Do you ever feel like you’re just barely making it through your life? Like the whole thing is one big blur of “If I could just finish this one thing, then…”?
Confession: Five recent years of my life felt exactly like this.
I was in Survival Mode… all of my actions chosen and carried out to keep afloat of the sometimes crazy priorities and goals I’d set for myself. And once I figured it out, I still had to figure out how to get OUT. And that, my friend, was not easy.
But I’m sharing it with you here today. Read on to find out how I got out of Survival Mode and into PASSION Mode.
Give Yourself a Weekend
In my last post, I talked about what a HUGE difference taking weekends away from my business did for me, mentally, emotionally, and passion-ly
— You don’t have to be a shut-in to be successful (finding balance)
Plan to Do One Thing Per Day
If there’s one thing that will screw you up hardcore and keep you from getting anything done, it’s multitasking.
Multitasking is the Devil.
You need to stop that shit right now. It’s not a bragging point. It’s not something you should put on your résumé. It. Is. Not. Good.
But what counts as multitasking?
- Taking a “break” while working to check social media
- Leaving your inbox open in the browser and noticing when a new email pops up
- Allowing notification banners on your desktop to pop while you’re working
- Listening to music you find yourself jamming out to
- Popping back and forth among a dozen browser tabs
Surprised by a couple of those?
Focus is paramount to getting good work done. And I’m not just talking about work in the boring “get it done” sense. I’m talking about it in the “This is how your passion comes through” sense.
When you focus, you are more creative. You are more engaged. That shows.
It can be the difference between following along to Bob Ross again and painting the surrealist landscape that will land you in the Louvre.
Train Your Brain to Focus
When you’re ADD/ADHD or just someone who’s grown up/lived around the Internet for a while, focus can be really hard. Fortunately, your brain CAN be trained.
You have to make a conscious effort to make the change. This means:
- Setting yourself up for success — eliminating any potential distractions when you work, like your cell phone next to you; your inbox open; being logged into your social media accounts; etc.
- Developing awareness for distractions — we all get distracted all the time, but when you’re training your brain to focus, you’ll need to be extra vigilant; when you notice that you’ve become distracted, you should acknowledge it and tell yourself you are choosing to go back to work on your project.
- Start by trying to focus on just one big task per day — you’ll get better at this and be able to do 2-3 different tasks in a day eventually, but for now, work on it by focusing REALLY WELL on just one a day.
- Repeating this until it’s natural — all habits take time to build, even habits of the brain; give yourself a month to 6 weeks to feel like “a natural” at focus.
Further Reading: Train Your Brain to Focus via Harvard Business Review
Know Your Passion
Now you didn’t expect to get back into Passion Mode without really, truly, honestly knowing your passion, did you? 🤔
You probably have a good idea of what excites you, what you look forward to doing, what you think about constantly. This is a great start! But let’s dig a little deeper. Think about these questions:
- What do you wake up looking forward to doing?
- Where does your mind go in boring meetings? (stop multitasking, though!)
- If you had to do the same thing every day, what would you not get tired of?
- What’s your Magnum Opus?
Be confident in your passion because if you aren’t—if you pick something just to pick something, or if you jump in head first without clarifying your real desires, wants, and needs—you’ll never really succeed. It will always be a little bit of a chore… Until it becomes a lot a huge chore.
All priorities are not created equal.
All passions are not created equal.
Be sure you really know yours.
How can you really know your passion?
An exercise that has really helped me define and refine my own passions has been to meditate on them every day for just a few minutes until I could call up every aspect of it immediately, even when I was doing other things.
It’s amazing the 180 you can do when you think about something for just 180 seconds.
That’s 3 minutes of your day. Can you dedicate that much to your passion?
It’s an amazing exercise for brainstorming and working through tough problems. When I was drafting my first novel, this process—just thinking about different scenarios for the novel for a few minutes each day—helped me outline all the scenes in one week. After that, all I had to do was write it.
It also helped a lot when I was working through tough plot points that popped up when characters decided to detour from outline I wrote, or when I realized that I’d missed something, or that a new subplot really needed to be included.
I still use this process every day, and my best ideas come from it.
It requires focus and dedication. Two things you’ll need to go from Survival Mode to Passion Mode.
Will you start living instead of just existing?