Discover the Joy of Being More Focused
How well are you able to focus? Have you ever been so focused on what you are doing that hours slip by without notice? One of the reasons I set up reminders ten minutes prior to appointments is that I easily get so focused on work that I lose track of time, not to mention being oblivious to what’s going on around me.
Work isn’t the only area I have a tendency to be ultra-focused. I’ve been known to be in the zone while walking and completely miss where I was supposed to turn! And as frightening as it may sound, I’ve had the same kind of experience while driving.
If you are one of those not-so-focused folks, what I’ve described might be harder for you to relate to. Focus seems to come easier to some personalities (D’s & C’s) than others. If you are an I or an S, you may have to work harder when it comes to focusing, but it’s worth the effort. Focus really is your friend!
The Skinny on Focus
So, what is FOCUS? It’s the ability to concentrate your attention on something.
As you well know, there are no shortage of distractions! Phone calls, emails, kids or spouses if you are working from home, a fascinating Facebook post, or a Linkedin message, being hungry, or tired are just some of the many concentration stealers.
If you want to be more focused, it’s beneficial to do everything in your power to limit your external distractions. That may mean silencing your phone, muting your computer, or shutting your door – whatever you need to do to eliminate the interruptions.
Often the biggest distractions are the internal ones – the thoughts in your head! Intentionally managing your thoughts takes desire, effort, and practice, but it’s possible.
The motivation for improving focus is often to reach a goal, complete a project, or to be more productive. These are not bad reasons, but here’s the real joy being a more focused person. Being focused helps you to…
- Reduce stress
- Produce better quality work
- Cultivate momentum
- Tap into your creativity
- Eliminate excuses
- Experience more peace
- Practice good boundaries
- Be more present
- Increase your confidence
- Feel less overwhelmed
- Concentrate your efforts – that’s powerful!
If you are serious about developing your ability to focus consider the following:
1. Get Clear!
It’s hard to focus when you lack clarity! Are you clear about your…
- Spiritual gifts
- Fear Monster & who God created you to BE
When you have clarity, focus follows.
2. Do What You LOVE
There’s something that takes place when you are engaged in activities you really enjoy, focus, is what naturally happens. Think about being with that special someone or reading a can’t-put-it-down book.
Unfortunately, every passion has tasks associated with it that aren’t that fun or desirable. For example, I’m in the zone when I am coaching a client or writing. However, when it comes to dealing with the accounting side of things, which is equally necessary, there’s always something else I’d rather be doing and that affects my focus. While bookkeeping, I am much more distractable.
Tasks like this are perfect candidates for delegation! If you’re not able to delegate, then try re-framing those tasks. Instead of thinking I “have to” do bookkeeping, think I “get to.” For me, rather than focusing on how much I dislike bookkeeping, I try to focus on how fortunate I am to have thriving businesses that needs bookkeeping. I’ve also discovered that focusing on those less than desirable tasks for a quick 30 minutes a week is far more tolerable than putting it off and having to catch up!
Perhaps your current job requires you to do many tasks that you aren’t passionate about. Maybe it’s time to explore what your dream job would be and begin taking steps towards something better suited to your personality, strengths, interests, and values. Imagine, what if your work was more fulfilling? Why not start here?
If you don’t have the luxury of switching jobs or eliminating tasks from your life that you dislike, it’s even more important to include activities in your life that DO bring you joy! Maybe it’s time with friends, a massage, reading, hiking, or creating. Whatever that is for you, carve out space for what you love to do!
3. Train Your Brain
Worry is simply a negative form of meditation. Replaying undesirable scenarios in your head – that’s a form of meditation. Most of us are experts at meditating – we just don’t meditate on the right things. Whatever you focus on naturally grows, so be mindful of what you are dwelling on – especially in these crazy times!
Throughout scripture, it talks about meditating on God’s Word and who God is. It also urges you to take your thoughts captive. (2 Cor. 10:5)
When my mind is focused on Him, it gives me hope and peace. (Is 26:3) It reminds me of His love and care for me. It encourages me to pursue what He’s called me to.
In order to train your brain, you must be intentional! I promise it won’t just happen. Here are some fantastic ways to deliberately train your brain…
- Try yoga – here’s a great place to start
- Begin meditating – I love the Abide App
- Play games – word search, memory games, crossword puzzles, or sudoku
- Get outdoors!
- Memorize scripture
- Put a puzzle together
- Doodle for 15 minutes
- Practice mindfulness
- Listen – really listen!
- Regularly take breaks
Don’t forget your brain is a muscle and it needs to be exercised just like your body does to function at its best.
4. Unpack the Boxes!
A few years back we moved into a new home and then immediately began remodeling. It was messy and disorganized! Boxes that we were not yet able to unpack lined the walls of our bonus room. The longer the boxes lingered, the less I noticed them. When I was finally able to unpack the boxes, it was crazy how much larger that room felt! In fact, I had a whole new perspective on what that room could be!
Beliefs are like those boxes. At one time they were stored in your head for a good reason, but now they just get in the way and keep you from operating out of your full potential. Once those thoughts are unpacked and removed, then you’re able to move on to the fun part; tackling life with happy, positive, and true thoughts!
Perhaps your boxes are packed with fears or past failures that you’ve not yet dealt with. Maybe they contain negative beliefs – perhaps some that others have planted in your head. Whatever is lurking inside your boxes, taking the time to unpack them and replace them with positive thoughts will significantly increase your ability to focus on the task at hand!
How has a lack of focus kept you from fully pursuing what God created you to do?
What would enable you to be more focused so you can move forward?