Give your head a shake your eyes are stuck. The lights are on but nobody’s home. You have just been given a rare, behind the scenes look at Dave’s blog writing process. At least twice a week I stand at my desk (yes, I have given into the new fad of less sitting at work) and stare at the monitor intently. I desperately look for clarity. I hope my blog ideas will be transformed as they move from my cluttered brain through my fingers to the keyboard and magically appear on the screen no longer infused with all the other unrelated thoughts rattling around up there.
Streamlined and simplified, intelligent and entertaining, on topic and… squirrel!
Oops, one of those unrelated thoughts slipped through my fingers to the keyboard and onto my blog.
Okay, where was I? Oh yah, something about unrelated thoughts streamlined and simplified, intelligent and… bird!
Oh good, the bird is gone, time to refocus. I’ll stare at the monitor and get back on track. What was I doing? Oh yah, reading my emails and checking Facebook, but there was something else I was supposed to…cat!
I’ve shut the curtains and closed the apps on my computer, now it’s time to… what’s for dinner?
My guess is, you are convinced that I grapple with ADHD. Not sure where you got that idea from but now that you’ve mentioned it, I am pretty sure I also have GPS, ASAP, TBA, BSc, MVP, DMV, HD, HDMI, RGB, XLR… and much, much more. That reminds me I need to call my doctor about my escalating PMS symptoms. Lack of focus, cluttered thoughts, inability to maintain train of thought, I must have Paralyzed Mental Stability syndrome (PMS). What did you think I was talking about?
In a world where there is so much going on, it is tough to stay focussed.
There are those who have a medical reason that they cannot stay focussed. There are others going through exceptionally difficult times in their lives causing their thoughts to lack stability. There are times when each one of us have found the barrage of stimuli around us makes it difficult to complete a thought. Medical or situational may explain the “why” but it never answers the “now what.”
My mother never had me tested.
With a doctor assessing my focus or lack thereof, it is possible I would find out that I have a medical “why” but that still doesn’t mean I have a “now what.” Factor in my gender and my personality and there is a good chance that it is not medical. Maybe I am just the type of guy who is all over the place because I love life and want to lap up every minute of it. That is possibly the “why” but that still doesn’t answer the “now what.”
My job requires focus, my relationships require focus, the growth of my faith requires focus; medical, situational or just being me, I need to know what I need to do to become better focussed.
I have had to make a few changes because of my PMS (Paralyzed Mental Stability syndrome).
Avoid unattainable goals. It is better to start with something you know you can achieve and then increase the amount from there until you hit the limit. I had to do this with my daily Bible reading. Read through the Bible in one year, most likely not. Besides, I would rather grow from God’s word instead of just reading it to get it done. I now read (daily devotion time not pastoral preparation) Monday – Friday a maximum of two chapters a day and make up for any missed time reading on Saturday. Any more reading and I zone out.
Pay attention to the things that clutter your mind. It’s better to address the things that are causing your thoughts to wander than to try to complete another task while your mind is constantly focussed on fighting the urge to wander. I start most days with a cup of coffee and a browse through my Facebook, Twitter and email accounts followed by a look at my bookmarked news sites and then I read my Bible. It isn’t that they are more important than my Bible but instead my Bible is more important than them. I want my mind clear of anything that may compete for my attention.
Stop scheduling things that can’t be scheduled. It’s better to avoid assigning a time or place to something that should be an ongoing task. I try to pray one scheduled prayer as I start my day but it feels like a task to be completed not a privilege to be enjoyed. For me, praying continually rather than scheduled time is much better. I present my petitions based on what I observe and things that come to mind. There is more peace when I talk to God as I go through my day rather than trying to remain focussed long enough to remember what happened between the time I last prayed and now so I cover everything.
How can you tell if you have Paralyzed Mental Stability syndrome (PMS).
I can make that diagnosis without looking at you. You do not have it, because I made it up! Still, we all have issues with focus and the thing that suffers the most is our relationship with God. Instead of trying to make it a task to be completed, make it a part of you that never suffers from a lack of focus.
Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. Psalm1:1a,2-3 (NIV)