In my experience as a coach, I’ve often been sought out by individuals seeking to improve their focus. More often than not, I find that their lives are characterized by chaos, an influx of numerous activities and thoughts that constantly vie for their attention. If this scenario sounds familiar, let me reassure you that it is indeed difficult to maintain focus amidst such turmoil. However, with a few strategies, you can take back control of your attention.
First things first
Firstly, you need to conduct a thorough audit of your life. Document all activities and thoughts that occupy your mind and time. The act of writing, rather than just mentally listing these things, can help you visualize the volume of what’s occupying your mental space.
Scrutinize & audit
Once you’ve made this list, your next task is to scrutinize it. Identify what elements can be discarded, such as unnecessary worries or menial tasks that don’t contribute to your overall productivity. While some of these elements might be easy to eliminate, others may prove to be more challenging, especially if they involve external influences such as toxic individuals or unfavorable environments.
Try to brainstorm potential solutions for these issues. You don’t need to have all the answers right away; it’s a process of exploration. Maybe you can find better environments to work or study, or devise ways to limit your interaction with toxic individuals. The key is to jot down your thoughts and potential solutions.
The next step after the audit and problem-solving is execution. You now have a list of things that need to be removed from your life. It’s time to put your solutions into action. As with any new endeavor, there might be initial struggles, akin to riding a bike for the first time. It’s important, though, not to dwell on initial failures. Instead, focus on making progress. Consistency is key here. Keep chipping away at the items on your list, no matter if you can only manage it a few times a week.
As you start to clear away the mental clutter, you’ll find that focus gradually returns. However, it’s important to have a target for your newfound focus. This is where setting priorities comes into play. Determine what needs your attention most and invest your time accordingly.
But be cautious. If you rush into setting priorities without first clearing some mental space, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the combination of past and present issues. Instead, take it step by step. Clear some of the clutter, set your priorities, and then move onto execution.
Consider external distractions
Throughout this process, you should also consider the external distractions that can eat away at your mental space, such as excessive use of social media or spending too much time on Netflix. As you start to cut these distractions out, your focus on your priorities will intensify, making you more productive.
Personally, I attribute my productivity to maintaining a clear mind. My coaching clients, the value I can provide, and my own learning process form the core of my focus. Limiting my use of social media and other potential distractions helps maintain this clarity.
Follow these steps:
If you’re looking to enhance your focus and thereby your productivity, follow these steps: Identify what’s consuming your mental energy, devise and execute a plan to eliminate these distractions, set clear priorities, and then dedicate your full attention to these priorities.
Remember, this is a process, not an overnight transformation. But with persistence, you will see progress.