“Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you’re going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus.” – Oprah Winfrey
Why is it that women often feel that they need permission to focus on themselves? Some of us tend to give attention to everyone and everything and put ourselves on the backburner. Why is this? Is this perhaps a result of our not feeling good enough about ourselves? Are you sick and tired of hearing or seeing someone else reach their goals while you’re left silently crying, ‘what about me?’ Or do we believe that we don’t matter?
In the midst of COVID-19, many of us have learned a thing or two. Yes, there is some conversation about things opening back up, and many are excited. But what about opening the lens of our focus? Often, the challenges we face in reaching goals are not due to incompetence, not having the right resources, or needing more information. It is, instead, a result of what we are giving our attention to. Specifically, where are you investing your focus?
Distractions come in many forms, shapes, and sizes. Without a clear roadmap for your goals to help you stay on task, you will indeed become derailed and get thrown off-track. May I also say that all distractions are not bad, but if it takes you off your purpose and interferes with your focus, it is a distraction. Is life just passing you by, or in everything we have gone through, have you established spiritual disciplines that empower you to create a new vision of the goals God has purposed for you? Let that marinate as we look to explore some nuggets to starve distractions.
Wisdom Nuggets to Starve Your Distractions
Imagine you have completed your daily tasks and just sat down to study a webinar for a new project that requires you to learn and master a new set of skills. You are incredibly excited, and it has taken some time to get in the flow of the new program, and you’re in it. Suddenly, your phone rings, disrupting your flow. You immediately try to pick up where you left off and as you regain your focus, someone interrupts you to ask a question, and again you are distracted. You answer it quickly and then go back to your webinar. While these are some of the lighter distractions we face, it is beneficial that we learn the art of starving our distractions.
This, my friends, cannot be effectively accomplished on the run. No matter how busy you are, it would be best to visualize what action steps are necessary for you to achieve your goals. Here are two ways to do this proactively.
First, you must be intentional in identifying your main distractions. Would you mind taking a moment to write down what they are as they happen? Once you know what they are, you can create a system whereby you begin to eliminate or at least minimize them. The second way is prioritizing your goals which creates awareness for you to learn when to say no. It is essential to make sure you are not merely saying yes to people or projects that may interfere with your focus. The reality is that you choose to follow your goals or follow the intentions of other people.
The Art of Feeding Your Focus
While our brains have a limited capacity to focus, we must carefully choose what we focus on. Often when we hear the word focus, we turn our attention to the potential pitfalls of multitasking and the need to manage our time more effectively. For just a moment, I would like to stretch your thinking beyond time management techniques and give intentional thought to how much time you spend each day focusing on the goals you’ve set for yourselves. Now that you have given thought to it, I want to introduce you to the opponent of your dreams, whose name is D-I-S-T-R-A-C-T-I-O-N-S.
So that we starve our distractions and feed our focus, we must do the following:
Be very clear about YOUR goal
Be very clear of YOUR vision
Be very clear on what YOU wish to achieve and why
When we get clear on our goals and gain the necessary clarity, here are a few things we can add to our toolkit to master the art of focus.
Take steps to learn the art of mindful practices to increase awareness of your level of attention. In doing so, you will be able to assess how well you prioritize, train your mind to concentrate and, implement change where needed.
Discipline yourself to focus on one thing at a time. When our mind is all over the place, it is challenging to give our best attention to the task at hand. Prioritize your To-Do List and master focusing only on the task at hand.
Take steps to conquer procrastination. Effective time management practices help to eliminate postponing jobs and increases our focus.
7-Day Action Plan
To keep your goals in mind, understanding why you need to stay focused is necessary. Over the next seven days, reflect on possible action steps you can implement to master your ability to focus.
Without a doubt, the world we live in is full of distractions. Unrecognized, they could be extremely detrimental. On the flip-side, our most significant potential is our ability to master the art of starving our distractions to feed our focus. This week’s Action Step: Give yourself permission to discover the power of focus by giving attention to what you need to live a life of purpose on purpose!