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Hey guys, welcome to A Lifelong Habit of Exercise. I'm Coach Kendra, and this is episode 17. Today I want to talk about the ability to focus. Being able to focus all depends on your ability to transition from one task to the next, not the ability to try to multitask, or try to keep things going in your brain while you are doing one thing. So the ability to just do one thing at a time, that's what I want to really dive deep into today, doing one thing at a time and cutting all other distractions while you do that one thing, I really enjoy talking about the ability to focus, because I think that's something that a lot of us have a very hard time, especially in the current day and age where technology is so huge. We rely on technology for the majority of the things that we do, and that includes work that includes a lot of the day to day, minute to minute things that we do. But along with that technology is the technology of social media, the technology of our cell phones, that have games, and various various other things on them, we carry around mini computers, in our pockets, or in our purse, or in our hand, or really, at almost any given time at every single point of the day. Not many of us will be found without a cell phone in our hand, without a cell phone very close by us, and even moreso now most of us, a lot of us have where we have our watches on our hands. So, not only do we have the technology of a computer in our hand with our cell phone, now we have the technology of a computer on our wrist. And along with that comes all the notifications, all of the distractions, everything else, that a computer could give us an instant time at any given time. No matter what we're doing. This could be when we're trying to sleep, this could be when we're trying to work. This could be when we're trying to meditate. If you meditate, this could be all of these different times where we can't really be distraction free and less, we completely shut things off. 



So how do we get to where we can actually focus and we have that ability to turn it off and get into the next thing that we are supposed to be doing or the next thing that we want to be doing. And I think one of the things as most of you know, as you guys have been listening, and you know that I am a college basketball coach, you know that I have been in athletics, most of my life, but one of the things that I want to kind of compare this to is when we are talking about working out, obviously, A Lifelong Habit of Exercise is what this podcast is. So when we're talking about exercising, one of the very first things that we do when we exercise or one of the very first things that's recommended to be done, instead of just going full force, when we want to start exercising is that we warm up that we stretch that we kind of build up to whatever the activity is that we will do. Well, if you're anything like me, for the longest time, I hated stretching. I know you guys, we've we've been in this podcast for about 16 weeks now and a lot of you guys have heard that like with my new app that I do, they build the warmup into the exercises. If it were up to me, which I don't recommend this. But if it were up to me, I would probably just get started. And that's how I've always been my entire life just getting started instead of building up, which I do see a difference, I do see the importance of it, I do see that as I get going if I don't warm up the first few reps or basically warm ups anyway. I am not able to get my body to the position and get my body to full range of motion by just coming off cold where my muscles are cold, and they're not warmed up. So there's absolutely a benefit to warming up, and this benefit to warming up is that you get that full range of motion you get to where you can transition into the full benefits of the exercise, right you get full range of motion, you can lift a little bit more, you can push yourself a little bit more if you're doing cardio, if you're running, if you're biking if you're doing all of that stuff. Whereas if you leave out a warm up and don't do that warm up, then it's almost like your body's gonna force you to go a little bit slower or you're more prone to injuries, right? 



So the warm up has its place. The warm up is critical when you are getting ready to do a workout when you're getting ready to exercise when you're getting ready to physically move your body. And what I've noticed is that the older that I get, the more critical and crucial that is. I could probably get away with it when I was 12, 13, 10, 11, all of those ages all the way up to maybe even college a little bit. I could get away with that. What I notice now is that I can absolutely 100% tell the difference, when I'm doing my warm ups and the way that my body feels, I can tell the difference, I'm more in tune with my body, I can tell that difference and I do think that that's critical for me. And like I said, I would absolutely recommend it for others. So one of the things is, is that's when we are physically warming up. 



And I really like that we are all about exercise here, because one of the things is that when we do exercise, and we do things that are physical, you can see things more clearly. I know a couple weeks ago, we talked about do things get easier, or do we just get better at them. When you're talking physically, sometimes when you're talking about like lifting and doing those things, you can see that you get better at them. Because there is a physical progression on you're now able to lift 15 pounds instead of 10 pounds instead of five pounds, you can see that happening. So same thing here is that with exercise, you can see as you warm up, you are able to gain more range of motion, you were able to gain things and you can physically see them. So that's why I actually enjoy being able to talk about it those ways, because those are things that you can see the progress on. One of the things though, is that the ability to focus, it's not as easy to be able to see the difference in being able to focus, you have to be aware, you have to be on the lookout for it, you have to be able to see that right now you're able to shut things out, and you're able to kind of close the doors on those distractions. So one of the things that I really want to kind of introduce to you guys, and maybe some of you guys already do this, but for me, it's become something that I have to do with almost every single thing that I transition to. I am very planner oriented, If you guys have been really paying attention, I know you guys hear that, I do my planning for my workouts, but I also plan my days, and I plan my days so that I can really spend time with my daughter and I can have that free time with my daughter and get quality time in the things that I choose to do. So I'm very planner, time management organized, as far as I'm going to do this at this time, I'm going to do this at this time. And I'm going to do this at this time. So when you are that way, though, one of the huge things, because you don't want to waste time is that you need to go into it, when you have something planned, when I do this, I have to go into it and start focusing right away, or else it's almost like a waste of time, right? Because I end up spending more time not focusing and doing other things and getting distracted. And then the plan just kind of falls apart because I don't get what I need to get done in the time that I've planned. 



So one of the things that's really crucial for me is a lot of times I take the first kind of five to 10 minutes into my next activity to what I like to think of as warm my brain up. And I warm my brain up into the kind of transition and for me what that looks like is I actually close my eyes, and it's almost like a meditation, I close my eyes and kind of take some deep breaths and prepare myself for what I'm going into. I kind of clear my mind of what I'm currently doing, or the distractions that are currently on my mind, and I clear my mind into what is the upcoming task. And for me, this is so beneficial. This is so important. It's so beneficial for me to take those five minutes, because if I don't take those five minutes, what's going to happen is there's going to be distractions, there's going to be my phone's going to be going off, I'm going to be looking at Facebook, I'm going to be checking notifications, things that even seem to be beneficial. I'm going to be checking my email. Well, if my email is not what I'm supposed to be doing, then all it is is a distraction. One of the very best books that I've ever read is, The One Thing and in that one thing, they talked about how one multitasking doesn't exist. And I even called myself trying to challenge that statement. I called myself eating and trying to get work done. But what happens is every time I would go take a bite and turn back to my work I would have to refocus and that would take time. So instead of just focusing on one thing, and then one thing separate, like just eating while I'm ready to eat, or just doing my work, when I'm doing that, some of us think that that's beneficial. Like, I'm going to actually just eat and get my work done, but what's happening is every time you go to eat, you're losing a little bit of focus, it may not be a whole lot, it may not be complete focus, and it may be quick for you to come back to it. But that is still time that you are taking away that you're having to refocus every single time you look away to eat. Every single time you look away to do whatever it may be, right? 



So one of those things is, like I said, that example of I actually tested that, can you multitask? In reality, you can't. So being able to focus means doing the one thing at a time, being able to focus is being able to take that transition time because like I said, for me, that's really important as that transition time, it's worth it, so that I can get 55 minutes on the task at hand that I really am supposed to be doing rather than 20 minutes later, when I first start after finally checking emails, and finally, like paying attention to the all of the notifications that are coming up in my phone. Now I only have, I'm already 25 minutes into the hour. And I only have 35 minutes of actual quality work once I finally settle down and get into what I'm really trying to get into. So for me that transition period, that stretching period of what I want to call it that warm up period, even though it's not a physical warm up. That time to kind of breathe and clear my head is absolutely worth it to me, and that is something that like I said, as I've gotten older, that's become more valuable to me. Because I have all of my work requirements, I have all of my business requirements, I have all of my student athletes, I have my daughter I have the more stuff that you have on your plate, which all of us have a ton of stuff, right? But that means that your brains constantly like what about this? And what about this and and that means that people are coming and notifications being sent to your phone about whatever it may be something important right now, where around the holidays, did you pick up these gifts? Did you do this? Did you do this? It's constant, right? We're always getting notifications to our phone, there's always something else. So what I like to do, like I said, the more older I get, the more responsibilities I have, the more valuable this stretching time is, for me. Going into exercise, if I know that I have an exercise coming up, I take that five to 10 minutes, to prepare myself to stretch my brain to get into the mode of exercising, then after that to get into the mode of going back to work or doing whatever it may be. Those all take time, and those all take what I call that transition period, that stretching period, that warming up period, even if it is only five to 10 minutes. But for me, that has allowed me the ability to focus so much more, so valuable to me to take that five to 10 minutes. 



Even if it's at every single thing that I do. Sometimes things may lead right directly into the next thing and I don't have to take that time. But where I find it valuable. And most of the time I have to do that time, where I really find that valuable is when my brain seems to just be going crazy with so many things, so many things, so many things, so many things. And that's like, "okay, let's calm down. Let's take a deep breath." And let's refocus on what's the one thing that I'm actually supposed to be doing right now. Because everything else is a distraction. In that book, they talk about everything else until my one thing is done, everything else is a distraction. Even if it seems like it's beneficial, even if it seems like it's something that's really great, or really necessary or really has to be done right this second. And there are going to be times that there are emergencies. I'm not saying there's not going to be times where there's not emergencies, there are going to be those times, but those are going to be very few and far between. So taking that time to really settle down stretch and get into that next thing is a huge key to being able to focus, being able to get things done. Taking that time to stretch. When we take the time to stretch for exercising, that changes the quality of our workouts that changes the quality of our exercise. It's going to be the exact same thing with our players what we do with our basketball players. We have them before they come out to work out if they're coming from classes, if we have afternoon practices. They have so much going on, they've had their classes all day they've had their personal life stuff that goes on as we all know we all have personal stuff right? So they have all their personal stuff, then they have classes, they have exams, they have labs, they have their homework that they're doing, they have all their workouts beyond basketball, like in the moment that they have to do that they have to be prepared for it, they have all their plays that they have to learn they have everything is going on through their head, they have their treatment and the athletic trainer that they got to do, they have all of this going on. So what we like to do is take five or 10 minutes, and we teach them different tools, they either write down all their thoughts, or they take five to 10 minutes of just breathing, and letting things go and kind of coming in focusing to be in the present moment. And we let things go.



Remember, a long time ago, I talked to you guys about how I asked them, "What mood do they choose to be in?" This helps them to get in a mood and be present for basketball, and again, this is something that everybody can benefit. That's just an example of how we do it with our basketball team. How I do it with me personally in my life, I take that five to 10 minutes and if my brain is really, really busy, I write it all down. I write it all down, I take five to 10 minutes to just breathe. But being able to focus, your ability to focus depends on you being able to transition, yes. Does it help to turn off notifications to do all of that stuff? Yes, absolutely. The actual turning it off, that comes up and that's helpful. But if you were unable to just breathe and bring yourself to be able to be present, then you won't turn off those notifications or even if you turn those notifications off, what's going to happen is you're going to pick up your phone and start to find things. We all do that right? We're not getting messages, so we'll find things to do, we'll browse, we'll call it important on what we need to do on our phones or on our computers that isn't what we want to do. 



So the ability to focus depends on being able to transition, not do multitasking, not do anything else but the one thing and stretching and warming up into that next thing. All right, you guys, for the next week, what I really want you guys to do is try to focus on one thing at a time, and warm up, do your warm up, whatever that is for you. Like I said, For me that's breathing, taking a moment and just relaxing into that next task. But whatever it is, if that's for you, if you want to write it all down, write it all down, write down everything that's coming up so that you can empty your mind and get ready for that next task. However that looks for you, I challenge you to do that for the next week. Do your warmup for every single thing that you have coming up, do your warmup and see how much more quality of work, whether that's exercising, whether that's actual work, whether that's being with your kids and spending time with them, whether that's cooking dinner. Your quality of whatever it is that you're doing, will go up tremendously by just warming up into it. take that time to warm up. Alright, until next time. 



Did you know that I'm doing a five day free workshop, The Workout Mentality Workshop. Women, if you're ready to never stop exercising again, head over to the Facebook Group Women Who Want to Workout to save your place for this upcoming workshop.

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