Focus is the ability to concentrate or direct our focus onto something. One thing. Not everything.
The illusion that we can multi-task effectively keeps us scattered, overloaded and continually connected to something that needs to be done. Therefore, our brains rarely if ever get an opportunity to rest. Research now shows that none of us can really multi-task. It is not physically possible to concentrate on two separate tasks simultaneously. What we have learned to do, however, is to bounce back and forth quickly from one thing to another, allowing us to not give the excellence to any task as it deserves.
Focus gives us some control over our choices instead of being a puppet to the demands of the day. Problem-solving and decision-making become easier, too, when we give full thought to them.
So how do we focus? How, in a world that glamorizes busyness and bombards us with distractions, just how do we actually focus? Intentionality. That’s the answer. We have to be intentional about our focus. We must remind ourselves that everything else that demands our attention can wait….will wait…if we are intentional about allowing the wait.
Three ways I am learning (present tense) about how to disconnect from the chaos and begin to regain a sense of focus are exercise, journaling and prioritizing. Not necessarily in that order, but it works for me!
1) Exercise. If your body gets moving first thing in the morning and your heart rate gets going, then your metabolism gets a jumpstart and it just makes sense that the rest of the day will flow smoother. Recent research actually indicates that exercise is a natural anti-depressant and increases neuron growth and connections. Who doesn’t need that? So walk. Run. Jump up and down and twist and shout for 20- 30 minutes. Try this for 3 weeks. Just see if you don’t feel a ton better!
2) Journal. There is something about the neurological connections that happen when pen meets paper and you slow your brain down long enough to write out your thoughts. Write down the frustrations of yesterday and the concerns of today and pay attention to the creative thoughts that come on how to deal with and dismiss those negative creatures. Journaling breeds creativity and peace of mind when given the time to write out whatever comes to mind. No rules. Just write. Every morning.
3) Prioritize. Each morning ask yourself what three things need to be done today for you to be able to feel productive and accomplished at the end of the day? Write them down. Don’t do anything else until they are finished. Sound too simple? Try it for 3 weeks. I bet you feel more energized, are more productive, and have more time for yourself and those others you enjoy.
Take the challenge. Do these 3 simple things for 3 weeks and let me know how it goes!
Are you more peaceful? More productive? Drop me a line and let me know.
And have fun with it! Life is too short to stay serious for too long.