Regaining Focus

 

 

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Bring Back Your Joy For Life!

 

Regaining Your Power of Focus

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I have this fabulous little LED torch. You can widen the beam to cover a broad area, or you can narrow it down to a single powerful beam to spotlight something in particular. Your attention is somewhat like this little torch, you can take in a broad amount or narrow your beam to focus on one thing in particular.


I’ve been thinking about writing this article for a while now as several people have mentioned to me they have been finding it difficult to focus on things they want to do. Each time they try to focus the beam of their attention, something gets in the way and their attention is diverted and distracted. The outcome is usually the same, projects, tasks and goals that are incomplete along with a good deal of frustration, regret and a lot of negative self-talk.


Maintaining this narrow focus can be easy or hard depending on a number of things:

    1. number and intensity of external distractions and interruptions
    2. how much you enjoy what you are focusing on
    3. busy-ness of your monkey mind

 

Let’s look at these one at a time.


1. External Distractions

These are actually the easiest to manage yet we sometimes let them get the better of us. Attempting to focus on something you really want to do under a bombardment of distractions is enough to drive you around the bend! This is one frustration we can all do without. Luckily, the answer can be as simple as using one or more of the following strategies:

    • Timing: schedule your activity for a time that invites the least distractions
    • Interruptions: let others know you are uninterruptable for a certain period of time and close the door.
    • Distractions: close down your email, shut down social media, turn off notifications and remove anything from your environment likely to distract you.
    • Set a specific amount of time to work on your activity and make sure you create a written schedule for anything else that is pressing on your mind for completion.

 

2. Lack of passion for what you are doing

Not keen on the activity you have to do? Procrastination often creeps in when the task is not one you want to do. The way to get past this is to find the value in your task. Ask yourself: why is this important? Ask with the intent to find out what important value this task supports for you? For example, bookkeeping isn’t my favourite business activity…but I know that it supports something much more important to me – my coaching business! When I make note of how much I love what I do, I can give real meaning to the task of keeping my books up to date!

 

3. The monkey mind

This is perhaps the biggest challenge to staying focused. That busy monkey-mind chatter will move your attention to other things it thinks you should be doing. It will have you reliving that moment from the past. It will even whisper discouragement, doubt and fear in your ear. Here’s how to tackle this problem;

    • Make sure you create a space between what you were doing before, and what you are about to do. A sort of pause that gives you space to open up to the next thing.
    • Create the right environment for your activity and make sure you have everything you need. That gets you thinking on what you are about to do. (see section 1. on removing distractions and interruptions)
    • Develop a routine that calms your mind and body. This might be a quick breathing and relaxation exercise. Focus on your breath, connect your feet to the floor and run a quick body scan to ease out any tension. Focusing on this technique quietens your mind and becomes a trigger for focusing.
    • Review the ‘why’ behind what you are doing (see section2. ) and reconnect with the value you are supporting.P
    • Practise some longer term mindfulness activities. These allow you to create awareness around what your monkey-mind is up to as well as give you more control when you need it. It will take some persistence but I guarantee you will reap the rewards!

 

Across all of these techniques you will need to develop self-awareness. That is your ability to observe and know yourself. Understand for yourself where lies the greatest obstacle to your focus, and then build your own version of these strategies to refocus the beam of your attention right where you want it!

 

PS: Oh...and it happens to the best of us! I wanted some background music to write this article to but Itunes stopped working on my pc…30 minutes later I finally got back to writing!

 

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