Find Focus in a World Full of Distraction
After you’ve determined what you want and how to get it, without focus your dreams and desires will always be fleeting. Find out ways to keep your focus tight.
Attention Gaps Lead to Life Relapse
It just dawned on me that I have this weird tendency when it comes to attention. I have the need to know what’s going on in every corner of each room that I step into. That would be good if I were a detective, but in my life, not so much. I think this is part street smart, part strange obligation. On one hand it’s wise to have a look over every environment. Sitting in a restaurant while enjoying a late night pancake dinner as the joint was being robbed taught me that. On the other hand, I have a desire to acknowledge everyone in a space. After living just short of four decades this has just dawned on me. I grew up under what would be called nothing less than neglect. I would attempt to read something to my mother that I’d written in school and she would give no response. I’d attempt to show a good grade on a paper or tell her about my school day and she’d stare into the t.v., never acknowledging my presence, never saying a word. So now as an adult I feel the need to never cause anyone to feel ignored.
When I’m in Target with 700 other people, I feel that I have to look at each person in the eye and acknowledge their presence. I have a hard time hanging up the phone with a good friend because I don’t want them to feel neglected by me in any way. Sounds a little strange and unrealistic right? But we all have our own weird tendancies as it relates to time and attention.
If you grew up in a home where you were constantly criticized and berated, you may notice that when you walk into a room your attention is on what people might be thinking of you. This can distract you from being yourself on a first date or being present in that important meeting at work. We owe it to ourselves to take a good inventory of the things we’re telling ourselves, and not just on the surface but the unconscious things that affect our behavior everyday. Now that I am aware of this weird need I have to acknowledged the whole universe, I can now let that go. If I choose to focus on my shopping list instead of sharing a smile with every woman I bump shoulders with in Target, that’s okay. Wow, how freeing is that! I wonder what scripts replay in people’s heads as they go through life. What really has your attention and is it serving you? Here are a few tips that can help you get focused and get you to places you haven’t yet been.
Five Ways to Find Your Focus
- Focus on the unconscious scripts mentioned above. If you came up under a demanding drill sergeant parent who never allowed you a moment of rest, explore if that has something to do with your need to occupy every moment of your life with busyness. You can rewrite any script to fit where you are now and what you want for yourself now. That’s the beauty of being an adult. Create new patterns that will bring you new outcome.When was the last time you asked what you was on your mind? That’s right, had a conversation with yourself and asked what held your attention. Do you find yourself easily distracted or is it hard to stay focused on one thing for a long period of time? As we go through life we find that focus is a key to completing anything, without it we can have no advancement in our lives. Today, ask yourself what has your attention, if it doesnt serve you, let it go.
- Decide when and where you’re going to spend your time….ahead of time. Did you see the movie Minority Report? During one scene Tom Cruise walks through a mall as the billboards and advertisements around him come alive and begin to pitch new sales to him. This might sound far fetched but really it is not too different from reality today. You receive texts, emails, and Facebook postings constantly all grabbing for your attention. These attention grabbers are not bad things but if you’re not careful, you can find yourself attempting to staying focused on what you are presently doing. It’s understandable why it would be wise to determine in advance where you’ll spend your time so you don’t get off kilter. For example, you can determine I’m going to jump on SistaStrong for 10 minutes each day this week, (shameless plug), I’m also going to read 20 minutes each day this week, and play Wii with my kids over the weekend. And then determine you wont add anything more to this list. There will always be the unforeseen things that come up that require your attention, which is all the more reason why it’s good to schedule the most important. Granted you cannot schedule every moment of your life but this tool will get you conscious about how you are spending your time. Meaningful time is the key. Sidebar: Be careful with Facebook, Twitter and the like. I love Facebook, but I’ve determined that I stay off of it when I have big projects or a major life occurrence going on. Being on social networks without balance can sap your time away from the areas that are most important. Setting time to be on them is key.
- Work when it’s time to work and play when it’s time to play. If you tend to be a work-a-holic, you must balance your work with play. If you tend to take your play time into your work time, you’ve got to scale that back. The key here is being present. When you’re at work, don’t talk with friends for hours online, during your personal time don’t worry about the mounds of work accumulating on your desk. Learning the art of balance will be sure to enrich your life and help keep you focused.
- Make a list and check it twice. This key is one of the most influential to staying focused. Have you ever gone to the grocery store with no grocery list? This is a good way to later wonder what you were thinking when bought sardines and peanut butter. Try jotting down a list of all that you need before you go to the store. You’ll find that your money stretches further and when you get home you’ll have ingredients you can actually eat together. All joking aside making a list takes a few extra minutes, which during a busy day seems counterproductive, the reality however is you are saving time by doing so. Instead of worrying about your to do list, make a list and determining what needs to be done today, tomorrow, by Friday, etc. This will not only help you complete your list within your timeline, but will also give you a sense of accomplishment as you check off your tasks as they are complete.
- Pat yourself on the back. Have you ever needed to speak to a friend and no one was available? Have you ever wished someone could see the little victories you’ve accomplished through a long and grueling process? Guess what, you always have someone that is there to witness the ends and outs of your journey. That would be you. You may be the only one who truly understands all that you are juggling, all that you have to push through to get from one level to the next. Congratulate yourself. Through the very long and tedious process of building this website for SistaStrong, maintaining it, promoting it, designing for it and the research that I’ve put into it, I’ve learned if I don’t cheer myself on I may not receive applause. So today give yourself a “Bravo.” Creatively and vigilantly stepping out on your dream, getting food on the table, raising healthy kids, completing your project at work, being a good person, all of these things deserve their own round of applause. ((((APPLAUSE)))) Compliment yourself today.
SistaStrong Founder & Moderator