By Wendy Hearn
When we talk of getting focused this means specifically
to see what captures our undivided time, attention and
energy. Choosing what you're going to focus on overall
imparts clarity. Does this mean you're only going to
focus on these specific things? Not at all.
This is a trap some people fall into and so they become
too focused, to the exclusion of the rest of their life.
I suspect this stops some people focusing because
they've seen others who are too focused so they feel
they'd be overwhelmed by the intensity of it.
Some people are very work-focused to an unhealthy
degree. There are others who, for instance, with a new
relationship, become so focused that everything else in
their life is pushed to one side. This type of focus is
too narrow. You need to keep your perspective. There's
also another element to being focused and that's about
being focused in the moment. Whatever you focus on,
there are many other things going on in your life. What
you're focusing on isn't the only thing. Although
focused, you need to encompass all areas of your life
and strike a balance. You can be totally work focused at
work, but at other times be totally focused elsewhere,
whether that's relationships or fun etc. I suggest you
should be 100% focused on whatever you're doing.
It's very stressful to think about things other than
those you're doing at this particular moment. You'll
feel pulled in different directions and anxious, unable
to give your full attention. But without your full
attention, what you're currently doing probably isn't
being done well, is ineffective and is unlikely to
produce quick results. You've probably wasted quite a
bit of time.
Be focused on the thing you're doing at the moment,
whatever is right in front of you. If you're eating,
don't watch TV at the same time. If you're having a
conversation, concentrate totally, listen and respond.
If you're not fully focused, you're probably not
listening well. This may mean that the other person
doesn't feel heard, feels frustrated with you and
misunderstandings are created. I'm sure you can
imagine how ineffective all this is and the problems
which may ensue. However, if you had focused on the
conversation it might have taken less time, led to a
greater understanding and left no unresolved issues.
Being focused means thinking, doing and being with one
thing at a time. Give it your full attention rather
than half-heartedly, whilst thinking of other things.
Whatever it is, be fully engrossed in it. If you
notice that when you try to focus on one thing there
are many other things running through your mind, you
need to set up a structure to handle this.
Being focused is about who you are as a person, not
just what you do. It's not just focusing at work;
it's about the whole of you being focused and this
will impact all areas of your life. It takes practice
but what better time than now to start practising?
To practise being focused, pick a specific activity
and choose to be focused. Be with all of the sounds,
thoughts, feelings, smells and whatever else is going
on. Perhaps pick an activity like washing up,
building a tower of children's bricks, a conversation
or your breathing and be totally focused. At first
you may find your attention wandering all over the
place. This is natural and just shows how difficult
being focused really is. Keep practising; the more
focused you are when washing up, the more focused
you're likely to be at work.