In the last two years of my college days, I learned a phrase from my fellow classmates that has helped me refocus my attention in moments of stress, especially when a deadline was looming over us. We referred to it as the "walking away point." Unlike procrastination, where my attention is hooked by anything other than the project that I should be working on, the "walking away point" is a moment where we hit a mental wall on a project and lose our focus. We need to walk away to clear our minds.
Stress can make us press forward without recognizing the wall, but the quality of the work suffers because we no longer see the project with clarity. The "walking away point" is the moment we become aware of this wall and we make a choice to shift our attention, in order to detach from the stress, onto something that allows us to relax and open up our perception of what we are doing.
So, here is what I do now with my "walking away point." I save my project on my computer and I shut it down, or put it to sleep, and set a timer for five or 10 minutes and I walk away. The purpose is to find something that completely takes my attention away from the project, and engage in a moment that allows me to feel alive.
When the timer goes off, I disengage from the moment and go back to my project. From there, all these ideas start pouring in, sometimes a new sense of direction is found, or the path that I was already one becomes clear again. But what is for sure, I can see again.
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