Tap Into Your Potential
Every day is a ‘struggle’ it is the essence of life. When we neglect to engage purposefully in our life we are a minute closer to death. There has never been a better time to be ‘old’. We are living longer and challenging ageism. We don’t want to become our parents. Yet modern life is fast-paced and we may feel we can’t keep up. There are too many distractions, worries and stressors.
What we focus on is what we become. If you are constantly feeling overwhelmed and unable to focus, now is the time to make changes. Science shows that human brains make the same amount of brain cells throughout their life span it is time to put them into action and tap into your potential - no excuses.
Below, you will find a Sensibly Selfish list of methods to stay focused even through brain fog. The key to the list is NOT to do everything at once. Doing all of the lists below in one go will just cause you to throw your hands up in the air and declare it was all ‘useless babble’. Focus on the one thing that resonates with you and apply it to your life, then and only then, move on to another task. You must embrace what you have integrated before starting others.
Ten Steps To Stay Focused
1. Say NO
For many feeling unfocused, this first sentence will be already ringing alarm bells and making you squirm in your seat. “How can I say no?” The answer is.. you put your vocal cords into action and utter the two syllables. Simples. Saying NO is a magical thing, it gives you space. It calms the inner self and strengthens your authenticity. Who says you have to do all of this stuff? You do! It does not have to be that way. When you utter the word NO, there is a secret – you must make sure you attach the NO to your heart and not to excuses. Say the word NO with love and watch the world change around you. TIP – If you always say NO, you can always swap it for a YES!
2. Avoid Distractions
Easier said than done, so let me ask you, what is your biggest distraction? Most people today, say mobile phones and yet even though they know it is their biggest source of distraction, they find it difficult to turn them off ‘just in case…’ By actually putting your phone on silent or turning it off completely, whilst concentrating on a serious task at hand, you will actually succeed in doing the task faster. Remember we did have a life before mobile phones were invented and we survived. The world will still be there when you turn it on again.
If it is not your mobile phone, take time out to observe your daily movements and work out what causes you to be easily distracted. Write them down so that you have proof. The next step is to do something different. Find a way of disengaging from the distraction in order that you can focus. NOTE – Multi-tasking is a distraction. We are also told that it is actually impossible to multitask and yet we still attempt to do it. Then we feel frustrated and unfulfilled. STOP IT!
3. Create A Routine
You can train your brain to stay focused, just like you can train any other muscle in the body. One of the ways you can help is to keep to a daily routine. Some people work better early in the day some in the evening. Work out whether you are a night owl or a dawn raider and fit your routine to suit you. Then you won’t burn the candles at both ends.
For example, Tracy says “On push days (I don’t call them work days because I love them so much) I get up at 6 am, read my ‘morning formula’, write my three gratitudes and lessons to learn, before heading downstairs and out for exercise. Each day has a routine, with specific tasks allotted to specific times of the day. I know what's coming up, and so does my brain and the focus is expected before we begin. If something is not working, I can then take a step back and hone in on exactly what it is and make flexible alterations”.
NOTE – Sometimes you have to be careful with the daily routine. Going to work to pay the bills and hating every part of the day/week/month/year is not routine, it is more complicated. You are ‘between’ life. ‘Mundane Living’ is when your life it has lost its meaning. If this is you, you need to focus on what is really important right now and work towards getting out of the mundane before it kills you. We only get one chance in this life, use it wisely. Don’t make excuses – what you focus on is what you get.
4. Be Sensibly Selfish
Part of staying focused is to make sure you have a space to do nothing. Women are particularly bad at this – we make time to do nothing and then fill it with something else! Check out Mark Gungor’s Tale of Two Brains, just for fun.
In order to be balanced, you need time off from focusing. Allow yourself to be Sensibly Selfish. You are no good to anyone else unless you follow the Flight drill instructions and put your oxygen mask on before helping others. Put yourself first for at least some part of the day. Creating a gap each day to reflect, breathe deeply and connect to nature, recharges your batteries and allows you to be energised and ready for the next focus.
Space is where the magic happens, it is a place where you can connect to your higher self, lightbulb moments, inspirational ideas or downloads.
5. Be Confident And Do What You Are Good At
Living other people's dreams, not feeling confident, and not feeling good enough, will also rob you of your focus. Comparing yourself to someone else will do the same. Doing things you hate doing instead of getting help, not knowing what your strengths are and not using them to their full potential or getting help with the things you cannot do well, also fits into this section.
For focus – Avoid all of the above. If you need help with any of this, you can reach out here. Stop comparing yourself to others “Realize the truth: No one and I mean no one – not the pope, not the president, and maybe not but possibly Richard Branson – is better than you. They simply know something you don’t know, believe something better than you’re believing, and are doing something you are not doing. Those are all things you can change very easily.” – Preston Ely
6. Create Intentions
When you have an intention in mind it is easier to focus on the steps you need to take to make it happen. Defining what you want and how you will get there, may take time, yet it is well worth it. Always break down your intentions into daily doable chunks.
When Kay walked The Camino, from Pamplona to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, 729 km over 32 days. She had to focus on the whole picture in order to start. Yet staying in that mindset would have led to overwhelm. When Kay focused on the daily to-do’s e.g. walking 25 km, eating, washing, sleeping and repeating, the goal was accomplished (without feet covered in blisters).
Always set an intention in written form, with a date and time stamp. Keep coming back to re-read and notice how you are performing. Ask - what needs to be altered to keep you on track? Take time out to look at your weekly, monthly and yearly calendar in order to keep an eye on the main priorities. Creating a dream or vision board will also help you focus on what is important to you and helps you achieve your dreams faster.
Create a list of tasks for the next day before going to bed. When you write down your to-do list you can let go of them and do not have to think or worry about them during sleep time. The next day all you have to do is reach for your notes, look at the to-do list and give each task a priority.
TIP – Always do the worst task first as this creates an amazing amount of space. Attempt to have no more than +/- 7 things on your daily list. This is the most you can actually achieve in a day. Any task left over is either binned/deleted from the list or transferred to the next day depending on whether you feel it is still important.
8. The 80/20 Principle
Humans are not meant to be focused all of the time, you need space to relax and take breaks. Space your time into 45-minute chunks with 15 minutes to move. In order to stay focused you can follow the Pareto Principle as well. The rule says that 20% of everything you do accounts for 80% of your results. If you have created your goals and your priority list, you can then apply Pareto.
Out of ten things on your list, two will be worth more than the rest put together. By being aware and focusing on the things that are going to create the most benefit you will save time and energy.
TIP – Ask yourself – is focusing on this task actually worth the effort? If it is, then complete it. Never leave an important task undone as this will cause you stress.
9. Other Holistic Stuff
Your focus may also be impaired in other ways. Here are a few questions you may want to answer in order to get focused!
- Are you drinking enough water? (synapses send electrical signals and use water as the conduit if you are not hydrated they cannot do their job) Your body needs around 2 litres a day.
- Do you exercise regularly?
- Are you taking in regular deep breaths and getting oxygen to your system?
- Do you practise some form of meditation or daily connection with nature?
- Have you had your body tested for vitamin and mineral deficiencies?
- Do you eat good natural foods always?
- Are you addicted - smoking, alcohol, coffee, or pharmaceutical/non-pharmaceutical drugs?
- Is your workspace or home space clean and tidy?
- Are you getting 8 hours of sleep per night?
- Have you suffered some form of deep stress recently such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or burnout?
- Do you need your eyes re-testing?
Take a look at each of these in detail and adjust what is not working for you. You may need to seek professional help in each area.
It is impossible to do everything. Period. There are too many possibilities within a lifetime to do absolutely everything, for example, you will never read every single book in the world or shake the hands of every human being on the planet and yet some people think that by doing more they will be more fulfilled. It is the exact opposite. Doing a few things successfully is much more rewarding than doing half a job and feeling like a headless chicken. Less is more.
Simplify everything, ditch mental and physical baggage. Spend short bursts of time each day to clean a drawer, write down thoughts, and give old clothes to charity. Focused small steps over time always win over all-or-nothing behaviour.
Bonus Tip 1
Write this down and place it on your bathroom mirror…
KISSED – Keep It, Super Simple, Every Day.
Bonus Tip 2
Celebrate all wins. Always. Plan celebrations for your week. Where will you go? Who will be with you? Will it be a big celebration or just a high five and hug for yourself? Celebrating wins reminds your subconscious how far you have travelled and gives it excitement and anticipation of the future.
If you need help with any of the above or have a story to tell, come and join the Facebook group or reach out with a personal message here.