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ADHD or overwhelm? How to reclaim your focus and boost success

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As a high-performance coach, one of my main areas of focus is productivity. It’s one of the six pillars that make up the scientifically proven habits of high performance that deliver higher income, stronger relationships and greater happiness and satisfaction. 

But productivity is always under attack. Our phones drag our attention away, beeping and bonging, notifications cascading in a constant flow. The endless scroll in social media drags us down a rabbit hole of kitten videos and people doing things that clearly indicate they have a lot of free time on their hands.

In a world that demands our attention nearly every second of the day, it’s no wonder we hit overwhelm by 10 a.m. In Stolen Focus by Johann Hari, a professor explains that if we have spent long enough being interrupted by external elements in our daily lives, we will start to interrupt ourselves — even when there are no distractions around us.

About half of my clients claim to have ADHD. Some of them do. Most of them don’t. They have a focus problem. They have allowed the notification nightmare to train their brains to be jumpy and unfocused, so it feels like ADHD. 

But could devices be the only culprit?

 

“This state of hypervigilance creates a death trap for real estate businesses.”

 

If a mind is always on high alert for danger, it stops thinking of the little things like making follow-up calls, posting on social media or getting listing paperwork done. If you’re terrified of running out of money, particularly if that was something that haunted you from your past, that’s all your brain will track, or the lack thereof. It becomes an all-consuming focus, with every ounce of energy directed at getting as far away from the threat of financial ruin as possible. This only makes matters worse since avoiding work exacerbates the problem, speeding up the cycle of doom.

This state of hypervigilance creates a death trap for real estate businesses. There are a thousand things on the go at any given time, and having them organized and systematized means that your business grows and thrives. Without that attention, you become inconsistent, drop the ball at key moments, or self-sabotage your work (i.e., you don’t make that call you know you have to make and then feel shame when you lose the deal). 

 

“You need to meet the root cause of what’s creating that distress in your life head-on, and through processing it, addressing it and healing from it, you’ll find your world clears up considerably.”

 

The more you stay in this state, the harder it is to emerge from it. In some cases, you don’t need medication to help you focus. You need to meet the root cause of what’s creating that distress in your life head-on, and through processing it, addressing it and healing from it, you’ll find your world clears up considerably. 

I have found in my work that when my clients are all over the place and clearly in distress, starting with productivity tools like time blocking or creating systems won’t work. It’s not the root of the problem behaviour, so it’s like plugging a geyser the size of a football with your finger.

So, what do we do? The good news is that research is being done to help us clear our minds and find our ability to think without fear or anxiety. Here’s a simple process you can follow to figure out the root of your own lack of progress, productivity or consistency. And while simple, it’s not easy. Be ready to commit to the outcome, no matter how much your brain resists your efforts. 

 

Change the environment  

 

Hypervigilance stems from a constant state of looking out for danger. What in your world causes you stress? Are you always checking your bank account? Or stalking people online, comparing yourself to their results (and finding yourself falling behind)? Reduce the triggers that drive the stressors as much as possible. Cut people out of your life. Unfollow people who trigger your negativity or stress. 

If you’re dragging yourself away with notifications, go into your settings and turn them off. Check only at certain times of the day. You can do that as often as you wish, but give yourself a break. Train yourself back to being the one in control of where your attention goes — not your phone. 

 

Ask yourself, “What can I do about this?”

 

Being in control alleviates anxiety and worry. You can’t worry when you’re actively working. No matter your situation, there’s always something you can do about it. Once you’ve begun to eliminate the stressors in your world, add things like meditation, yoga, going for walks or the gym. Physically processing emotions allows your brain and body to clear them, leaving you with a greater sense of purpose and energy. 

If you’re winging your way through the day, bring some order to it at a level you can manage. If you can’t do follow-ups for an hour, do it for 15 minutes. Start small. I call it “little chunking” — breaking big scary things into manageable pieces to the point where you can say, “I can do this.” 

 

Get help

 

Sometimes, what drives us is deep — and extra help from professionals who know the ins and outs of our brains need to be called in. You can’t see what you can’t see, but someone else might be able to and will walk you carefully back to a path of strength, power and calm. 

If money is your stress, get a bookkeeper or accountant to work out a plan with you. Start working towards freedom from the pain, not hiding from it.

A productive life is one full of progress, accomplishments and joy. We all deserve to have more of all those things in our lives. Start with taking a good, hard look at what’s really going on and begin to bring your mind back under your control. 

Your business — now and in the future — will thrive because you took the time to care. 

 


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