Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Focus - a concentrated state of mind
Today's world offers us a myriad of possibilities, and at the same time, numerous distractions. It's more important than ever to practice focusing our attention, intention, and effort. With all the uncertainty and disruption around our way of life, our work, our home, and our relationships, it's helpful to take some time off to reflect.
By doing this, we can take stock of what we're achieving and where we want to go. This will enable us to keep our goals and ambitions at the forefront of our minds. It's all too easy to write down an x amount of goals at the beginning of the year and to forget them as the year progresses. To maintain momentum and to stay driven, we need to make sure that we attain a high level of focus. We also need to make sure that we maintain this focus throughout the year as opposed to doing very well for a period of time and then tailing off (an area of improvement for me).
As we approach the end of 2020, it's a good opportunity to assess how this year has been on a personal and professional level. Make sure to avoid being too hard on yourself because this year has been particularly challenging. Businesses have been disrupted, households have been impacted, and life has changed significantly.
In terms of creating the right conditions for our focus, it's crucial to be very clear about what we want to achieve, why we want to achieve those things, and how our achievement of these things ties into a bigger picture. Without a bigger picture in mind, it's often very difficult to keep a high level of focus. Start by assessing every single one of your habits. Some habits reduce our focus, while others increase it. Make a list of all your habits and carefully check the frequency of these habits and their impact on you. Do you start your day off with the right intention? Are you hydrating? Are you moving enough? Are you eating well? Are you focusing on one task at a time? Are you clear on what you need to achieve on a given day? Do you give yourself time off at the end of each day? Do you have a ritual every evening that allows you to unwind? Is your home clean? Is your sleeping environment conducive to a good night's rest? Are your daily interactions with people contributing to a higher state of being? Are you practicing stillness during the day? Do you stretch? Do you listen/watch/read positive content? Are you spending too much time on social media? Do you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts? Do you worry too much? Are you stressed or anxious? Do you spend a large part of your day worrying about all the things that could go wrong?
The list of questions can go on and on, but no matter how long it gets, each of these questions is equally important. I think we all need to get into the habit of paying more attention to every component of our life and that includes our daily habits. Why? Because in order to be focused, we have to create the right conditions. If we haven't slept well for a couple of days, we can't expect to be focused at work. If we're not hydrating or eating well, we can't expect ourselves to focus. If our interactions with others drain us, then we won't have the energy to maintain a high level of focus. If we're stressed all the time, then we can't dedicate our attention to our goals. You get the point.
Execution relies heavily on how focused we are (the more focused we are, the more we can execute) and focus requires daily attention on our habits (tracking and monitoring), the right intentions (why are we doing what we're doing), and continuous commitment in the form of effort (how are our daily goals linked to a bigger, overarching ambition?).
1. Commit to creating the right conditions for being focused
2. Understand the importance of working on one task at a time
3. Ask yourself how your daily habits contribute to the quality of your life
4. Focus on increasing and maintaining your overall focus