Hello! Seiiti Arata. What do you do when you want to stay focused?
Focus is special because it influences other challenges in our lives: with better focus I can have more discipline; I can acquire better skills and more resources. This is why staying focused really matters and deserves priority.
1. Don’t say “yes” to everything
Focus determines our thoughts, our emotions, our reality. Whatever we focus on increases. However, when we are distracted and start chasing everything at a time, we dilute that focus.
The more we focus on one thing at a time, the higher the chances to finish that one thing and move on to the next thing. The more we juggle multiple things at a time, the higher the chances that we will drop things. There is a problem with saying yes to everything.
And we are not just talking about being more productive. This is about quality of life, about self-respect, because we are pleasing other people and taking care of their needs, but we don’t take care of our own needs. We lose our life.
We then lead a life without a higher purpose, without meaning. It is reactive. This is living without being present.
2. Clean and simplify
If you have a lot of paper, envelopes, objects not related to the task ahead, clean everything from your work space so you can focus. This is the most obvious thing to do, but there is another desk to be cleaned: it’s the mental desk where decisions are made. The more decisions we make, the more tired we get. And this weakens our ability to make high-quality decisions.
Social activities can draw a lot of energy, particularly when we have to choose between hanging around with this friend or that friend or that family member. These situations always remind me how important it is to use good communication skills. With good communication we can manage expectations and be transparent, so everyone is able to understand and respect our choices.
Every time I’ve experienced some frustration in the past, it was because I did not communicate properly, which led to misunderstandings, false expectations and me being stressed out, reactive and struggling to meet everybody’s needs all the time.
Let’s talk about digital skills. When we have many tabs open in our browsers, this also reduces our focus a lot, because there is a reason why that tab is open. There is a reason why the other app is open. And we have to remember that meta-information while we are doing other things.
This mental juggling steals mental power. And this leads to even worse choices, because we start becoming more and more distracted, and suddenly we are watching cat videos on YouTube.
3. Active vs. reactive approach
A similar thing happens when we are looking at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any social media without intention. Then random things start popping in front of our eyes and we have to make decisions. Should we hit the Like button? Should we reply? Should we forward? Should we click that link? This decision-making is tiring, and this vitality could be used for other useful things.
So instead of reacting to all this stimulation, what should we do? In the training programmes at Arata Academy, we learn to recognise first our goals. We come to understand our needs. Then we focus only on the decisions that will help us moving forward.
To identify our goals, we need to recognise our needs and the intention behind them. This purpose will shape our next tasks. This is being active.
If we just show up and wait for someone to ask us to do something, it is motivation by stimulation, and that is being reactive. That is saying yes to everybody and doing too many things at a time without a clear purpose. It is being busy with things that don’t necessarily have to do with our purpose.
I love helping people, every time I go out and do some activity with a friend. The first question I ask as soon as we finish is, “Did you like it?” See, I get a lot of personal satisfaction from doing stuff for other people. This is fine and nice, as long as we also remember to do stuff for ourselves.
This is why it is so important to first understand what we want, what we need. What is the goal we want to achieve? Once that is clear, then we can identify which steps are necessary, and then focus on this goal.
When we focus on one goal at a time, we stop saying yes to everything. We clean and simplify our decision-making process. We take an active approach, rather than a reactive approach.
Feel free to use the comments below to share how you focus on what matters to you.
Today we examined how important it is to have clear goals to move us forward in order to increase our focus. Check this video to learn more about FOCUS in https://arata.se/focuscourse