It’s a common problem. Never ending emails, text messages, social media draws. So many opportunities happening at once. We feel scattered.
Originating in fear, anxiety and a cousin to overwhelm, feeling scattered happens when we have too many inputs to process. We have too many things competing for our attention and focusing on one presents a challenge at the moment.
The problems that arise can start with paralysis. We just don’t act. We can also mentally switch from one thing to another, reducing our ability to focus our energy and bring our best effort to something.
The scattered feeling can even be habitual as we’ve grown accustomed to checking our devices dozens of times an hour. This keeps us from our best work because we’re not able to summon our mental energy or execute as effectively.
When this happens to you, here’s some quick and easy ways to get out of the scattered feelings and back to living your potential.
Why it works: Feeling scattered makes you feel all over the place. Grounding brings you down to earth in a centered way.
How to do it: Plant your feet on the ground. Take a few deep breaths as a way to calm the mind and body. Shift focus to the connection your feet have with the ground. Feel the stability and strength to support you from your feet and move it up your body until you feel rooted to the ground.
What you get: Calmness, peace and a feeling of strength to move forward.
Why it works: Feeling scattered comes from a lack of mental focus. Creating the mind/body connection through the breath always for your mind to focus inward and removes the scatteredness.
How to do it: Breathe all the way in through your nose. Notice all the sensations from the act of breathing. The breath enters into your body, your chest and/or tummy expanding, your lungs filling with air. Breathe all the way out slowly & controlled again, noticing the sensations of the out breath. Do this for a few moments and as your mind wanders, bring it back to the breath. Counting the seconds of inhaling & exhaling can also keep your focus here.
What you get: A calming of the nervous system through the slowing of the breath and the ability to cut through the mental clutter and choose the next best action.
Control Your Environment
Why it works: Your environment has natural distractions that can lead to feeling scattered. Changing where you are or removing elements from your environment promotes your ability to focus.
How to do it: Figure out what in your environment is contributing to your sense of feeling scattered. Hint, it’s likely your phone or some other device. It could also be general clutter. Get your phone out of your reach. Clean your space. If a noisy environment is too distracting, get into a quiet one. Vice versa, more ambient sound is helpful for you to focus.
What you get: A clear mental and energetic path to control where your mind is going, thus ability to think clearly and apply your best work to the most important task.
Why it works: If you don’t know what task is the most important now, it will lead you to confusion and then paralysis of action. Having a clear prior cuts the fog.
How to do it: Making a list is helpful especially if you have competing ideas swirling. Then, note what is the most important activity that is aligned with your greater purpose? What puts you on the path to excelling where you want to grow. Once you do that, then you’ll know what the true priority is.
What you get: Clarity and connection back to what is most important. Confidence becomes a natural byproduct.
Why it works: Builds momentum for sticking with something until it’s done. Trains grit & perseverance
How to do it: Once you prioritize activities, understand what completing the activity looks like right now. As I’m writing this, completion looks like me finishing this post. When you know what a “win” looks like, push to get it done – staying on task until it is.
What you get: Momentum for the next task. Confidence in your ability to finish especially if whatever you were doing required great mental and/or physical energy.
Let Go of Outcomes
Why it works: When you focus on the process and not the outcome it puts you solely in the present moment where you can focus all of your energy in the moment, reducing the urge for mind wander.
How to do it: Create a goal of what you want to accomplish in the short term… the day, the week. Decide on the actions/activities that are required to achieve the goal. Shift all your energy and focus into those activities. Use results in the moment only as feedback to adjust in the next moment. Tap into your natural confidence that best performance in the activity will deliver the results that you want.
What you get: Freedom to apply your mental & physical energy to an important activity. You feel loose, light and nimble such that you shift in the moment to continue your best performance.
All of these are quick, simple and easy. This is the beauty of them. It doesn’t require extensive time & effort. It just requires that you do it to gain control back and get into your top performance.