Life

The Focusing Power of Career Changing Habits and Ritual

How is it possible to focus on one career changing task at a time when all around you are others just begging for their multitasking fix?

I believe it becomes a lot easier when you’ve a working definition of what a successful career change might look and feel like.

For example, once I had crossed the Rubicon of dependent employee status and set up psychological success camp in the business owners arena, a lot of distractions fell by the wayside.

Such as watching TV (the drug of choice for many, aka goggle box in the UK. Now I know why lol), although other family members still enjoy and choose to watch.

Another was surfing the Net’s endless discussion forums and sites of interest. Stumbleupon.com is a real killer for that. Not that an occasional dose (lol !!) of mindless surfing is harmful, but for a business owner it needs to be down at the bottom of things to do. Alas, it can easily become a habit of practice.

Thank goodness for the power of habits.

Activities and behaviours can become so predictable with practice that we don’t give them much thought. For example, I know approximately what time my dog requires walking each day, the likely routes to take, and the other dogs we’ll meet along the way, some of whom we must avoid lest a fight break out.

Time to take my own habit medicine! We’re off to the local Japanese temple (Jinja) for a bit of traditional New Year praying. A welcome interruption and a good opportunity to combine daily habit with annual ritual! More on my return.

Japanese temple jinja New Year’s walk

Back again! A brisk walk on a cold but sunny January day illustrates two points I want to make.

First, there is the habit of routine. Our dog (Kuri’s her name and fun’s her game!) is always walked twice per day, rain or shine. This is as much a habit as any work day commute I ever made. Such habits are good when they automatically compel you toward what needs to be done.

And in case you’ve never owned a dog, I can tell you that the consequences of NOT habitually going for a walk are rather unpleasant and messy indeed. (There is much power to change in that previous sentence if you can apply to your own situation.)

Second, ritual can be a relaxing and even mindful activity. I actually enjoy walking Kuri: from carrying her out the door and into the park, ambling around the small pond where the carp sometimes are, on past the Sakura trees (that feature in my goal creation maps course, and ending up with a short sprint home. (Kuri gets her breakfast and dinner upon returning; now there’s creature comfort motivation for you!)

I leave you with two questions:

  1. What (enjoyable) habits are you aware of in your own daily working life?
  2. In what way are these ritualistic?

PS: this post took 50 minutes to write - the extra ten were due to editing the photo.