Where do you put your focus on each day? Is it on your “to-do” list, projects, challenges, or people you interact with daily? Knowing where you focus your attention will decide whether you give away your biggest asset – time – by reacting to others, doing daily things, or focusing on what is most important to you.
You make many different decisions throughout your day. Are those decisions based on auto-pilot, or do you choose to work on what is important to you?
“Where you spend your attention is where you spend your life.” James Clear
You may focus on what is important to you, but check in to ensure “it’s where you want to go?”
Throughout our lives, we decide what areas we put our intention on. At any time, where we focus our time and energies is what we will end up with in life. We can decide to refocus our attention and go in a different direction.
Do you lack focus?
Lacking focus isn’t an unusual experience for many people. No one trained us early on to focus our decisions on what supports our well-being. In many cases, our training was to respond to others and what they wanted – parents, managers, or family members. When you don’t have a point of focus in your day or life:
- Time will slip by quickly, and you won’t remember much of it.
- Life seems more difficult as you may not feel complete with your actions not defined by you.
- You don’t always focus on the most important and fill your time with other agendas or numbing behaviors.
Ways to lose focus
- Not sure what is important to you – you are more in survival mode and don’t know what is essential. You haven’t taken the time to figure out what is important to you.
- Not eating or sleeping well – your body needs to be taken care of for your mind to focus on what you want.
- Overestimating what you can do in one day – your mind loses focus quickly, juggling too many things and not knowing which is most important.
- Numbing behaviors distract all of us from what is essential for us. Social media is a big distraction. Many different numbing behaviors block us from focusing on what is important to us.
Do you try to multitask?
Earlier in my human resources career, the famous response by interviewees was, “I’m good at multitasking.” It sounded good, though as I became more experience in recruiting and drilled down exactly what their multitasking accomplished, I quickly decided this wasn’t the skill we wanted on our team. Instead, we wanted individuals who completed where they were giving their attention with high-performance levels.
Do you multitask? Try to do two things at a time on a project.
How often have you spoken to someone on the phone and done something on your computer simultaneously? People know when you are listening and when they have half of your attention. The other half goes to whatever you are looking at, so neither one gets your full attention, and you never get the satisfaction of feeling complete with either one. You weren’t paying full attention.
I’ve been known to do this and then decided I would slow down and pay attention.
Doing this allowed me to listen to a friend, decide who I was listening to wasn’t where I wanted to be, and either shorten or discontinue the conversation (tactfully.)
It’s about being aware; awareness allows you to listen to yourself when involved.
How to build focus
It’s possible to build your “focus muscles” by practice.
We currently practice the same habits repeatedly as it supports our comfort zone. What would life be like if we were to change our habits and create a “Focus Practice.”
It’s normal, as one’s comfort zone feels safe and safety is an essential factor in all of our lives. However, is this comfort zone safe or, more so, not willing to change a habit? Some ideas to build focus in your life:
- Let go of multitasking, and this will help make your focus habit.
- Get rid of all distractions while focusing on one thing at a time. Close apps, other files, phones, and distractions calling you away from what you are doing.
- Set time aside to decide what is important to you – health, finances, creativity, career, work, relationships, order, or any other area you want to work.
- To start with, set a timer for one hour, and you will focus on the one thing that provides you with the most value. Then take a short break, and set the timer again.
- Schedule a block of time for your light “to-do” list, like errands, email, texting someone an answer, or other small items that require your attention. This block of time should be the smallest block on your schedule.
- Meditation is a practice that enhances focused practice.
- Take care of your body – eat healthily, exercise, and get the right amount of sleep for your body.
No matter how many years you have lived, you can reflect on where you focused your attention and what you gained from your choices.
If it served you, great. If it didn’t, then how can you use this knowledge to make a change and create a stronger focus in your life?
Women’s group topic
We all have wasted time in our lives. We didn’t show up and focus on what was important to us. We also had times when we were clear about what was necessary.
Where are you today – focused or unfocused on what you want in your life?
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
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