Bob Proctor said: „the mind is a terrible thing to waste“. You can focus your mind to get whatever you want and live a fantastic life of perpetual achievement. Or you can bounce around like the silver ball of a pinball machine and basically get nowhere. Either you control your focus or the winds of life control you, tossing you this way and that.
We all know that, but in reality it is easily said than done. How often we lose our focus and let our mind take us to „Peter’s Never Never Never land“. Unlike in the novel Peter Pan where time freeze as soon as children arrive, our time is ticking away. Very often people say that they don’t have enough time, when in reality they just lack focus. Maybe, we can find time by finding the crocodile, who ate our watch, or we can learn to focus to make time work for us.
Most of successful people rank significantly higher than the average in their ability to focus and get things done. If you want more out of life – improve your focus. Focus is the price of achievement. Those who understand this and take greater command of their focus on a daily basis accomplish the things others only dream about. When you stay focused and continue to complete one related task after another, there are not many things that can stop you from reaching your goal.
Attention is a “little-noticed and underrated mental asset,” sorely tested among modern distractions but essential to success in work, play, relationships, and self-awareness, asserts Goleman, psychologist, journalist, and author of Emotional Intelligence (1995). In fact, the ability to focus, more than IQ or social background, is the key to performance and success.
But getting focused has become increasingly difficult in our complex, competitive and noisy world. It is easier to get distracted today than to focus on creating desirable results.
On the other hand, concentration and focus can only come after you decide on a single target. You need something to commit to. You’ve got to have a sincere willingness to do some task at the moment, while putting everything else out of your mind for the time being. True focus is concentrated thought power where you become wholly absorbed in whatever you’re doing.
Nathan Cadbury, in his book “Mental focus” provide us with some ideas how to improve our level of focus and concentration.
According to his advices, before you can become a highly-focused achiever there are 3 basic requirements:
- You need an exciting goal and desired result (target)
- You must know or learn how to get there (information)
- You’ve got to follow through with the necessary action (tasks of steps to get there)
After you know what you want and how to get there, there are some steps that can help you focus:
- First step is to write the outcome you wish to attain and keep it in front of you. Burn it into your mind.
- Next, you need to write the major steps needed to get there. Break down the big steps into several smaller tasks. It is best to figure out all the steps and then create a one-page map outlining what you need to do to go where you want to go.
- Imagination can play a huge role in attainment of any sort. If you can imagine it, you can create it. When you envision it first, you bring any target into your realm and possibility. Create vivid mental imagery of your mission accomplished.
- Before you start into an intense period of focus, take a brief moment to relax your mind and body. Strive for peace of mind and calm and happy mental state. When you’re relaxed, you’re ready to go.
- Eliminate as many distractions as possible before you start to focus. Clear the clutter and arrange any resources required for easy access. Control your work environment to create a harmonious and productive setting. Arrange your space to facilitate comfort, convenience and concentration
- Prioritize your tasks. There isn’t always enough time to do everything. Do the first things first and forget about insignificant issues and details.
- Approach what you need to focus on with a passionate and purposeful interest and a positive, expectant attitude.
- For best results, periods of intense focus need to be followed by short rest periods. Work in 30 minute segments. Shorts bursts of intense concentration lead to breakthrough results and this is often best achieved in half-hour blocks of time. Ideally, you should work exclusively on priority work for about 30 minutes and then take a break for the next 5-10 minutes. It is good to put timer or clock near. Stay true. Never cut your focus session short. Once you established the timeline – stick to it at all costs
- When you break away from your point of focus, stand up, stretch, or go for a short walk. Get outside and breathe in some fresh air. Most of all engage in something different. Breaks are essential for recharging your batteries.
- Notice when you lose focus. If you find yourself thinking about something other than the task, recognize that you’re out of focus and correct your course.
- If you find it extremely hard to focus, you can surround yourself in an imaginary bubble. Think of it as a barrier that shields you from everything and everyone not related to the specific project of task in front of you.
I know it sounds hard. Before you find your focus, you have to find your discipline, take responsibility and say goodbye to Peter’s Never Never Never land. The process can be painful, but as Jim Rohn once explained: „We must all suffer from one or two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces, while regret weighs tons!