Three Quick Ways To Fuel Your Focus


Focus. It seems like I hear so many people talking about needing to do it... but rarely taking the steps to create an environment where their physical and mental energy are aligned with their most important work. Some argue that it's their coworker's fault, or they have to be available to their boss, or they need to leave their email notifications on in case of an emergency... the list goes on and on.

I'm not immune to those moments when I should be more proactive about building space around me where I can focus on the task in front of me. This week is a perfect example. I had a wonderful Labor Day weekend, and am now looking at a four day work week where I need to get so much done. I can almost feel myself wanting to go with the flow instead of being intentional about getting the right work done because it will be hard to do.

In moments such as these, I've found that I can do three quick things to help me find the motivation from within to focus and stay the course instead of succumbing to any of a hundred distractions. They include:

Look Back.
Reflect on an experience you had this past weekend where your mind was not distracted by thoughts of work. This was probably due to you getting the right tasks done while at work and your mind being able to relax. Or recall that day (or hour) when you took the steps to really focus on the task in front of you, and how you felt a strong sense of accomplishment when you were finished. Don't you want more moments like that this week?

Look Forward.
When you leave your work area at the end of this week, do you want that nagging feeling of unfinished tasks following you through the weekend? Think of an activity you plan to engage in this weekend that you won't enjoy as much if you don't get certain things done at work. Do you really want those thoughts limiting your ability to enjoy time with family... or even those moments of personal renewal that are so critical when you have such a crazy busy schedule?

Look Up.
Focus doesn't mean you put your head down and work like mad to get the 37 different tasks done on your list each day. Focus means that you are paying attention to the right work at the right moment. Are you taking time during the day to stop and reflect on what (or who) most needs your attention? Failing to look up means that you might get lots of work done, but not the tasks that would give you a real sense of accomplishment and peace this weekend...and isn't that what you really want?

For more related to focus:
The Four F's of Focus
Balance, Blend, Or Blur: Keep Your Focus On The Big 3