A tool that keeps me focused

Do you sometimes share things with others that you have not given any thought as to how your words could be turned around into something that your friends will give you a hard time about? As soon as the words exit out mouth your friends crack up and instantly give you a fun ribbing. You try your best to explain the serious side of your thoughts but there’s no hope as the context and energy of the moment has shifted. 

This happened to me recently. I was away with friends and I shared that I had a weekly meeting with myself every Monday morning. Well this set my friends off, they compared this to Murray from the TV show Flight of the Concords; “Ok, who’s at this meeting? Bevan, check. Great, well let’s start the meeting”. I could see the humour and I knew there was no point in me trying to expand on what I was trying to share with them, I was better off joining in on the joke. Since I couldn’t share with them the value of this, I thought I would give it a go with you. We just need to do attendance; “Bevan here? check, great, let’s start”. 

One thing I’ve always tried to explore within myself is how to function at the highest level with the least amount of stress. Ideally I want to be a person who knows how to deliver quality in what I do but I also want a mind that is free from stressful thoughts and can focus on and enjoy the activity that I’m currently doing. These activities could be work, spending time with friends and family, playing my piano, doing exercise, even writing this piece. I love it when my mind is in the place where it can be 100% present on my current activity and not distracted by other areas of my life. 

In continually searching for this place within myself there have been clear tools that have allowed me to take steps which have helped me evolve and learn how to consistently live in this place. The most important tool I have developed are my organisation skills. Over time I have got better and better at creating systems in my life that I’ve learnt to trust as they create higher levels of success. One of the most important organisation tools I use is my weekly meeting. 

Every Monday morning I come home after teaching a class at the gym and after making a cup of tea I sit down in front of my computer. I pull up my calendar, which at this point is almost blank slate, and think about my week. For the next 20 minutes I fill up my calendar with what I want and need to do with my time over the next 7 days. By the end of it I have a visual picture of my week, it’s like looking at a completed jigsaw puzzle. On the calendar there are the ‘must do’  things in my life, like work, but there is also the planned time for my hobbies, time with friends and family, exercise, and so on. 

Over time I’ve learnt that there is a massive amount of value in me doing my weekly meetings, they help me be realistic around what I can achieve with my time. I can visually see that I only have so many hours in my day to fill and I have learnt through experience what I can realistically achieve with an allocated time slot. I’ve also got much better at staying focused on what ever task I’m doing because I know the other important areas of my life will get their own time - they are in the diary with their own time allocated.  Ultimately I’ve learnt that when I have my weekly meeting I have the ability to function at a higher level and it’s not a mental struggle. I’ve learnt this from the week’s when I haven’t done my meeting, those weeks are the ones where I waste too much time, where I feel I’m unfocused, where I feel I’m losing myself.  

If you enjoy exploring ways to perform at higher levels in your life I encourage you to explore having a weekly meeting with yourself. Try not to make it about only one area of your life, make it a true representation of what is important to you. You may find that this becomes a tool that allows you to enjoy the present a lot more and helps you to perform at a higher level. 

This piece orginally appeared in The Press


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Bevan Eyles