If you are like me, you’ve been glued to the screen watching The Masters. Held once a year at THE most prestigious location, the best golfers in the world meet and play their best game in pursuit of the prize. They face fierce competition, weather conditions and throngs of adoring fans. The one thing they all share is FOCUS.
I thought it would be the perfect time to share ways to develop the habit of focus with small simple exercises that you can do every day.
Here are a few simple techniques and habits that you can use to build the skill of staying focused.
1.Think About What You Want – IN DETAIL.
The first, and I would say, MOST important way to develop the skill of focus is to think intensely and deeply about what it is that you actually want. Be as concise as you can.
Think about what it looks like. Think about what it’ll take to get it. Think about how you’ll feel once you actually achieve it.
Can you imagine the sense of accomplishment, the gratitude, the sense of power, worth and confidence that you feel having achieved your goal?
Great. Because most people don’t take time to do that.
This is the way to take your goal from being a wish, to an intense, burning desire. Once you’ve experienced this feeling, you’ll be far more motivated to move forward and accomplish your goals.
So you have to develop the habit of thinking about what you want – in DETAIL.
2. Be Grateful in Advance
Now that you know exactly what you want, the second step to developing focus is to be grateful.
It might sound strange, but being grateful helps to develop focus because when you’re grateful, you train your mind to look for the good in every situation.
By being grateful, you are focusing on your present situation. You become more aware of your opportunities. You become more aware of the people around you that can help you reach your goal. And you are more aware of the steps needed to achieve your goal.
Think about it – no one ever achieved their goal by whining, complaining, and feeling sorry for themselves.
Bottom line – Get into the habit of being thankful. Be thankful for your hardships. Be thankful for the process. Be thankful for your setbacks. Be thankful for the people in your life. Be thankful for your situation. PERIOD. Building focus helps you train your brain to look for the good in every situation.
3. Learn to Be Protective of Your Time.
Ruthlessly cut out “fluff” tasks and focus on the main items to achieve your goals – delegate everything else.
The best way to do this is to have an active to-do list that you work on and edit every single day.
I prefer writing my to do list on Post-it notes because I like to the feeling of actually writing it with a pen and scratching it off as I complete each item.
But there are plenty of online applications and apps on your phone you can use.
The point is that you want to be ruthless with your time and focus your attention on the things written on your to do list. Don’t allow distractions or other last-minute items to take you off task unless they are on your to do list.
By planning your day, you are developing the skill of focusing on the important tasks that you’ve defined for yourself, rather than letting distractions creep up on and steal your attention.
4. Create “Layers” of Focus.
Do the hard stuff first then follow it up with easy stuff. The feeling of accomplishment and confidence will enhance your focus – not deplete it.
Some examples of routine:
Making your bed – seems silly but, routine is crucial to success.
Returning phone calls – don’t allow them to pile up.
Clearing out junk mail – mark as JUNK so they stop coming to you.
Crossing these simple things off of your list will make you feel more accomplished and, are a powerful visual cue when you look at your to do list.
That’s why having a to do list is so important – once you have it, kick off with the low-effort items. This will help you build self-confidence, motivation and a sense of accomplishment that you can use to tackle your larger, more difficult tasks.
5. Pay Attention To HOW you Eat!
Many of us eat too much and too fast. Or, eat in front of the TV in a mindless coma……
Be mindful when you eat, appreciate the flavors, chew slowly, enjoy your food. By chewing your food slowly, sitting down, and appreciating what you’re eating, you will feel more satisfied. The simple act of being present and focused on what you’re eating will help you not only enjoy your food more but also lose weight.
This is a classic technique used by dietitians to help their clients feel full and more satisfied after a meal.
6. Create A Bedtime Ritual.
If you’re fatigued and not eating well you won’t be able to put your energy, intent and focus on the critical task at hand. Most of us don’t eat properly or get enough sleep.
Focus on having the same bedtime every night. Again, it’s all about forming “rituals” or habits in your daily life.
You want to build the habit of going to sleep at the same time, and to focus on your body-clock cues by being more aware and focused on how you feel.
That way you give your body what it needs, which is proper rest.
Most of us ignore feeling tired or sleepy, and stay online. We queue up the next Netflix show, or play games on our phones when we should be heading to bed.
So pay attention to how you feel and structure your evening so that you naturally go to bed when your body is telling you that it needs rest.
7. Make a Game of Getting Rid of Clutter.
Sounds pretty basic – but a truly important component of focus.
Nothing zaps focus like clutter and disorganization.
Clear up your desk, your car, your room so that you feel calm, peaceful, and focused.
Set a timer for 5 minutes and get going. Just do what you can for that time…..no need to get EVERY room or part of your office perfect. Takes the pressure off and let’s you see progress.
Get in the habit of clearing off your office desk at the end of the day. Get in the habit if cleaning up the kitchen before you go to bed. Get in the habit of clearing out your inbox. Just do it. Take action. Experience the feeling of accomplishment with crossing off the tasks!
You don’t want these kinds of distractions to alter your focus.
Learn to integrate these tips and routines. See how it makes you feel during the day. Now, sit up straight, take a deep breath, square your shoulders and sieze the day!
Doesn’t that feel GREAT?!