Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Perpetual Problem of How to Shift Gears: 9 Steps I Followed to Gain Mental Focus Today

I'm currently working all weekend on a project for my company. Do I love my work? Absolutely! But do I want to be doing this on a weekend? No! Especially when my mind is on fire with bipolar brilliance in several other areas? Heck no!

But, it pays the bills and it has to be done.

Shifting gears from my present hypomanic creative and spiritual energy to something as mundane as even my interesting work is tough. Shifting gears tends to be a challenge for many bipolar folks, which is why I hope you will find this post helpful.

So, I asked myself: What can I do to make sure I meet my work deadline?

First, I did allow myself a few hours to write emails, poetry, and talk on the phone. I thought this would relieve a little of the pressing pressure of hypomania, and it did to some extent, but of course it also cemented my focus on these things rather than my work!

When I talked to my mom, she (validly) expressed concern for the past 3 days of hypomania.

So, I thought: OK, how do I put the breaks on and focus on 1) my mental health and 2) my absolutely must get done work?

Here's what I did:

  1. Allowed myself "one more fun thing" but limited it to 10 minutes
  2. Committed to getting the work done and promised I would swim tonight (which always helps center me). 
  3. Ate some protein (which seems to help bring me down a little),
  4. Did a 7 minute "work break" meditation (on Android's "Take a Break" meditation app - if you are on Windows or iOS, there must be something similar. I encourage you to find it or something similar that works for you!).
  5. Recognized my space was untidy and that was not promoting my productivity. Took 3 minutes to briefly straighten things and position myself to get down to business. (Cleaning seems to center me and an uncluttered space is optimal for my performance.) 
  6. Determined which music to play as I worked. I opted for Musique du monde: Argentine - FlĂ»tes Et Guitares by Guillermo de la Roca. (It's not manic, but it is a little upbeat and got me in a good flow. It's instrumental and beautiful. I know the album so it is easier to flow with it. )
  7. Put away my phone and closed my browser with personal stuff to minimize distraction. 
  8. Put in half an hour of solid work and accomplished a large portion of what I needed to.
  9. Took a 10 minute break to come write this to help anyone else who may need it and so I would remember it in the future!
I hope this process may be helpful for you. I know I will be using it in the future as it really seemed to help.  

For you, you might want to think about what helps you be productive, then create a list of what you will do to focus. Even writing the list helps to initiate a shift in your energy as it is always powerful to write out our goals. Think about obstacles to your performance (phone, Facebook, emails) and allow yourself to set them aside. If you are flooded with hypomanic brilliance, allow yourself to set that aside, too, and have faith that it will still be there in a more clear and centered way when you are able to indulge in it.  Think about what will enable your success (meditation break, cleaning, eating a snack, the right music, etc.) and prepare those things. Then, execute with dedication!

It only took  25 minutes for me to prepare to work and it saved me a lot of scattered, empty time to prepare to focus and achieve what I need to do. Taking the time to regroup when you are scattered, but need to shift gears is worth every second of that time. You might not knock out your goals without it. 

Thank you and remember that *your* success is important to me!

No comments:

Post a Comment