Sharpening Your Focus
Today’s article is all about Sharpening Your Focus and some of the methods you can use to help with accomplishing this. What do you think of when you think about improving your ability to “focus”?
Eliminating External Distractions
There are obvious encumbrances to focus on: External factors like distractions and interruptions. To remove these, you first need to recognize what they are and then exercise the self-discipline to banish them from your “space” – at least for periods of time each day.
These distractions can include anything from email to people stopping by. They’re easy to identify, so you only need to devise a plan to deal with them and then carry it out. For some of us, saying “no” to old companions like Facebook and Snapchat is easier said than done. But the results are definitely worth the effort.
Eliminating Internal Blocks
These blocks aren’t so easy to identify, and there are plenty of them.
One type of block is a perceptual block. This happens when we perceive things incorrectly. For instance, when you don’t clearly understand what the problem is. You can come up with ineffectual solutions or not enough solutions. Has that ever happened to you?
Another type of internal block is emotional. Feelings can interfere with our thinking if we let them take over. For instance, have you ever been in a meeting where you didn’t understand the point that was being made? But you were afraid to ask because you felt you might look foolish? How about if you’re involved in something that requires taking a risk? Have you ever been convinced that making a certain move was the correct thing to do? But you didn’t do it because it might not work out? Or, just the opposite, have you ever been so excited about something that you didn’t think it through before taking action?
These are just some examples where emotions can get in way of focus and clear thinking. You can probably think of many more. I know I sure can!
Another block to clear focus is not having complete or correct information. It’s very frustrating to put a lot of time and energy into a project and then realize that the conclusion will be flawed due to a lack of supporting information. Sharpening Your Focus will help you with staying on task so you can get more done.
It’s a good idea to take a little time to sort out where you’re coming from perceptually, emotionally, and practically before initiating a project.
The Habit of Successful Focus
In their excellent book, The Power of Focus, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt discussed the idea that successful living is all about cultivating the habit of focusing on the right things.
Here’s what they say:
“Life doesn’t just happen to be. It’s all about choices and how you respond to every situation. If you are in the habit of continually making bad choices, disaster often occurs. Your everyday choices ultimately determine whether you end up living with abundance or living in poverty. Consistent choices lay the foundation for your habits. And your habits play a major role in how your future unfolds.”
A habit is anything you do so often that it becomes easy. The rule of thumb is that it takes about 21 days to create a new habit. A really interesting fact is that once you do something 21 to 30 times, it’s harder not to do it than to do it.
Reprogram to Focus
The good news is that you can begin to reprogram yourself anytime. Once you learn about yourself – how you think and feel, and what you want in life – it will be easier to make the choices that will turn into habits that fulfill your goals. By Sharpening Your Focus you will have more time to do the things you really care about in your life.
Think about that. If you only changed four habits every year, in five years you would have 20 positive new habits. Imagine how much your life would change with 20 positive habits. You can make these changes in any area you choose. It could be your health, income, relationships, or any other area. 20 new habits could vastly change your overall lifestyle.
Here’s something that may be news to you: your outward behavior is the truth, while your inner perception of your behavior is often an illusion. What that means is that sometimes we let ourselves off the hook and see things in a rosier light than they really are. The first thing you should do to create new, positive habits is to make a list of all habits you think are unproductive. It’s important that you understand what’s holding you back so that you can change it. Seeing what you need to change and really committing to changing it are the two things you need to do to change any habit.
The 3 Step Process To Target
Canfield, Hansen, and Hewitt have created an easy-to-understand, three-step process for creating new habits:
- Clearly identify your bad or unproductive habits – be very honest when you look at your habits and think about the long-term consequences.
For instance, as a smoker you might say,” How bad can a few cigarettes a day be?” but stop to think that 10 cigarettes a day for 20 years equal 73,000 cigarettes. That’s a dramatic example. Think about the difference that changing a few of your own habits will make in your life.
- Define your new successful habit – The easiest way to change an old bad habit is to replace it with a new, good habit. Choose your new habit and picture all the benefits and rewards you will get from adopting your new habit.
- Create a three-part action plan – For instance, if you’re giving up smoking, you could read some literature on how to stop smoking, substitute another activity for smoking, and start using a nicotine patch.
You must identify your old habit, clearly define your habit, and take action. Start with one habit. Focus on your three action steps and put them into practice. When you’re comfortable with the new habit, you can move to the next habit you want to change.
You may have heard the expression,” what we concentrate on, expands.”
It is so true. If you are looking for help in this area, I offer a FREE 15-minute consulting appointment to see if we can work together to help solve your focus issues. Contact me by using this link: FREE CONSULTATION