Note: This is a guest post from David Turnbull of Adventures of a Barefoot Geek
I live in the future. No, this isn’t a McFly-moment, it’s a always-have-my-thoughts-in-the-future moment. And it’s a problem.
Living with your mind focused on the future causes you to miss out on the now and our lives are made out of moments of now, not of moments of the future. By living in the future you don’t actually live at all.
Of course, it’d be nice to live so I’m trying to enjoy the journey – the present. Here are some ways to do that:
Pure focus is bliss. When your thoughts, actions and emotions are all directed towards a single function you are focusing and you are in the present. You should get lost in your work. Set a deadline for yourself to finish a task and see your level of focus skyrocket.
Right now I’m using e.ggtimer.com and have it set for 20 minutes to finish this article (which I’ve pre-outlined). Perhaps the deadline is too tight, but that’s great, because it’s a challenge that doesn’t allow for procrastinations or over thinking. Set a task and do it.
Go with the flow.
Two of my friends and I meet up every now and then to talk about business, ideas, and just random stuff really. It’s fairly flexible and unprofessional, but we still label it as a mastermind.
Although the very concept of a mastermind is focused on getting results in the future I feel there’s also a sense of living in the moment, because we all just sit around a table or outside on the grass and talk. There’s no fancy technology, very little note taking and it’s just pure discussion. And perhaps most importantly: it’s fun.
When we mastermind time flies. Just a couple of days ago we spent 6+ hours just talking about stuff and it was the most enjoyable 6 hours I’ve had in a while.
Find like-minded individuals and bump your heads together (figuratively – don’t get all Pachycephalosaurus on me).
3. Take it slow
Being in a rush doesn’t give you a chance to appreciate the present. I understand the various apparent urgencies you may feel in your life. For some time I was rushing to earn an income online and although a degree of hustle is required for any form of achievement, I find taking things slower and simply being patient more rewarding.
I’ve accepted that my writing career isn’t going to explode overnight and that any side businesses I build aren’t going to be insanely popular at launch. And with that comes a sense of calm. Yes, it may take years to reach goals I’ve set, but years I have, moments I need.
Slow down the speed of life. Urgency is rarely urgency.
4. Find balance
Or “The Middle Way” as it’s known in Buddhism. Anything in excess is dangerous. Practice the art of work-life separation and strive to do everything in moderation.
When you introduce balance into your life you become mindful of what you’re doing, giving you a chance to acknowledge moments for what they are: precious gifts of chronology. Don’t let anything consume your life.
Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Balance your life.
5. Be certain
Where are you going? Understand what you want the future to hold and set a plan to accommodate for that. This gives you perhaps the most powerful tool in achievement: certainty.
If you believe in something, are passionate about it and can visualise the end result so clearly that you can taste it, you feel certain that it’s inevitable. You’re no longer wondering if, but when. And this is powerful.
With this certainty you can stop stressing over what may or may not happen in the future because there’s simply no wondering – you’re going to achieve it and that’s final. Achievement simply becomes a matter of doing X to achieve Y.
This may seem like a cold way to approach life, but when the outcome Y is understood, each moment X can be fully appreciated as they aren’t bombarded by self doubt or uncertainty. You can live in the present because your future becomes a predetermined (but still open to spontaneity) mass of wonderment.
Set a direction for your life and enjoy the ride.
Productiveness isn’t always beneficial. It’s great to get stuff done, but at times it’s even better to sit back and lose yourself in something that has no tangible result, something that is simply fun.
Personally I love getting fish and chips with a friend and just watching the world go by, or playing some co-op video games if I’m in the mood for fighting hordes of aliens. You don’t need to dominate your life with getting things done.
Embrace unproductivity. Do things “just because”.
Photo by lepiaf.geo