How to focus on what you want and not what you don’t

On Tuesday I went to a meeting organised by a friend of mine, Julia Canham, who is a business coach. At that meeting I reaffirmed some of the things I’ve had in mind to get on with but the most important thing it brought to mind was to put more into focusing what I want from what I’m doing.

In short, I’m going to put more mental and physical energy into what I want.

How to focus on what you want and not what you don't

Now that might sound simple and obvious but it’s actually not that easy.

Let me explain:

In our lives we have constant distraction. We’re being bombarded by messages and things that require our attention and it’s easy to spend your life running from one problem to the next.

Do you often think that just surviving is enough and you’re struggling to feel as though you’re making progress on your goals?

There’s no great secret to fixing this, you just need to spend more time thinking about and then working on what you want (or where you want to go).

Bus as I mentioned earlier it’s not that straightforward, or even very easy. The biggest problem is that we’re all in the habit of responding in certain ways to certain occurrences, even though many of those responses aren’t helpful.

Let me give you a couple of good examples:

You’re sitting at your desk working on an important task. In the corner of your computer screen a little box pops up letting you know that you’ve received an email.

Do you stop what you’re doing to go and check it out or continue with what you were working on? Or better still, do you switch off your email for a while so you can more easily focus?

Most people would check out that email, then most likely respond and then attempt to get back into what they were originally working on. They’ve been conditioned to believe that email needs an instant response (it rarely does).

Another example:

You’ve decided to use your lunch break to go to the gym and get some exercise. While on the way there you see a friend you’ve not seen in a little while.

Do you stop for a chat and use your lunch break to catch up as best you can or do you stop to say hello but explain that you’re on your way somewhere important and will text later to arrange a meetup?

Most people would stop for the chat since we’ve been conditioned to not be rude to people.

The problem is all about conditioned responses. But to get more out of what we want we need to examine those responses, work out if they’re helpful or not and then change them as needed.

So, here’s a simple (but not altogether easy) solution to this situation:

When you know you’re getting distracted stop what you’re doing and ask yourself if it’s taking you where you want to go. If the answer is no then ask yourself if you can change what you’re doing right now.

You’ll be surprised at how often you can make small but positive changes like this when you begin to realise what’s going on. Doing this as often as possible will begin to eliminate distraction and give you the room to focus on what you want and thus get more of it done.

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