June 2018

This sign is on my commute to the gym. I’m not sure what business put it out there, but I agree with the sentiment.
The theme that continued to come up this past month was the need to focus.  We live in a world of multiple distractions.  (I write that with full awareness that if you’re reading this blog, it’s a distraction.)  It’s very easy to get side tracked from goals or creative output because of getting sucked into the rabbit hole of social media, mobile games, or whatever else is out there.  For me, it seems if I successfully cut out one distraction, another one pops up.

I’ve been reading Mindfulness this month, and it’s made me more aware of how easy it is to shut off active thinking and just mindlessly react to certain stimuli.   The book stresses the importance of process over outcome, meaning a sound process will dictate a good outcome, even if that outcome isn’t the one we immediately expect.  This has made me reflect on my processes for trying to focus.  What process can I implement to eliminate distractions?  How can I improve my process for focus and creation?  Related to this, I’ve been contemplating this quote from JotForm founder Aytekin Tank’s article There’s No Such Thing As Motivation related to this:
If you create reliable systems and continue to improve these systems (instead of your willpower), you don’t even have to think about motivation.

I’ve realized that my input directly feeds my output.  If I have a system to take in articles, books, videos, and podcasts that generate ideas, this sparks positive ideas and creation.  Therefore, a successful process will make sure that I take in material for this purpose.  Hence, the need to implement a process for blocking out at least 1 hour per day for non-fiction reading, dispite the distractions around me.

Articles for the month
These articles have impacted how I’ve been reading Mindfulness by making an effort to practice marginalia and record the principles in the book to build a learning framework.
How to Read a Book from Farnam Street.   This helped me understand that reading needs to involve active thinking and mental discussion with the author.
Become A Productive Learner from Harvard Business Review.  This helped me see the need to create frameworks for the things I’m learning and build over time.