"Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus. "
I am finding it really hard to focus today! There are so many things to do, and I have been flitting from one to another without really getting down to anything in particular. I have certainly achieved quite a few things and have been able to tick off some items on my to-do list; however the most important item of the day, the writing of this article, has been left and left, although I have been thinking about how I should (that dreadful word!) be doing it all day! I know I will get it written before the end of the day, but this is really unlike me. I like to have things done at the earliest opportunity, not the last minute – so what is going on here?
Part of my problem is that I haven’t been following my own advice and getting enough quality sleep each night. Some of that has been down to the recent hot weather (unusual for this part of Scotland and now a distant memory!), some due to the fact that when I have a lot on my mind, not necessarily worries, I tend to wake in the early hours and dwell on it (I think I’ll invest in one of those notepads with an attached light to write my thoughts down, so that I can go back to sleep!), but also because I do go to bed far too late. I have read that the optimum time for sleeping is between 10pm and 6am, but somehow my timings have slipped by at least a couple of hours! Time to focus on sorting this out and getting some great sleep!
So, what do you need to focus on? Are you missing opportunities because your attention is too thinly spread? Are the little, easy things getting done, but the tasks that really need to be addressed are getting pushed to the bottom of your list? What is actually behind this? Is it because, like me, you are so tired that you can’t really concentrate, or is there some other reason you can’t focus? Find the cause and deal with it, and it will make it so much easier for you to move forward, doing the things that not only bring you great satisfaction, but also will not be hanging over you through lack of focus.
Focus on what you need to do next. If you are not clear what the first/next step is, spend your energy on finding the answer. If necessary take another look at what it is you are trying to achieve and start reversing. What are the steps between where you want to be and where you are now?
What is really going on here? What is behind the avoidance of this particular task? It’s time to really focus on the reasons that you have been putting things off. Is it because you are unprepared or feel that you don’t have the necessary skills? Or is it because the task is something that you really dislike doing? What makes you dislike it? Or it could be that you are worried that you’ll fail in the task, that it is all too much. Think of ways that you can address these feelings and finally get going.
Are you paying attention to yourself and your own needs? I know from experience that if you let this slide then everything else suffers and you won’t be able to function properly. What do you need the most? More sleep? More activity? A way of eating and drinking that nurtures your body? Someone to talk to? Some time to relax and unwind? What can you do for yourself today that will make a difference?
Are you getting enough action? The focus required here is on finding activities that you really enjoy doing that you can incorporate into your daily routine. The more varied and interesting those activities are, the more likely you are to keep at them. If you like the company of others, there are many kinds of team sports, exercise classes or dancing. If you prefer to be on your own there is swimming, walking, working out in the gym or even dancing to your own choice of music in your own home! You choose – but whatever you prefer make it part of your life.
Is it your attitude that is holding you back? How do you mentally look at the world around you? Do you feel that you are being made to do things, or do you think to yourself “This might not be my most favourite task; however, I am determined to do the best I can at it. ” Instead of dwelling on the negative aspects of what you need to do; you can shift your focus by making it a personal challenge. “I will get this done as quickly and efficiently as I possibly can, so that I can move on to doing something I enjoy more. ”
Are you open to new experiences, new opportunities or are you focusing too much on what has gone before or what might happen? Are you ready to open yourself up to whatever life has to offer?
Usually I suggest various forms of creativity. This time I am going to focus on writing. When you write things down, even if they appear random ideas at first glance, you start to release many of the thoughts that are packed into your head. Very few of us, if any, can write one thing and be thinking about another at the same time. So get yourself into a quiet corner with paper and pen and start emptying your head. You may be surprised at what you read!
Here is a tip for nothing. If you feel that you’ve lost focus, find yourself somewhere to sit and be still. Concentrate on your breath and how it feels entering and leaving your body. Allow your mind to become quiet. Gradually, allow the thoughts back in. If they are not relevant to the thing you need to focus on, discard them and concentrate once more on your breathing. Some ideas will creep in. Examine them. Are they of any use or not? If they are, develop them some more. If not, return to your breathing. After a while you’ll be able to refocus your attention where it needs to be. Finding the focus can sometimes be a simple thing if only we actually bother to look for it!
Kate Harper is a Motivation Coach based in the beautiful Highlands of Scotland. Check out her website http://www.harpercoaching.com
She works with people from all over the world who are seeking change in their lives. If that is you, please take a look at Kate's website. Her special interests are the promotion of Wellbeing and Self Confidence through her coaching.
"The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult. " Madame Marie du Deffand
Take your first step today and contact Kate.
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