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The process itself is the goal
How to focus and have self-discipline

September 08, 2020 - 1013 words - 6 mins Found a typo? Edit me
discipline habits process focus self-improvement

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No goal should be an achievement on its own, but the process itself that helps us to go in the direction of these goals.

Goals, in business and in life in general, should be conceived as directions, where their real intention is to help us accomplish more in the way we planned or want.

If we get rewarded only for results and not for processes, we will become pretty miserable.

Society doesn’t reward the journey, but the results, and that’s exactly part of the problem when you are too focused on how society acts on you. Of course, it’s important to listen to society, but it’s more important to listen to ourselves in order to improve constantly. Continuous improvement doesn’t apply to software only but to everything in life.

How do I keep myself focused?

This is a totally subjective topic that might be different from person to person. That said, I think it might be useful to share my thoughts with you, so I’ll do it.

Self-reflection

I used to write my thoughts in a “diary” for some years. Back then, in 2015, when I moved to Germany, I didn’t know many people here, and the environment was completely new. I decided to write my thoughts to myself in order to read them the day after and do some retrospection about it. Finally, after around 3 years, in December 2017, I published a book named “Ojos en un recuerdo”. That book is the compilation of those thoughts. No story behind it. They are as they came. You can see the evolution of the topics and about what and how they were written.

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The exercise of self-reflection itself was more important than the book! The goal here wasn’t writing a book at all. The goal was the self-projection to understand what was going on inside myself. Publishing those thoughts in a book was an accident. A beautiful accident, though. This habit of thinking about my actions and decisions (what do I do and why) helped me to develop who am I nowadays.

Sports

Exercise helps my mind to disconnect from the tech area. It keeps my body active using some energy in a different environment. But most importantly, it helps to get fully tired before going to bed. I feel myself resting much better if I’ve done some sport during the day: contact sports, fitness studio, or simply running.

The specific sport itself is an irrelevant detail as far as you feel comfortable. The act of doing sport is the key here.

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Books

I try to read tech throughout the day and non-tech during the night. For example, some days before going to work or after working time I might read a tech book. And some days before going to sleep I like to read a non-tech one. This way, I feed my brain with knowledge and I also provide it with non-tech space, so it can rest from code and enjoy other “universes” as well. Some suggestions that helped me to understand how we behave, why we do what we do, and therefore build some habits that I didn’t know how to:

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Personal tricks

I wish I would have read much more. Nowadays, with the number of distractions that we have, keeping yourself focused is pretty hard. Some tricks that help me a lot when I want to focus:

It’s not about removing your old habits but replacing them with new ones.

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How to improve your habits

Habits emerge without our consent. To save energy, the brain creates a habit loop that looks for a trigger to cue a behavior.

Repetition is the key. Make it easier to do what you want to do. Make it harder to do what you want to stop doing. Enjoy the process: that’s the goal.

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