Have you ever had trouble starting something or maybe struggled to finish something that you have started? You’re not alone. All of us at one time or another experienced this. Not being able to concentrate on a specific goal or task at hand or even figuring out the correct course of action to take.
So, how do you know if you have a problem focusing? If you have tasks or projects that you have not finished or lost interest in or simply did not follow through on, you have a lack of focus.
A repetition of these experiences can often make you feel like a failure because you just don’t seem to be able to accomplish anything meaningful. However, this is not the truth.
If you learn to focus properly, you have the ability to become successful at anything you do. It is a skill you can learn.
Why is focus so important?
Focus helps you to do the following:
1) Set Clear Objectives
2) Take Action
3) Identify Specific & Productive steps to take
4) Keep Track of your progress
5) Avoid Distractions
6) Work Efficiently.
There are 2 types of focus what I call Big Picture (broad) Focus and Action Steps (narrow) Focus.
Big Picture (broad) Focus is seeing the big picture. Looking at the vision, dream, goal or project from a distance allows you to gain a clearer idea of what you want to achieve and the best way to make it happen.
Ask yourself the following:
1) What do I want to accomplish?
2) Why do I want to accomplish it?
3) What will such a vision/ dream/ goal /project do for me or allow me to do?
4) Is it challenging enough to be worth the effort?
5) Is it realistic & achievable?
6) What possible obstacles might I face as I pursue this vision/ dream/ goal /project?
7) What types of challenges might threaten my focus & what can I do about them?
8) What steps can I take to ensure I stay motivated?
Action Steps (narrow) Focus means taking one thing at a time. Once you are clear on your big picture and assessed the challenges, possibilities and threats, it’s time to narrow your focus on the steps you need to take to bring your vision, dream, goal or project to fruition. Take one step at a time and only focus on what needs to be done.
So, it is crucial that you have a clear and detailed plan of action.
However, you can have the best vision and plan, but without taking actual action nothing will come to fruition. This is the reason why I call narrow focus, Action Steps Focus, because you need to take action and execute every step of your plan.
What you focus on, you create in your life. So, it is critical that you focus on things that are worthwhile and will improve your life.
The 10 keys to creating focus in your life are the following:
1) Your commitment to your vision and the process (the action steps) which is essential to create the necessary focus and motivation to keep you going.
2) Set achievable, measurable and realistic goals or steps. As you achieve your action steps, it will inspire you to move towards the next step.
3) Stay focused on the positive and pay attention to the benefits and gains you achieve along the way with each action step.
4) Keep improving your focus by working at it every day.
5) Without enthusiasm you might not find the journey interesting enough to continue. When you first set your goal or vision, enthusiasm gives you the zest or “oomph” to tackle things head on. As time progresses, it is natural to lose some of the “oomph”. However, if you learn how to keep yourself enthused and recommit regularly to your goal or vision, you will be adding fuel to carry on. Positive Self-Talk also helps you to stay in the “oomph” mode. So, get excited about what you are doing and working towards.
6) The saying “Your attitude determines your altitude” means that with a positive attitude nothing will ever seem hopeless or a waste of time or even too big a challenge. If you do encounter a setback, you will get right back up and move on.
7) Focus takes tremendous self-discipline. You have to be strong enough to stick to your plan, track your progress, be objective to change it if necessary and execute it daily. You have to be dedicated to avoid temptations and self-doubt, negative thoughts but still be flexible if the unexpected happens.
8) Avoid Procrastination. Procrastination is like a thief stealing your results. If you tend to over think things before doing; stop. You’re doing yourself no favors and you will set yourself up for failure.
9) Be consistent. Consistency is absolutely crucial to your focus. Spending 30 minutes (or an hour per day) on your action steps, brings your vision closer every day. 30 min or an hour every day seems insignificant but in a 5-day period equates to 150 min or 5 hours spent focused towards your vision.
It’s like exercising for 20 min per day or brushing your teeth for 3 min per day. Done consistently every day calculates to 140 min exercise in a week and 21 min brushing your teeth. If you do it daily, it is not much of an effort and you get the benefit of improving your fitness level every day & having fresh breath. However, if you exercise once a week for 140 min or brush your teeth only once a week for 21 min, you will certainly not get fit and your teeth will be full of plaque and your breath will not smell great!
10) Tenacity is perfectly explained in the saying “Quitters never win and winners never quit!”. Creating and keeping a strong focus is hard work but is a skill that will serve you for the rest of your life. Believe in yourself and your ability to succeed at whatever you do.
Therefore it is extremely important what you decide to focus on and work towards. So, if your vision, dream, goal or project is very important to you and you keep the 10 keys to create focus in mind, you will achieve success.