Are you all over the place when it comes to the projects and tasks you have to complete? Do you feel scattered at times? Perhaps you have multiple good ideas, but have difficulty implementing them. Studies have shown that the top 5% of income earners share a particular trait - the ability to focus intensely on the project at hand. It isn't so much that they work harder than everyone else, but they work smarter - sometimes resulting in shorter work weeks and more time off to enjoy the people and things that matter most in their lives. They consistently plan their work and then block out distractions that threaten to keep them from "working their plan." The ability to focus is one of the most powerful skills you can develop.
This week, I would like to share 5 steps to learning to focus so that you can accomplish more in less time. Since the beginning of the year, I've been sharing ideas for strengthening your personal foundation so that you can create the life you want. Your ability to focus is a key to your success. The results that come from learning to focus are not just financial. You will also enjoy the benefits of faster results, higher creativity, more leisure time, and a powerful sense of self-discipline. Tapping into the power of focus may require a change in your habits. Practice. Then practice some more until it begins to feel more natural to you. If it helps, print these steps and place them somewhere where you will see them often!
1. DECIDE WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT.
Many people get tripped up in reaching their true goals because they spend their time on the things that really are not the most important. Have you ever started your day with a goal in mind, spent the whole day being busy, and then ended the day with your goal incomplete? You must practice getting to the heart of your goals. Choose one priority for each of the five key areas of your life - relationships, work, finances, health and spiritual life. Be willing to focus your efforts on just one priority in each key area. Then make sure that you spend your time doing the things that will support your priorities. Once you make a decision about what's most important, you will find that lower level priorities will often fall into place as an outgrowth of your focus on your top priority.
2. SET YOUR INTENTION.
To achieve anything, you must commit to it. Embrace your priorities and then orient your life around bringing them to life. That could mean dropping certain activities or old goals from your to-do list. Setting your intention also means being held accountable for it. Identify someone (or a group such as your Rich Minds chat group) you trust to share your intention and let them in on your goal. Sharing it with someone will often deepen your commitment.
3. DON'T BE LURED BY DISTRACTIONS.
There is always something else that "needs" to be done. Once you decide what is most important, block out set periods of time when you refuse to do anything else but the task at hand. Don't answer the phone, check your email, or get sidetracked by extraneous conversation. Honor your goals by dedicating yourself to them. When you don't, you often fool yourself into feeling like you are working on a goal when in actuality, you are handling distractions while "toying" with the goal. In order to succeed, you must stop focusing on distractions and start focusing on your true priorities. This is how you manifest what you really want in your life.
4. GET DOWN TO BUSINESS.
It is tempting to allow planning and daydreaming to cloud out the actual work of moving towards a goal. At some point, you've got to get to work, make calls, have conversations, change your attitude, make decisions! Until you focus on actually doing the steps necessary to accomplish your goals, you will be burdened with the tension of what you should be doing but aren't. Planning is important, but the plan only becomes reality when you take action!
5. ONCE YOU COMPLETE A PROJECT, REFLECT. THEN MOVE ON TO THE NEXT.
It can be tempting at times to remain stuck in the glory of our accomplishments. Don't get me wrong. It is essential to celebrate milestones and pat yourself on the back for a job well done. It is also essential not to rest on your laurels and get stuck triumphing over one accomplishment. Look to the next step. Go back to step 1 above and ask, "Now that I have focused and accomplished this goal, what is the next step to bring my vision to life?" Decide what's most important, set your intention, block your distractions and get down to business!
My challenge to you this week:
Identify the distractions that tend to lure you away from your priorities. Make a decision about how you could handle your distractions at a time other than the time you commit to focus on your true goals.
What are my top priorities? If you are afraid to narrow your priorities so that you won't feel scattered, ask yourself, "Why am I afraid to narrow my priorities?" What could I do to reduce my fear?
Until next time ...