“People think Focus means saying Yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying No to the hundred other good ideas that there are, you have to pick carefully. ( Steve Jobs)
Focus means knowing exactly what you want in your mind and going after it in your action. Focus is the critical element that allows you to get on with your life and your work without being distracted by irrelevant things. When we are focused we are living in the NOW or living in the present and totally surrounded with what we do. We are peaceful and integrated, we are able to live our purpose, we can hear the voices within us that guide us to be our best. “When we have the power of our Purpose behind us, and a clear focus on what that purpose is, we cannot fail. When in focus, our thoughts are clear and aligned with our Purpose. “ (Lynne Garnett, 1990, Finding the Great Creative You, pp. 142). Focus puts power behind our purpose; we get the power of purpose through focus.
Understanding and using the power of our own focus is the most powerful personal tool that we will ever have. When we are clear on what we want and focus our thoughts and energy on what we want, we are virtually unstoppable. When we want something very badly, and when we are willing to put all of our energy toward that outcome, when we are very focused, we will achieve our goal.
Daniel Goleman described three kinds of focus, in his book Focus, The Hidden Drive of Excellence., 2013. 1) Inner focus attunes us to our intuitions, guiding values, and in making better decision. 2) Other focus smooths our connections to the people in our lives. 3) Outer Focus lets us navigate in the larger world. This book emphasizes the importance of strengthening the power within you and learning the inner focus is significant. Your focus is the strongest tool you have, it can become your life reality.
The human mind is an amazing thing. It can store practically unlimited amounts of information. It can critically analyze the most complex of problems. Every day we receive a lot of information and in order to manifest our purpose, we should learn to focus. Some people try to multi-task several activities. It appears that they are very busy and they think they can save time doing several things at once. Our mind cannot concentrate on more than one thing at once. When we are thinking about several subjects, our thoughts go back and forth on different subjects, therefore only concentrating on one at the time. By multi-taking, we make more mistakes and could miss significant information. We make ourselves stressed and our performance decreases in quality. If we want results, we need to concentrate of one thing, we need to decide and make a plan on what we are going to focus on.
Some people think about their jobs and their projects when they are home, and they think about their home when they are at work. If we focus on where we are right now and give all of our attention and focus on what we do, we would have a higher quality. Metaphorically, if we concentrate the sunlight through a magnifying glass onto paper, it will start a fire. Likewise, if a person concentrates like a magnifying glass on one task, he/she can unleash the power of mind and make the impossible to possible.
Being focused is not something that can be accomplished without discipline. We need to learn and train our mind to be focused. There are many ways you can train your mind to be focused. I have tried to focus during many years of my studies. Here I present 7 ways I use to sharpen my focus:
1) Computer Games: Researchers suggest some of computer games help us to train our brain to be focused.
2) Block time and prioritize: This time can be used to concentrate on a defined project one day before. For example, plan ahead of time — for a specific time (90 minutes) — you would focus on that project without distractions such as emails, social media, or phone calls.
3) Use your note book: Another way to focus is if you distracted by other thoughts and task during your focus time. You may feel stress for other projects/tasks that you should do. You can write the thoughts and your worries on the pager and make an appointment with yourself, at which time of day you would work with that specific problem or question.
4) Stop working: If you get distracted because the task or project is too difficult, stop for a few minutes on what you are doing and only focus on your breath. Breath deeply 3 or 4 times and go back to the project. Say to yourself, “I can do it and focus on it. My focus and concentration will show the path for how it should be done.”
5) Sleep more, meditate, be mindful, smile, exercise, have an attitude of gratitude during the day, every single day.
6) Test your strength on controlling your emotions. When a negative thoughts come to you, such as a feelings of discouragement or sadness, decide to replace them with positive thoughts. You can listen to positive affirmation, good music, or find out how you could lift yourself up emotionally.
7) Be aware, bring yourself to the NOW and ask these questions to yourself: What I am doing? Why am I doing this? What is the most valuable thing I can do right now? What is the most important task for today?
It takes time to practice to be focused for several hours. You could begin with only of the methods that make sense for you. You can practice it for several weeks until it become a habit. When something becomes your habit, you do not think about what you should do or how you should do it. It becomes part of your nature. It is a question of BEING focused, you can transform yourself to a person with sharpened focus.