A Personal Account on Finding Your Daily Way Back To Concentration & Writing.
There’s always something for a writer to write. Painters paint, children cry, writers write. In my personal journey being a writer, sometimes I find myself with a desire to write but lacking the attention to transfer that desire into a message.
Any time of the day can be a good time to write, the more information you take in during the day, the lower the possibility of being productive that day. It’s worse when I watch any visual information, like a movie.
To shift gear from consumer of information to producing information, there are certain habits I know to partake in to slightly boost my low concentration.
My low concentration steam from staring at a screen for extended periods. You get caught in a spiral where you dig and dig for information, hours go by and your head start to ache.
I was caught in that spiral yesterday. I spent at least two hours shopping for clothes online, then about an hour researching Japanese beds, then about thirty minutes on Yahoo then another thirty minutes researching a travel credit card, and a few other chunks of time spent online, doing things I don’t remember eighteen hours later.
The first tell sign that I am stuck in the go-around is my hand on my face. Which is the body’s language of trying to cover the eyes from intake of information. The different forms of hand on face: hand rubbing forehead, hand holding chin, hand covering eye, hand on jaw. Fingers on your head while the middle end of your palm rests on your nose, which is a body sign to limit sight to both eyes.
When my hand start rubbing or resting on my face and I mildly strain to breath and my head start to ache, you would think a normal person would recognize these tell signs as quitting time, well yeah, check me out in another three hours still stuck in front of a screen. This is mainly because as overachievers we tend to continue through strive with only the end goal in mind. Some of us have self-learned to ignore signs to quit, ignore telling signs of fatigue, instead we keep digging. Thanks to body language, we know when to stop but do not know how to stop.
Yesterday, I wanted to stop the go-around, and find rest so my head don’t ache or instead use that time to write. However, from previous experiences of being at this state, I knew with so much intake of information, writing that day, was less than likely.
There was a low possibility of writing because I would have had to strain from one mental end state to another end state, skipping the middle state, with a very depleted concentration.
There are three different mental states. You are in at least one at any given time of the day, the goal is to spend time in all three by the end of the day.
Intake mental state, this is when you take in information. Your reasoning is put on hold, your body focuses on breathing as your mind focuses on grabbing as much information as possible.
Zero mental state, this is when you and your environment is silent. This can be referred to as meditation or something else.
One mental state, this is when you have something to add, you produce information.
You have a higher chance of brain productivity should you progress to state zero before you transition to either ends.
Three Steps To Return To Concentration.
When you find yourself in a state of restlessness from overuse of the internet or abuse of your time from binge watching, should you desire to transition from sinking sand of screens into brain productivity:
First, stop what you’re doing. Disengage from the source of information.
Yesterday, I was stuck in the intake stage. I consumed and kept consuming information, with little time to process the information. The above three cycle was not flowing and my brain was being over-packed. So, first step is to stop.
After you stop the in take by shutting off your screen, separate your self from the source. And, stand up.
There’s a strength we receive when both feet are planted on the ground, standing. I learned this in a boxing class a year ago. The coach likened it to connecting a plug into an electric socket to power your device.
Stand up straight, plant both feet on the ground, be one with yourself. You can move around, you can stretch, give your body free passage for blood flow. My personal go-to is to take a walk, change scenery.
After disengaging the source of diminishing concentration, I have to “clean the slate”. This step can be thought of as a means of refreshing the mind. Removing the cluttered information on the playing field, so new information can spring out of you onto the playing field of the mind. To achieve this, you can take a long bath or take a nap.
I find it easier to take a long bath in this circumstance than a nap because for many of us, taking a nap is not on-demand, we don’t just fall asleep at the drop of a hat. When both options are unlikely, the next best thing is to sit in silence (in a dark room, if that’s an option). Go to the bathroom and just stay there. Go to the stairs and just stand there. You want to achieve silence — so your ear don’t take information the brain now has to process.
You want to achieve low lighting so your eyes don’t take in information — this can be achieved by turning off the light or keeping your eyelids closed for a few minutes (while staying awake).
Another tip is to rinse your face, focusing more on your forehead and the back of your head.
Now you are as close to zero as you can be — the only time you’re absolutely at state zero is when you wake up in the morning (in a dark room, before turning on the light and before you check your phone). The light from the phone screen absolutely knocks me out of zero state into intake, even when I stare at the screen less than three seconds. To assist my concentration I often have the night shift activated to dim the screen.
From the minute most of us wake up, till when we return to bed, we spend most days in the in take state. Always consuming, barely resting, not producing.
In order for me to produce any meaningful work I have to find my way back to zero before attempting to write. The times I went from intake straight to producing I worsened my head ache, spent hours in roundabout writing, where you write, read, delete taking three times as long to write a sensible sentence.
After practicing the above three and reaching close to state zero, you can gradually progress to engaging your inspiring self. Gradually pulling out whatever words of inspiration and challenging concept your inspiring self has prepared for you, for that moment.
These few first steps will assist you relax your mental muscles from the
over spin of information intake. Spend at least thirty minutes doing the three steps. This can be of benefit to you in regaining concentration as it is to me.
Depending on how depleted your concentration has been, you might reach this stage the same day, but for me, my concentration was so depleted yesterday, I’m just finally able to pull out the inspiration and discipline to note this down.
The important step is to watch your consuming habit, when you find yourself overly stagnant in one state, refer to the above three steps to transition between states.
Taking a break gives your mind additional time to process the information without piling on new information. However, should you take a break, knowing how to take a break can improve your mind strength.
In the past, I’d take a break from television but go engage in tedious argument about subjects I don’t care about, well that does count as taking a (physical) break but to improve concentration and trace your steps back to inspiration and writing, you have to take brief mental breaks. Recognize what mental state you’re in and progress to the producing mental state without ignoring state zero.
The final step is to write. Hold nothing (useful) back, pour it out from a place of compassion, write knowing your future self will read these and thank you for them.
There’s more in you to write than the total amount of work you’ve written.
So technically, writer’s block is not an end of words but a sign of an un-rested, unchallenged mind.
Babies walk, writers write, new habits get formed. In everyday is a message for you to give, the future inspiration of a reader depends on it.