Personally, I prefer to read actionable content, so that is what I am going to give you today. We’ve been writing all about focus, why it is important to guard, sources of distractions, and our need to clear our path so we can allow our focus to get us big gains on our goals. Well, now we come full circle back to the idea of focus and the nuts and bolts of how to keep it. Below are three ideas that can help us make progress in the area of focus. Pick and choose which of these will be most effective for you, and run with it.
I sometimes tell myself that I am going to commit to doing something, and that merely thinking the thought the one time will be enough to embed it in my mind. Wrong. That doesn’t work. I forget the commitment to myself in a fairly brief time. If we have the presence of mind to know what direction we should be heading in order to meet our goal, then we should remind ourselves about it often. I’ve adopted the habit of writing down my goals in four main life areas (Spiritual, Physical, Relational and Financial) every day. Grant Cardone, in his book, The 10X Rule, advocates the same idea, as do many others. It works well, and is definitely a tool to maintain progress over the long term.
This next one might ring familiar to you. I have been guilty of reading ideas in an article or book, and having irrationally high hopes for myself. In other words, I think I can just implement the concept right away at a high level, and it will immediately solve my problem. The reality, however, is that most good things take consistent practice to be beneficial in our lives. If I’ve been showing scattered effort for a while, I can’t just put a stake in the ground and say, “From now on, I will be laser-focused.” What will likely happen is that my resolve will be tested and broken temporarily, and I will get frustrated. A better way to implement changes, including focus, is to practice them as often as possible. For example, to get some focus practice in, the task could be something as simple as going for a drive. While you are driving, do nothing but, well, drive. Don’t listen to the radio, check your phone, talk to others, or even think of anything other than the drive to your destination. Seems silly, but it is actually a great exercise for your mind to latch onto one thing and stay with it until completion. If you want more on this subject, there are tons of info out there to be found by searching for “mindfulness,” which is a great tool for practicing focus.
Accountability is a great weapon in our arsenal. Telling somebody else about what you commit to do is a powerful motivator to actually carry it out, since you could lose face if you don’t. Your request could go something like this:
“I have been guilty of making goals, yet not keeping myself on the path to seeing those goals complete. Would you help me out by regularly checking in with me, to ask whether I am getting sidetracked or staying focused?”
Asking this of somebody you respect and with whom you have a good relationship can get you the help you need. They could simply set a reminder once a week to check in on you by simply sending you a text with “How’s your focus?” An added bonus is that this will likely draw you and the other person together over the shared journey toward the goal.
So, there you have three possible action items to aid you in your quest to be a more focused person. (As I was writing this out, I realized there was room for me to implement some of these action items better myself. I’m now looking forward to the benefit that I trust will come by doing so.)