If you’re like me you probably have a long list of things you would like to do. At times, you might feel like you’re not making progress toward any of them. During these moments, I like to step back and focus.
I imagine this isn’t earth shattering news. But for some reason, it’s something I need to revisit on a regular basis. It’s easy to get caught up on things that aren’t important and miss the opportunity to create exciting change in our lives.
I was reminded of the power of focus while doing my 2015 year-end review. While I made a lot of progress and accomplished some big changes, I missed the mark on some important goals. I had too many goals and needed to clarify my priorities. I needed to focus.
I’m not perfect and when given the choice, I’ll work on goals I want to work on instead of the ones I need to work on. For example, I hit a home run on my reading goal and failed miserably at my decluttering goal. I would rather read a book than sort through 15+ years of mostly unnecessary paperwork.
Focusing your attention on one goal at a time helps to achieve it more quickly. Each time a task is interrupted it takes considerable time and effort to get back to where you left off. When we focus, we have small, quick wins which help build our confidence and momentum.
Simplify Your Focus
1 – Know Your Priorities
Take time to define the three most important goals in your life. Where can you focus your effort to make the greatest impact? I need to focus on downsizing and decluttering so that we can get on with remodeling our home. I also need to focus on building a business so Jer doesn’t make me get a J-O-B. 😉
2 – Think Long Term
When considering where you should focus your energy, I find it helpful to ask this question. How will this activity affect my life five years from now? Answering honestly will help cut out a lot of garbage that’s not important.
3 – One at a Time
This can be a difficult rule to follow, especially if you have big, long-term goals. With big goals, it’s helpful to break them down into smaller, more attainable tasks.
Our big goals are downsizing and remodeling. When I think of everything I need to do, it becomes overwhelming. So I focus on one room at a time. When I’m working on that room, there’s no need to worry about the rest.
4 – Find the Time
We’ve been meaning to remodel our home since we bought it, but it’s been hard to find the time. While there is truth to that statement, we’ve also done a great job of procrastinating. Pay attention to areas where you spend significant amounts of time that pay small dividends, like television and Facebook.
5 – Plan and Track
Planning and tracking are great habits to improve your focus. As the saying goes, failing to plan is planning to fail. No matter how disciplined we are, a plan will help us maintain our focus.
At the beginning of each month, I write down my focus month and list the steps I must take to achieve my goals. I follow the same process for each week, and each day. I use Evernote so I have access from anywhere.
Tracking your progress is key. There are thousands of fitness, weight loss, and budgeting apps on the market because they work. Find a way to track your goals and you’ll certainly succeed.
While we could knock out a project in record time if we spent every waking moment on one goal, long-term it’s better to maintain balance. My health and my marriage take precedence over any goal I’m trying to achieve. Even though I’d love to shave a month off of that remodeling project, scheduling time for sleep, fitness, and connecting with my spouse come first.
Next time you’re falling behind on a goal, check your focus. You can build momentum by pulling back. Understanding your priorities and the long-term effect they will have builds excitement. Focusing on one thing at a time by clearing your schedule and creating a plan will help you stay on track. Never lose sight of what’s most important. You don’t want to lose the wonderful things you already have. Now go forth and focus!
When have you successfully used focus to accomplish a task that seemed overwhelming?
Tell us about it in the comments below.