As you read this post, take a moment to assess how well you are focusing today. Are you tackling your top priorities? Are you instead focusing on lesser priorities or allowing yourself to be distracted?
Focus is a present-moment pursuit. It requires your attention and awareness – first, to identify your priorities and then, to stick to them. Keep your focus strong each day and you’ll find yourself moving forward.
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Sometimes, you can be your own worst enemy. One example is when you consciously and intentionally distract yourself from situations and tasks that need to get handled. You can do this when you really do not want to do something, you can’t get yourself to focus or stress or overwhelm is getting the better of you. Intentional distraction does not serve you. It only delays the inevitable and can create complications that you can do without.
Be aware of when you are distracting yourself by learning to recognize when you are being distracted and what is causing your distraction. When you are the cause, find a way to bring yourself back to center and remind yourself of why what you have to do must get done. Intentional distraction is a fool’s errand. It may keep you from something for a while, but ultimately slows you down and the situation and task is still there waiting for your attention.
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I remember hearing the phrase “one thing at a time” throughout my childhood. It was a way adults communicated to us that we should not rush. I guess today’s version of the phrase is “fully present in the moment”.
How are you doing in being present to your tasks at work? Do you rush through things or do you focus, as you need to? It may be worthwhile, in this holiday week, to try out doing one thing at a time. It could have some benefits for you and provide you with valuable insights on how to get things done.
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Do you feel that the only way to keep up with life is to go faster and faster? That approach can wear you out and get you nowhere fast. What if the key to success and maximum productivity is to slow down your life? Here are five steps you can take to slow your life down.
1. Every two hours, bring yourself fully to the present moment and assess if you are at your best.
2. Identify the signs of your stress and, when they show up, stop and lower your stress.
3. Sharpen your ability to focus on what you are doing.
4. Be ruthlessly realistic with your time.
5. Create one “slow day” each month where you go at a leisurely and pleasurable pace, doing something you love.
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A recent New York Times article, Graduating And Looking For Your Passion? Just Be Patient. addresses the ever-present call to find your passion. The focus of the article is on new graduates, but there are bits of wisdom in it for all of us. The article suggests that finding your passion is not achieved with a flash of insight and a trumpet blast, but rather by fostering your interests and sense of purpose.
Throughout my time coaching, I have seen people paralyzed by the call to find their passion. They think they have missed it and have no idea how to find it. Take a few steps towards what you’d like to do and trust your intuition. As with many things in life, persistence and focus will get you there. Don’t let the expectations or admonitions of others trip you up. Make your own rules. Your passion is waiting for you.
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Where are you going? Without an aim, the steps you take can lack direction.
With an aim, your energy is focused, you know where you are going and your probability of success improves. Better to not leave things to chance. Set your sights on something and move towards it.
What is your aim for the month of June? For the remainder of the year?
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Reading moves you forward – it is a means of communication, a way of increasing your knowledge and a way of connecting to the world.
Reading takes time and your time is precious. How much time does reading your emails and other correspondence take for you in a day? Do you try to read way too much, thinking that you must in order to keep up? Do you use reading as a distraction that does not serve you – aimlessly browsing on the web or reading things that you have no need for? Do you make sure you read the things that will keep your career moving forward? Do you give your full attention to what you are reading?
Be aware of your reading habits. Make sure they are serving you. Reading is central – use it to your maximum advantage.
photo: Dmitry Ratushny, stocksnap.io
There is something to be said for maintaining momentum. Momentum is about movement towards something. You know what your goals are for your life and managing. To reach them requires focused attention.
Pick a significant goal you have for you or your team. How much momentum exists around it? Are you going at the pace you want? Are you satisfied with your progress? How do you create momentum? Some ways I have found useful in creating momentum include: scheduling periodic check-ins to assess progress and course-correct, if I need to; scheduling specific times to work on something; identifying when I have to schedule more time and “push” to get something done; eliminating distractions; and keeping my focus on priorities
How do you keep it going?
photo: todd quackenbush, unsplash.com
Sometimes important things disappear from our memory and focus. Lapses are usually temporary, but they can seriously disrupt things. All of a sudden it’s Wednesday and you realize you missed an important deadline or appointment on Tuesday.
Many things can cause you to lapse: distraction, overwhelm, stress. What can you do? The best defense against lapsing may be that you live fully present in the moment. Stay grounded and you will remember that appointment. In reality, that is not a constant state, is it? Short of it, you can do your best to manage stress, see the signs that you are moving into overwhelm and improve your focus on what needs to happen within your day.
Lapses happen. However, best that our lapses be few. Lapses do you no good. Lessen their probability and stay on your game.
photo: “Forget Me Nots”, franky242, FreeDigitalPhotos.net
How do you find the shortest path without sacrificing quality (or yourself)? Time is such a valuable commodity these days it behooves you to use it well. The shortest path involves preparation, efficiency, focus, course correction when needed and team alignment.
When you start a project, ask yourself and your team what the shortest path to completion and success is. Just by asking the question, you will better your chances of finding the shortest path.
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