The year was 1976. One young actor was about to bring things to a crashing halt. The Pioneer Memorial Theater was filled to the brim for a production of the show Kismet. As Warzir sang his song “Was I Wazir?” the young actor behind him let his mind wander. He had rehearsed for six weeks, what could happen? He was still on his mark, but his mind was miles away. In fact it was at the grocery store thinking about eggs, bacon, and milk. And about half way through his shopping list, he was jolted to reality by five other actors running into him because he missed his cue. This poor embarrassed actor was was me! As the troupe fell to the ground around me, I realized too little too late that I was prepared, but not focused.
The pandemic has led to a lot of us working from home, which means working around distractions, hobbies, chores, a spouse or kids, or anything else that takes our focus. The days can even start to merge together. Thank goodness for the NFL, at least I know which day is Sunday, Monday, or Thursday!
So how can we keep our goals on track and keep our focus? There are books, YouTube experts, and podcasts full of tricks and “focus hacks” that you can look into. For me, I use a cork board segmented into ideas, and use notecards to help focus tasks and goals. That works for me, find what works for you. No matter what process you use, here are six useful tips for improving your focus and achieving your goals.
- Prepare yourself for the task at hand. This means:
- taking care of yourself through exercise, eating right, getting plenty of the right liquids, sleep, and perhaps some mediation to align yourself to the day ahead.
- Having all your materials at hand. You don’t want to be running off for every little thing.
- Setting the mood and the environment conducive for focus; clean office, lighting, temperature.
- Limit your distractions.
- Eliminate the clutter (papers and munchies), hide your cell phone, avoid YouTube, and avoid music that has you humming along and reminiscing about your high school days.
- Have a clear, articulated purpose.
- Know what you want as the end game. Paste it on your bathroom mirror, the kitchen fridge, or on your desk, so it will always be there to remind you.
- Keep your goal/s in front of you.
- To succeed with your purpose, you need to break it down into manageable, attainable goals. Prioritize the tasks and then create a schedule where you will focus on one at a time. This is not a time to demonstrate your capacity to multitask.
- Take action.
- Thinking is great, especially when it’s focused on your objective, but there comes a time when you need to take action. Even small steps will get you closer to your destination and make you focus on the next step.
- Make it interesting to you.
- If you enjoy the task, and there is almost always a way to make it so, you will have a lot easier time remaining focused.
Now, stop reading this, and get focused on your goals!