Distractions – When did it get so hard to focus?

Distractions – When did it get so hard to focus?

What is it that makes concentrating so hard?

I’m writing this in one tab, while updating a database in another. I have a presentation open on a revision topic I’m preparing. I am listening to music, and also have my work and personal email open. How am I expecting myself to successfully use my time here? When did it get so hard to focus?

I’ve been thinking about solitude and silence recently. I’ve been practicing taking time on my morning commute to take a break from the whirlwind of news and drama, the furious beat of the music of everyday and just have space.

It’s worked. For a while. Now though, I find myself slipping back into the habit of not concentrating. Of finding myself at my destination with no idea how I got there. (Scary I know.) It’s like a metaphor for life. You suddenly arrive at your deathbed, your time to leave this world, and you have no recollection how you got there. That scares the heck out of me. The fact I could easily sleepwalk myself into retirement in 20 years and then shuffle off to an early grave is terrifying.

What can I do?

Make time for what matters. Will student remember me as the “best” teacher. Probably not, we’ve all made mistakes and struggled with classes (some of us still do). Do I want students to remember me? Not particularly, more just for the fact that I tried to help them learn. Something I found so hard in my school life. I don’t want to be the cool teacher, the funny teacher, the outstanding teacher. I remember struggling at school. Struggling to fit in and struggling to learn. I was so much harder on myself then anyone was on me. Why couldn’t I understand? Why did I find it so hard?

I found my interview preparation for a job as HOD today. That version of me was so positive and so focused. Now I feel so jaded. Maybe it’s 13 years teaching? Maybe it’s the fact we are in a pandemic crisis in education with assessment? Maybe I’m just plain tired.

Trying to be a master of all trades. Excellent teacher, good father and husband, healthy role model, showing I am a disciplined individual. In reality, not really meritorious at any role specifically. This isn’t a pity post, I am not after sympathy. I’m after clarity. I’m after space and distance. I’m after perspective.

How do you get perspective?

you go out, you go higher, you make distance between where you are and what you are observing. What if what you are observing are your own thoughts and feelings? How do you get perspective on those? You go in. You sit, in silence. You see your thoughts. You acknowledge them. You release them. The feelings, which are just thoughts can leave. Drift away on a breeze. Keep the core. Keep the essential.

“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own” – Bruce Lee

Photo by Steve Halama on Unsplash

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