At the beginning of the year I made an intention to work on my focus. There is a really big project I have been working on for the last three years and I was committed to getting it done this year! And I knew if I had any chance of getting the project done this year, I had to work on getting much more focused. But setting the intention was only the start. If I was going to be successful at getting more focused I had to learn how to become more focused. So I did some research and have been working hard to practice what I learned. Here are four things I learned and implemented and I want to share them with you.
Resist the temptation to take on too many projects or goals at once
Set your intention for the year/month/week and just focus on that one intention. This means you will be working on fewer projects or goals, but of those few you choose to focus on there will be more depth and quality. Work on completing just a few important projects rather than having a multitude of unfinished ones.
Be mindful when you slip
Try and be mindful of how you are doing and when you feel yourself beginning to slip back into old unfocused habits, pause and redirect yourself back on course.
I know what you are thinking. Minimizing distractions is really hard with kids. But it isn’t impossible. It just takes some intention. Here are a few suggestions:
- Get up earlier or stay up later than your kids to work on your projects
- Turn off your phone, email, TV
- Communicate ahead of time with your family and let everyone know what you want to accomplish. Let them know you are working on project X this weekend and work out any issues or conflicts ahead of time. And when they interrupt (and they will), remind them of what you are working on and your prior agreement. And when they try and divert your attention to something else, stand your ground!
Give your brain energy
In order to focus your brain needs to have energy to operate. You give your brain energy by getting enough sleep, letting it rest every 45 minutes or so, and by using it first for your most important tasks.
When you are working on a project set the timer on your phone every 45 minutes. When the timer goes off, this is your cue to get up walk around a bit, stretch, and relax. This break will give your brain time to reenergize and rest.
Also, be mindful of when your brain is at its best and use this time to work on your most important projects. During this time you will get the most and best use out of your brain. Save other times for tasks that don’t require as much power or creativity.
So when you are feeling scattered and unfocused try one of these four suggestions and see if it helps you get back on track. Good luck!