Focus can be a tough gig for anyone. Even the most experienced CEOs will tell you that they have not always had the laser focus skills that they possess now. What I’ve learned is that focus is a skill that is honed over a long period of time. I have also learned that even though I keep learning about keeping my focus, the things that may help me focus one day, may not work the next. As you would understand, each of our days are not the same, so our mechanisms to increase our focus should be changed up to suit.
Take a look at some of the things that help me to focus (I’d love to know yours too):
- Write stuff down
On a daily basis, I use a hand-written planner for my daily task list. By physically writing my tasks down, I can remove the clutter from by brain and really focus on what is at hand. It is such a simple task, but the benefits are huge. Plus I have to admit, ticking that ‘complete’ box feels fab!
Before I start each day, I take at least 10 minutes out to meditate. There are loads of apps that can help with this. I really like the Oprah/Deepak Chopra app. When we wake up, our mind can often get out of control quite quickly when you’re thinking of all the things on your to-do list. So even if you are not into meditating or that sort of thing, taking 10 minutes to quiet your mind can be a great way to start the day. If you haven’t meditated before, I highly recommend it.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff
Sometimes you can get caught up in the whirlwind of day-to-day life, then become overwhelmed and start to focus on the small stuff. You know what I mean. The things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme, but in that moment of overwhelm it may seem like the most important thing ever – like, “who left the milk out again?!”. This is easier said that done, but from a self-confessed control freak and previous over-reactor, I can attest to the calm that will come into your life when you let it go. Yes. Let. It. Go. Before you launch into how desperately awful a situation is, stop, take at least three deep breaths and assess whether it is really worth the energy you are about to use in freaking out. This simple process has saved me a huge amount of time and energy!
- Step into action rather than fear
Rather than stepping into a mode of panic and pain when a problem arises, again stop, breathe and repeat after me, it is what it is. This sounds so overly simple, I know. But here’s the thing, by taking the time out before reacting, your reaction will be far more reasonable. A few short moments can give you the clarity to step into a space of action, rather than fear. And here is the big secret – fear and action cannot co-exist, so moving toward an action is far more beneficial in resolving the project and for you to re-focus.
- Get out of the space
If you find yourself sitting in a space of procrastination and you have a clear lack of focus. Just stop what you’re doing. There is no point trying to push yourself into a space of focus and productivity if its just not going to happen. Get out of your office and move around. If you can, get some fresh air, put your feet on the grass, feel the breeze in your face and just be. If you have the time, even run through another meditation. This is a really powerful, yet incredibly simple way of bringing back the focus that you need. When you sit back down, go back over your daily planner and it will feel as though you have fresh eyes to begin again.
The best piece of advice I was given was to do what works for me. Don’t think that just because it works for your colleague it will work for you. If something doesn’t gel, it’s probably not the right option for you. Just keep trying until you find your focus groove. Your mind and your body will thank you.
About Belinda Bow
Belinda Bow is the founder of Green Chilli Marketing and recently launched the Green Chilli Marketing Franchise opportunity for talented marketers to have a successful career and work life that fits in with their lifestyle. Belinda is a Certified Practicing Marketer and an Associate Fellow of the Australian Marketing Institute.