. It asks me how I’m feeling physically and emotionally. Based on my responses, it suggests 3 – 9 minute meditations for me. I close my eyes, lay in my bed, and listen to whatever it says. 95% of the time I feel better after completing the meditations.
I noticed by listening to these meditations, my head becomes free of a million random, distracting thoughts. After I meditate I’m no longer thinking about the jeans that are tighter since the pandemic, or the bad email I wrote when I was in a rush. Meditating gives me the chance to be in the moment.
2. Avoid Phone Games
I have one game on my phone. I don’t want to mention the name of it because it’s so addictive and I don’t want to contribute to anyone’s delinquency. However, at the end of the day, this game is a great wind down for me. It’s fun and I get to pretend I have pets. But, I’ve noticed if I start my morning playing this game—even for 10 minutes—my brain acts as if it can’t concentrate. It’s almost as if the game scrambles my mind somehow. Bizarre.
If I start my day playing this game, I can’t focus on my to-do list, what I’m supposed to be writing or who I should be reaching out to for the day. I know this probably sounds extreme. However, if you have games on your phone, try this experiment. Only use your phone in the evening and make a note if your productivity increases. If it doesn’t, you haven’t lost anything. If your productivity goes up, send me some money via CashApp. LOL.
3. Avoid Facebook first thing in the morning
Scrolling through all of your friend’s feeds will derail any concentration you have. Your mind can go into overdrive trying to process whose kid you need to tell, “Happy Birthday,” what crisis this pandemic still has on our lives, learning someone passed away, and finding out the latest celebrity scandal … It’s too much. This advice can be applied to Instagram, Twitter, and most forms of social media that overload you with lots of information at one time.
4. Listen to calming music
Throughout the day you can find me listening to “The 100 Most Essential Pieces of Classical Music” via iTunes or “3 Hour Yoga Music” on the Relaxing New Age Music Channel on Youtube. Something about this kind of music calms me down. Now, when I’m driving to Walmart, I am not listening to this music unless my day has already been rough. I certainly know how to get crunk. But, when I need to stay focused and less distracted, classical music and yoga music calms me somewhat instantly.
5. Stretch aka Yoga
I keep a yoga mat on a rug in my living room. I do this to remind myself to stretch. It works if I take the time to do it. One of my favorite stretches aka yoga moves is the mountain pose. It involves you standing with your feet spread shoulder-width apart and inhaling while raising your arms and then exhaling while you lower your arms. This makes me feel so good. I don’t know why but it works. It clears my head. I also enjoy touching my toes and doing the child pose which involves being on my knees and stretching both arms forward. There is something about these movements which center me. Again, I’m no yogi, but I know what works.
6. Cut Off The Television / Streaming Service
I love my streaming services—except for when it’s time to pay the monthly bill. No, seriously. I love binge-watching shows. But, I’ve noticed that if I watch two-four episodes and then start to walk around, I’m sorta aimless. I’m sorta out of my mind. Like, where did I put my keys? Uh. What am I suppose to be doing today? So, if I’m going to binge-watch, I relegate it to the end of the day. Otherwise, it throws me off balance.
7. Write Free Streaming Thoughts In A Journal
I journal every day. It’s not some highly evolved writing either. It’s stuff like, “I can’t think of anything to write. I can’t think of anything to write.” But, also, “I need to pay my credit card bill.” The thoughts in my journal are the most random ever, but those thoughts get in my way until I set them free on the page or the keyboard. I keep an electronic journal on Scrivener. Journaling is one of the best ways to get distracting thoughts out of your head and out of your way. Thus, helping you become centered.
Overall, I’ve learned that centering myself is about reducing distractions. The fewer distractions I have, the more work I can accomplish, and the better I feel. Distractions act as little strings pulling us in different directions. The key to centering myself has been learning how to cut the strings.