As we move through our increasingly busy lives, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of “stuff” our heads have to hold. Every day we are bombarded with information, requests, recommendations and perhaps even demands. “Read this”, “eat that”, “care about this”, “notice me”. When the space in your head is so crowded, it’s difficult to separate what matters from what doesn’t, and easy to get lost in the minutiae.
I always feel a burden lifted when I am able to say (usually to myself, not others): “that doesn’t matter to me”, either at all, or just not right now. When you come to the realisation that something doesn’t deserve your attention and you let it go, you immediately free up space – in your head, your day, your life – for the things that do.
It can be as simple as turning off the tv because whatever’s on it is a mindless waste of time. Or as complex as telling a co-worker that you don’t want to be involved in the office-politics anymore because it’s preventing you doing your best work.
When people say that they wish they had more time for the things that are important to them – their family, their hobbies, their health – the question I believe they should be asking themselves is: what am I spending my time on now? The things you pay attention to are the things that you have decided matter to you. If you find yourself paying attention to things that actually don’t, it’s time for a change.
Of course, the key to all of this is first deciding what does matter to you, which can be a tough question to answer. Maybe even a scary one. It may mean committing to a path you’ve been nervous about committing to, taking a risk in your life or business, telling those around you who you really are, or that you’ve changed. Sometimes it’s easy to allow ourselves to be distracted by the little things because that’s what feels comfortable. But comfort, while nice, is rarely very interesting.
Imagine what you could achieve if you directed your focus and energy towards the things that truly matter to you, rather than what matters to everyone else, or doesn’t matter at all.