Finding focus and maintaining it is a skill that increases your presence and your productivity.
Your moments are enhanced when you bring focus to them; and yet this is a quality that is often especially hard to come by in our culture.
We are bombarded from every angle with information, news, ideas – all clamoring for our attention. How often are you pulled off track by something on Facebook or Twitter? How many times a day do you drop what you’re doing to pursue an interesting (but basically irrelevant) idea?
“If you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”
Too many choices – too much! Options like email, cell phones, Blackberries, and surfing the net flood you with a barrage of information. How will you stay on course?
Well, let’s dig down and explore the benefits of developing focus. Steady focus can become a way of life. When you focus you are fully there for yourself in the moment, as you immerse yourself completely in one task at a time.
Focus: What it Does
Focus promotes clarity, follow-through and commitment. It enables you to attain your goals, and to complete tasks leading to your success. It’s an inner quality that creates a quiet self-confidence.
You trust yourself because you know you can count on yourself.
Focus and the Spiral of Success
Through focus, you create an upward spiral of success that just keeps building on itself. The more you focus, the more you succeed at the tasks you choose. Then the more you succeed, the better you feel about yourself.
And the better you feel about yourself, the more centered and confident you are, making it easier to focus even more.
Think of Olympic athletes – they represent the essence of this skill.
Focus: You’ve Done It Before-You Can Do It Again!
Okay, so maybe you’re not an Olympic athlete. (I know I’m not!) But think back and remember when you were a younger. Picture yourself spending time doing the one thing you loved the most? You did it for hours, and the next day, you did it again. And the next, and the next … lost in the flow of that favorite activity.
Visualize yourself doing that now, being that kid. What do you see? What are you doing? What happens to the rest of the world? How do you feel?
How often are you pulled off track by something on Facebook or Twitter?
As children, when we played or examined our world, focus was a natural state. When we were involved, nothing else mattered.
Focus: So How Do You Feel About It Now?
As an adult, what messages do you give yourself about focus? To discover how you really feel about it, let’s do a word association.
First, go to a quiet space. Then, on a piece of paper, write “Focus” at the top. Set a timer for two minutes and without thinking, write down, as fast as possible, all the words and/or phrases that come to mind. Repetition is fine. It gives you information. Keep writing until the timer goes off.
Now go back and look for patterns. What words first came to you? These are your truest feelings about focus. What phrases did you use? What words were repeated? What do you learn?
With this information in hand, observe yourself throughout your day. How do your actions and choices match your word association? What one step can you take to enhance your ability to focus?
Repeat this daily over the next week. What changes do you notice in your time choices?
Related: Five-Column Time Estimation Template
© Copyright 2014 Paula Eder, Ph.D.