Mindfulness

How to Focus: An Unexpected Approach to Productivity

January 29, 2020

Do you set a word for the year? I started doing this practice in 2019 and it’s been a fun way to move through the days with intention. Last year, my word was “Creativity.” I actually forgot that this was my word for most of the year, but reflecting on 2019 shows how the word […]

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“Focus,” Illustration by Liz Brindley, 2020

Do you set a word for the year?

I started doing this practice in 2019 and it’s been a fun way to move through the days with intention.

Last year, my word was “Creativity.” I actually forgot that this was my word for most of the year, but reflecting on 2019 shows how the word influenced my days: I created artwork more consistently than I think I ever have with #the100daysproject which flowed into crafting my first surface pattern design collection.

For 2020, the word that kept coming to me was “Focus.”

I was hesitant to adopt this as my word because it brings feelings of rigidness and intensity when I want to be wild and living in flow.

But “Focus” kept showing up, so I stayed open and accepted it.

It was only about 3 days into January 2020 that I started to see how “Focus” was not only about focusing on my dreams for Prints & Plants, but was also a reminder to be fully present for each moment, each breath, each day.

Focus is honoring one thing at a time. Not doing 3 things at once, not trying to do it all. Instead, it is:

-fully watching a sunset

-fully being on the phone with a loved one

-fully smelling and tasting food

Perhaps “Focus” is a word that I resisted not only because of its intensity, but more so because the depth of feeling that comes from being fully present is so grand, so powerful, that it is unfamiliar and overwhelming.

It is in this space of true focus where we fall deeply into the beauty of this world which, when experienced in its entirety, can make us shed tears of grateful disbelief that we get to be here.

So, yes, focus is about pursuing the dreams I have for my life and business and art without distraction. But more importantly, focus is about being fully present to each moment:

-To allow the part of myself that gets closed off for safe keeping to open up to the world.

-To feel and receive the wonders of this life.

-To remember what it is to be fully alive and imperfect and human and fleshy and messy and present.

This type of focus gives me permission to stop bracing for the “what-ifs” and dive into the glorious magic of right now.

This type of focus is a remembering of what I’ve always known. It’s a flowing current that connects life.

It’s a choice to jump back into the river and, rather than swim upstream, to let go.

How do you choose to focus today?

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I know that creativity can feel like an elusive skill that only certain people are born with. But I believe that we each have an intrinsic creative power that needs to be expressed in the world.

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