Help! I can’t seem to stay focused!…
You are not alone…
Even though I teach focus for a living, I too have struggled with focus and staying focused more than once.
When it comes to idea generation and creation, no help is required. But when it comes to staying on task, getting laser-focused, and following through, I most definitely need help. (No judging O.K. – We all have our holes, between kids, owning a yoga studio, family life, and my own pursuits. It’s tricky when I don’t have help.)
Once, someone finally drilled into my head the order of operation. Even though I had heard these tips a zillion times before, hearing them again in a more ordered way has helped me stay on task and actually get things done. You know the process we desperately try to follow from start to finish to complete something.
So, for your reading pleasure, here are 5 tips to help you stay focused…
No, to get laser-focused!
1. Do the urgent things first.
Yes, that’s right! Do the things that give the highest return FIRST! For many of us, we are stuck on the front end. We are in the amateur cycle of doing only the things that give us instant gratification. Then we live and feed off of that to get to our next fix. The only problem with that is, it bears no fruit. Make a list of all you are doing, get honest with yourself about where you are putting your time, and start picking fruit!
2. Block out time.
Yes, you HAVE to block out time. There is no time tree, and very seldom will someone gift you time. More than likely, they are tight on it too. So ask yourself when and where, and then ask yourself how much you want it. When I schedule the time, that means one time a week I schedule a sitter and pay someone. Grandparents are not built-in babysitter’s, and quite honestly, I want to save that time for when I want to have fun. Paying someone the $15-$30 is worth every penny. Since I’m paying for it, I use every ounce of time. When I don’t do this, 8 pm rolls around and I’m beat. I want to sit down, and the last thing I want to do is expand on ideas, create or think. (Although this does happen, but not because I have to.) Look at your schedule and ask yourself where you need more time, and then take it!
3. Engage fully!
Whatever you are doing, do it fully! Multitasking may seem like a way to get ahead, but take it from a multitasker in rehab: It only gets you into projects halfway with a quarter availability and very little ever completed. I tell myself daily when I’m teaching – teach, when I’m with my kids – be with them fully, when I’m writing – just write, when I’m cooking – just cook, and when I’m practicing – just practice. The temptation is high, I know, but you will only get a little fix and never experience the full monty.
4. Set your goals clearly.
Set your goals “clear enough to be kept in focus, close enough to be achieved, and helpful enough to change lives”- John C. Maxwell.
Now that you have my blog on how to become more productive (if you haven’t CLICK HERE), you can draw from that list of all your ideas. What are your goals? What do you want? Have you ever mapped it out? Have you ever taken the time to look at how everything strings together? How you are going to get from A to N to Z? Are you skipping around only doing things halfway? That may be why you aren’t reaching those goals. Get out a pen and paper and write down your goals!
5. Question yourself.
“Is what I am doing getting me close to my set of goals?” “Is my current direction truly the way to my goals?” I have been there where I was knee-deep in my direction and trudging through the swamp. My head was so close to the mud that I didn’t realize that I was working my ass off in the wrong direction. And it was no wonder I was working so many hours with very little return. Finally, ask yourself, “Is what I say I want, what I really want?” The hard truth might be that you have put so much of your time, energy and effort into what you are doing that the thought of changing directions seems crazy, stupid or downright nuts. When you do change, beware outsiders won’t understand. They may tell you you are making a mistake – they are living in the fear you are trying to get out of.
A final quote to hopefully inspire you to get focused and stay focused: