Focus on what you want. This will get you to your goal or destination sooner. Today we will look at why focusing on what we want is important and some techniques that can help us focus better.
Why focusing on what you want is important
You have an important job interview scheduled for later today. In the morning you decided that you would leave the house at least half an hour earlier than you normally would to get to that address, as you didn’t want to take any chances. You’ve been rehearsing the interview in your mind for days. You were ready.
However, life got in the way. There were few things you ‘had to’ take care of at the last minute. As a result you got to the interview ten minutes late.
To cut the story short: the interview didn’t go well and you didn’t get the job. Was it because you were stressed out by being late and didn’t answer the questions as well as what you have rehearsed in your mind for the past few days?
Was it because the interviewer didn’t appreciate your being late? Most likely both.
If you didn’t let yourself get distracted, if you stayed focused on the interview that day, the outcome would have likely been very different. You will forever keep wondering.
Any time we let distractions get in, we tend to lose focus and this can negatively influence the outcomes.
The truth is, if you had an important interview or an important meeting to attend, there is probably no way you would let yourself get distracted to such a degree that you would actually be late. Yet, we tend to do it in many areas of our lives on a daily basis with other things. The outcome may not be as obvious as when you are late for a job interview, but the effect of the lack of focus could be as dramatic or even worse.
Imagine this. You are a blogger. You are working on your new blog. For the first couple of months you publish the content on your blog once a week. Then all of a sudden you are finding it hard to keep focus and motivation. Because of the sudden loss of focus, instead of publishing one blog post a week, you now post less and less frequently. Once a month, once every second month…
The end result? Total loss of interest and the project gets abandoned before it had a chance of succeeding. So, while not as dramatic as being late for the job interview, the consequences are potentially as disastrous. Instead of building a blog that could become your six figure income stream in a couple of years, you abandon it and have nothing to show for time and energy you invested into the project.
Do it several times with various goals in your life, and it can easily become a habit.
By the same token, we can also develop a habit of focusing on our project, by practicing it. It will become easier and easier to stay focused, the more we practice it.
It’s also easier to focus on our goal when we have a strong desire.
If that job interview was for some dream job that you wanted to get really, really badly, there would be no way you would let yourself be late for the interview. You would find any means necessary to be there on time and to be prepared the best you could.
If that blog was something that really strongly resonated with you, you would have no trouble finding the necessary time to keep publishing the content once a week.
Don’t confuse being busy with being productive
When I attended a time management course years go, I have learned some valuable techniques. One of the best was to block off periods of time where I would not be checking any incoming emails and would just focus on the task at hand. This is a really good idea and it works.
You would be surprised how much more you can get done when you stop reacting to incoming emails (or phone calls) for a period of time every day.
This is particularly important when you work for yourself. If you find yourself constantly logged into your email and Facebook accounts, you will never be able to focus on your project.
You can be busy doing ‘stuff’ all day long. At the end of the day you will be just mentally exhausted and have nothing to show for it.
Try this: give yourself a two hour window where you are logged off from email, from social accounts, your phone is in silent mode and your web browser (unless it’s essential to your work) is closed.
Try it once a day for a couple of weeks and see how much more work you get done in that period. You will likely be nicely surprised.
How to focus on what you want
Here are some more suggestions that I have tested and that work for me.
When you are busy working on your current task and a new idea pops up in your mind, write it down and keep going. This is also true with the ideas that are relevant to what you are currently working on.
When I work on a software project, I often get flashes of ideas of what else can be done to make this software as good as possible. Over the years I have disciplined myself to just write down these ideas in my digital notebook and continue with my current activity. This really helped me to stay focused, in fact stay in the zone, more times than I care to remember.
It’s a deceptively simple technique, and you will be surprised how much it can help if you practice it regularly.
Our lack of focus has a lot to do with the fact that our mind tends to wonder, if left to its own devices. If you start reacting to every incoming email, clicking on the links, going down another rabbit hole, you will never be able to get anything done.
We can train our minds with some simple exercises.
Get into a quiet place, where you won’t be distracted for ten to fifteen minutes. Find an object that you want to focus on and place it in front of you, about one to two meters away fro you. It could be a piece of fruit, a flower, a burning candle. Keep it simple. The simpler the better.
Sit comfortably and just look at the object for a few minutes. You will find that as you try to focus on that object, all sorts of thoughts will start entering your mind. Try not to give them much attention. Welcome each thought and let it go away. Keep focusing on the object in front of you.
At first you will probably find it very hard to stay focused for even a few seconds. But if you persevere, you will find it easier with each day, each week, to stay focused on that one object for longer. As you improve your ability to focus on that object, you will also improve your ability to stay focused on other tasks in your life, including your major goals.
Instead of using a physical object, you can also focus on your breathing.
It can also help you stay focused on a goal if you visualize yourself as already being/having the end result of your goal daily (for example, using Napoleon Hill’s six steps technique). In fact this is one of the greatest secrets of many achievers in any field.
I also like using my Green Dot Technique for important projects.
The other thing that can help you stay focused on important goals is self-discipline. Focus and self-discipline can feed off each other.
I think you may also enjoy this short video from Brendon Burchard:
Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want
This is just as important. If you focus on what you don’t want, you are just wasting your energy and taking the attention away from the things you do want.
But it goes much deeper than that. If you put a lot of attention on something, there is a much greater likelihood you will actually get it – whether this is something you want or something you don’t want.
Only focus on what you want. Everything else is a distraction.
Learn to say no to the less important stuff.
Sometimes the lack of focus can be brought about by our doubts and fears.
Focus on why you can, not on why you can’t.
“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” Henry Ford
Cultivate the good feelings and practice gratitude regularly. Being grateful for what we already have (or are) is a wonderful tool to receive more of what we want (or want to become).
Why you should focus on one thing
For the same reason that focus is important in the first place. The more you focus on something, the more likely you are to achieve it.
The focus should be proportional to the size of a task. Focus on the task until its completion.
The implication of this is that if you are working on a major project, you don’t want to take on any other large projects until this one is completed.
This is particularly important if you are a solo entrepreneur.
I love these famous quotes from Jim Rohn:
“How long should you try? Until.”
“Give whatever you are doing and whoever you are with the gift of your attention.”
“Wherever you are, be there.”
Great advice from a great man.
Until next time. Stay focused.