What do you do when you just can’t find your focus?
The other day I was struggling.
I had so much to do, but couldn’t make headway on any of it. My focus was all over the place. I would start one thing, then move on to another, then get distracted by something else.
Despite my best intentions, I just couldn’t find my focus.
Stephen Covey says “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” I love that. But when your vision is blurred, when you can’t make headway, what do you do to get clear on that main thing?
How do you go from simply being busy, to being productive?
Here are 7 ways to find your focus
I know it’s counter intuitive. I know you’ll be thinking “but I have so much to do!”, but if things aren’t working for you: stop.
Get up and go for a walk. Make yourself a cuppa. Go outside and get some fresh air. Give your brain 5 or 10 minutes to just stop.
If you can truly give yourself this break (meaning no obsessing over the problem or taking on another task) I can guarantee you will come back with fresh energy and perspective.
2. Look at the big picture
Sometimes you need to take a step back, to widen your focus, before you can see where you need to focus. What is your overall direction? Where are your priorities?
Imagine you have arrived at the end of your day/week/month. What would you MOST like to have achieved? Which actions, if focused on today, will make the biggest impact?
Gaining this perspective can save you an enormous amount of time, energy, and effort.
3. Narrow your focus
Are you trying to focus on too many things at once? I talked last week about how presence can help to reduce stress and increase clarity (see it here) Try honing in on one thing and being present in that task.
Focus on that task completely (see how much faster it gets done?) before you move on to the next.
4. Come back to your goals
Is what you are doing right now moving you toward your goals? What are the most important actions you could take right now to move in that direction?
5. Embrace where you are at
Everyone has ebbs and flows in their energy, their focus, and their motivation. When you fight it, you prolong it. How can you embrace your current energy, focus, and motivation level?
What small tasks can you do now, so that you have space for the big tasks when your energy is high?
6. Start small
Often a lack of focus comes from overwhelm at the size of a task.
If you are having trouble getting started, start small. Build up your momentum and before you know it things will be snowballing.
The harder you are finding it to get started, the smaller those initial steps may be. Focusing in on those smaller steps will help you to find your focus when you arrive at the bigger ones.
Break your areas of focus down into key actions and schedule them in. Consider which actions need to happen first, and how long they will take. Make sure you are also scheduling in your self-care, free time, and family.
Scheduling one action at a time can help to develop a more realistic expectation of what can be accomplished, and make it easier to prioritise where you focus should go.
Knowing when you need to re-focus
When you find yourself busy, but not productive, or aimlessly wading through tasks, it is time to find your focus.
Most of the time we miss the signs that focus has been lost. Or you might know that you are struggling to focus, but wade on ahead anyway.
The practice of acknowledging that you need to re-focus, and taking action on that can be a challenging one to learn.
When you do, you will be more effective, productive, and efficient with your time and energy.
What do you do to find your focus? Share with us in the comments below