If you’ve lost your focus, what can you do to get your focus back?
I’m sure you’re familiar with the problem. You’re facing a swarm of distractions, interruptions, the Facebook rabbit-hole, and the overloading of your mental circuits.
Think about the times you’ve been stuck at home because you “have to” work on something. But, your heart isn’t in it.
I bet you get up from your seat and go see what’s in the fridge. Am I right?
You opened the door, looked inside, shut the door and look around. There went a biiig sigh. You grab a handful of munchies and go back to your desk.
About an hour later, you go back. And, look again. Nothing new has appeared. You pull out something else, and go back to your desk.
Eventually you’re back at the fridge. You look in. Close the door. You reach into a cabinet and grab some other stuff…
What happened? Were you really hungry? Or, were you just trying to fill a void in your attention?
We all lose our focus at times. It’s as inevitable as paying taxes.
In my example, you ate. But you never actually fed yourself. All those trips to the fridge didn’t resolve anything for you.
We do this thing with when our focus is missing. We dabble in random things.
Maybe you eat. I used to. Maybe, like me now, you find distracting things to read, watch TV. Or, perhaps you find that your freezer is in dire need of defrosting. But we never really commit to anything.
The key question is, what can you do to get your focus back? Eating is not the answer. Neither are any of the extraneous things you find to distract you from what is really the problem.
What’s the Problem?
When you lose focus, you’ve gone a bit loco. It’s not sane, really, when you mindlessly slamming your attention on non-activities.
Your focus feeds your inner being. It feeds your heart and your mind. It’s so important to notice what you’re giving your attention to. When you’re unfocused, you’re always hungry because you never actually feed yourself.
The good news is that here are ways to reclaim your focus and get more done.
Limit your priorities on any day
Face it, there’s only so many things you can get done in a day.
In 2009, Clifford Nass set out to find out how well so-called multitaskers multitasked. He did a study.
As it turns out, he says that “multitaskers are suckers for irrelevancy.” They were outperformed on everything. Although they’d convinced themselves and the world that they were great at it, there was just one problem. To quote Nass, “Multitaskers were just lousy at everything.”
Multitasking is a lie. It’s neither efficient nor effective. In the world of results, you fail every time. Why? Because doing multiple things at the same time is merely an opportunity to screw up more than one thing at a time.
Get into the habit of deciding ahead of time what you want to get done in a day.
Ask yourself, “If I only accomplish one thing, what is the thing that will move me further along?”
Know what you will do before starting
This is a must. When you don’t do this, you can get lost in the millions of non-items that your computer can offer up.
It’s critical to think through any outcome you want to accomplish. When you’re in the middle of getting-it-done fever, it’s so easy to get sidetracked by non-important things. It could be a new idea, a new tool, a new friend.
You must be wary of losing focus. Moving forward is critical for any business. Constantly switching directions will block forward movement.
When something distracts you, write it down to review how it fits into your company’s overall goal and vision later.
Right now, though, focus on what needs doing now. Plan what tasks any given outcome needs for your situation. Break the goal into doable steps ahead of the curve.
Assign yourself tasks (or you can assign them to someone else if you have a team) (i.e. “Clean out email folders”) Then, assign times if you’re doing the work (“From 1pm to 2pm”). Put it in your calendar. Stop as soon as the end time arrives.
Leverage small slots of time
How many times you’ve looked at your scheduler and seen that you have 45 minutes before an appointment. You’ve thought, “Well, I don’t have time to do anything. I’ll just go on line.”
Tsk, tsk! Fit your planned tasks that are small time-wise into those small slices of time. It’s amazing what you can complete in a brief amount of time!
The secret is planning and breaking things down into manageable, doable pieces.
Be with Your Emotion
Emotion is the switch that turns learning, focus and peak performance on/off. What can you do to get your focus back, if emotions have turned it off?
You can ignore or take them for granted. Know, though, that your emotional state drives the quality of your focus and the results you can achieve. If you are fear-driven, your performance will suffer. It’s a neurological fact.
Try to understand yourself better, know your personal psychology. Understand your emotional hot buttons. Then, you’ll be better able to hold yourself in the right emotional state for focus. You’ll be able to steer clear of the negative states that make sharp focus impossible.
Having positive emotions will spur engagement.
Get rid of things that don’t serve you
Incoming emails, group emails, magazine subscriptions, news aggregate feeds, TiVo, memberships, unread books…
The list of incoming things vying for attention goes on and on.
Get your life in order. Get rid of things that don’t really serve you.
Ask yourself why you engage in that activity. If it serves a purpose in your life, fine, no problem. But if the answer is “no purpose” or “I dunno,” get rid of it!
Doing this one thing has helped me create an environment that is sacred and productive. Be ruthless about keeping only the stuff that feeds some part of you.
So, what can you do to get your focus back?
If you’re interested in where you stand, you can take this assessment and find out.
If you are interested in how to make yourself more productive while keeping your focus, my Crack the Code to Productivity Program will help you.
Share your thoughts with me, won’t you? I am really interested in what you have to say.