Recently, I was watching the modern-day philosopher Sam Harris (no relation).
He has a lot of interesting theories about life, but one thing he said was, "Focus is pleasurable."
At first, I thought, Sam is wrong on this one.
Focus is not pleasurable. When I have to concentrate on doing my taxes, it is not a pleasure. When I have to focus on reading my insurance policies even the small print, I don't enjoy it.
Then I remembered that one of my favorite things to do is binge watch a Netflix show with a friend. I also enjoy playing children's games with my son. I can get so intensely focused that you would think I was getting paid for it. And when I do my taxes, I'm a deductions hawk and really get into it.
It is a pleasure.
Focus IS pleasurable. When we rise to a challenge, focus is pleasurable. When we get into the "zone", focus is exciting and motivating.
The problem is: focus can be fleeting. We are easily distracted especially when excitement and motivation wane.
So how do we take the fact that focus is pleasurable and run with it? We have to practice focus. Get better at making focus stick when we want to be productive. One way to improve focus is by concentrating on the here and now.
Mindfulness is an excellent technique to practice focus and concentrating on the present. If you are beginner, then just focusing on your breath, in and out, is a good start. Sit in a quiet spot, set a timer for 3 minutes, and just breathe normally. Each time your mind wanders, bring it back to the in and out of your breath. Over time increase your time spent and your focus improves.
Click here for Mindfulness exercises for beginners.
The better your focus is, the more intentional you are about what you focus on, and the more you enjoy what focus brings. And the best part is focus brings completion.
Think of the pleasure of focus and use it to get more done.