“Life is just too hectic every single day.” Does this sound like something you’ve said about your life? If it does, then I have something different for you to try. I know you have tried managing your time better, because that is our first response to feeling that there isn’t enough time in a day, but have you given any thought to increasing your capacity? What could you do if you had more focus? Could you handle your amount of focus better than the amount of time you have in your current season of life?
Too many times, people focus on the fact that they have so little time left in the day to accomplish what they want to after meeting all of their necessities. This amount of time may be thirty minutes, one hour, four hours, or anything in-between, but the most important thing to remember is that it isn’t about how much time you have in your day, but it’s what you do with it that counts. This means that whatever amount of time you have in your day to work on the most important things in life, it is more about the amount of focus you put into it, rather than the amount of time you have. When we are able to find our best focus we can do more with one hour than most can do with four. We all know people who seem to be able to accomplish more with their time than anyone else. Focus, not time, is the one thing that those same people understand more than anyone else. Focus increases productivity, which leads to better time management. When I began to see how managing focus rather than time worked in my own life, I began accomplishing more than ever before, and it can do the same for you.People should be measuring their amount of focus, not their time. Click To Tweet
Very rarely are any of us able to increase the amount of time we have in a day, but we have all tried to find more of it. Instead of heightening our focus, we try to add time so we can take longer to do tasks that should take days, not weeks. This, of course, is procrastination. Putting things off until the last second then is not a time issue, but an issue with focus. And the first place to look at when needing to increase focus is the amount of things we have going on in our lives.
Is your plate too full?
As our lives continue, we tend to add more things. It’s only natural. But, the one thing we tend to forget is the need to quit things. For many of us, the easy thing to do is to add, but the much more difficult task is to quit. Never forget the need for both as you strive to live a balanced life.
So, now that you understand the need for adding more to you life, while quitting things along the way, you are now ready to understand how you can apply a larger amount of focus to your own life. I have already done podcasts about the importance of getting the correct amounts of sleep for your individual needs, exercising, eating the right foods, and quitting the right things, but maybe you have tried all of these things and need something more to work with. If things just aren’t working the way you want them to in the area of time management, the issue may be that you aren’t asking the right questions yet.
Here are the four questions you need to ask yourself to see if you can increase the amount of focus in your life:
Who is influencing me?
Notice that I did not ask you who the people are that are around you, because some people don’t have control over who they are around, especially at work. (No, my advice to you will never be to run away from every job where you don’t like someone. If that was my advice, then it would be very difficult for you to ever find a job. I can guarantee you that at one job or another in your lifetime, you will work with someone who you don’t perfectly see eye-to-eye with in some way. People are different, and that’s a beautiful thing.) However, it is important to take notice of the people you allow to influence you and speak into your life.Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow. - Helen Keller Click To Tweet
Your mind is a powerful thing, and it is yours to protect. You either let in positivity or negativity. You allow words of life or words of death to influence your very being, that will eventually make their way to you heart and mind. This is why it is so important to choose carefully. When you believe that you can do something, it is much easier to keep pushing forward with more focus, than when you believe that you will fail at something.Hope in something more gives focus. Click To Tweet
Begin surrounding yourself with people who you want to emulate the fruits of. The more people you spend time with that you want to become like, the more habits of theirs that you will pick up. When I began learning from people who got more done in their day due to having more focus, I eventually picked up on the need for it in my own life. I became tired of only wanting it, and began pursuing and displaying more focus myself. The people who you allow to influence you will change your life.
Is the order of my day actually helping me focus?Yes, we all need to learn from each other, but schedules are the last thing that needs to be copied. Click To Tweet
People need different amounts of sleep, have different careers, have different family situations, have different amounts of distances to commute, need different things from life depending on what life stage they are in, and yet I hear that people have copied the schedules of other people, thinking that they will somehow receive the same benefits. This makes absolutely no sense. Please, figure out what to do with your schedule on your own, and follow other people in different areas. Sure, there are principles that can be applied to everyone’s schedule, such as the need for a blocked out time for meditation, but your day will look very different than everyone else’s. It would be ignorant to think that everyone has a flexible schedule, works from home, or even that they work during the daytime.
Come to think of it, I met an emergency room nurse last week who hadn’t slept in 30 hours. If I would have suggested that she wake up at 5 or 6 am, she would have either laughed at me or given me a blank stare. Either way, suggesting a set schedule for someone else to follow without looking at their personal circumstances first is absurd. Stop following someone else’s schedule hoping that it will increase focus in your own life. Begin having better focus by crafting your own and adjusting it along the way.
Where am I able to get my best work done?
Does going to the library or your office help you complete work in half the time that it takes you to do work at home? Going where you do your best work is always worth it because you can give your complete self to people after you are finished working. Giving your full self is always better than giving only half of yourself to other people, no matter how much time it is that you can be fully engaged with others.Giving your full self is always better than giving only half of yourself to other people. Click To Tweet
When working at home, I have a tendency to gradually work on things all day, dragging on work that should only take an hour or two to finish. Sure, with kids at home, it is more difficult to get work done, but there’s also something else at play here. When I am not able to fully engage in my work, I only get a fraction of a complete thought, which I end up needing to piece together to complete what I am working on. Diving into work, finishing thoughts, and being able to leave work as done for the day, all helps with feeling fulfilled and being able to devote my full time to people.
Are the practices I am using the best possible ones to get the most out of what I am working on?
We have covered the who, when, and where of focusing, so we are now going to discuss the how. It is the how where we can take advantage of time the most. It is here where we get to experiment in order to find the best ways, and we become better at what we do through repetition. We become great at what we do by finding the best processes in which to do them. This is why the basic principle of understanding fundamentals is so important. Many times people shoot for the stars without first building their rocket. When this happens, people unnecessarily lose hope by not finding their target. But, to find the target, people need the tools and training that are necessary to hit the bullseye.Many times people shoot for the stars without first building their rocket. Click To Tweet
What are the tools that you need to succeed? What is the training you need to succeed? The answers to these two questions will give you what you need to know about implementing the best possible practices right now. From here you can now build your best practices. It is then trial and error in your practices that will make you better. Yes, everything in life is a process, including learning how to focus, but it’s the most honest answer I can possibly give you. The ability to become super focused doesn’t happen over night, but knowing how to find it will help you produce your best work.