As I was putting together this guest post by Maxie, I found myself super distracted. I was bopping between multiple tabs. I had Hamilton nipping at my toes for extra belly rubs. I got up to make another cup of coffee. I got an Instagram post up. My attention was everywhere, and as a result, I feel like my wheels have been spinning without actually getting anywhere!
Staying focused can be a challenge, but Maxie’s tips are great. (Once I started reading it, I put my phone away, gave the dogs chew toys, and shut down my Gmail tab! Instantly more productive!)
Stay Super Focused with These Three Tricks
Guest Post by Maxie McCoy
I don’t know about you, but this is about the time that I always start feeling a little all over the place. It’s like we’re SO close to summer vacations, warm months, weekend weddings, outdoor days, and omg even graduation for some of you! We’re all in the home stretch of getting to what some might consider the very best part of the year.
No matter what it is that you’re looking forward to, I bet you there’s a laundry list of things that are going on and important stuff that has to be completed between now and then. And even though it’d be amazing to ditch all of it, unfortunately, this is the time we all have to power through. We’re in the homestretch.
As they say: where attention goes, energy flows. But when your attention is all over the place that means your energy is just as scattered too. Last week, I didn’t get very many of the things done that I wanted. Because I was everywhere and nowhere – obsessing over furniture when I should have been writing… forgetting to research road closures that led to a VERY long detour… putting off some important phone calls – you get the picture. My focus was totally blitzed.
So to get back into the swing, I followed these three things that I know in my bones to be true. Focus isn’t so much about getting more done; it’s about figuring out what is most important to you:
Say NO at least once…
If you’re not saying no to other people, you’re not living your life. Truly. So much of us feeling scattered is our need to please the people who put demands on our time. This happens in big and small ways. For me, this week has required that I tell people I can’t talk right now or I resist the urge to text back right away by hiding my phone because I need my focused time or I need nights home alone. Say NO more than you’re comfortable with.
Assess if you’re the person to be doing this…
Sometimes, our talents and time are put in the right places when we lose focus. A mentor of mine has a great question in her book to help figure this out: Is what is required of me my highest and best use? Maybe you’re the planning person for your friends trip when someone else likes project managing way more… Or perhaps you’re trying to redecorate your kitchen when you’re roomie is the one more aesthetically inclined… getting help with the things that aren’t the best use of your talents will help you focus on what is.
Be more singular with your attention and presence…
One of the best ways to lose focus on the big picture is by being so completely distracted in the small moments. Distraction detracts from pretty much everything. So when you’re on the phone with your parents but scrolling through Instagram – quit it. When you’re distracted by Facebook messages while you’re trying to work, shut it down. Show up for your life fully present, with one focus at a time, and you’ll find focus in your overall life come much more naturally.
Being focused in our age of constant information overload isn’t easy. Combined with wanting to please the people around us and the amount of pressure we have weighing, it gets even harder. If you’re feeling scattered, follow these tricks, AND I’ve created a FOCUS worksheet to help you get crystal clear on what matters.