Nov 082021
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

"Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop." Brian Tracy

“Your ability to focus is the most important success skill you can ever develop.” Brian Tracy

In today’s world, it’s hard to stay focused. It seems that every minute, there’s something to divert your attention. You probably check your email several times a day. Every time there’s a notification from your phone, you have to see what it is. That’s in addition to interruptions from co-workers, family and friends. After a distraction, studies show it takes at least fifteen to twenty minutes to get focused again.

Also, your mind can focus on only one thing at a time. Each time you shift your attention from one thing to another, you’re “task switching” and it burns up extra mental energy. When the entire day is filled with these intrusions, you end the day feeling drained and exhausted, with very little to show for it.

Benefits of Focus

However, when you’re more focused, you feel more in charge of your world, get in the flow and get more done. You also have less stress and overwhelm, because your mind has one thing to do at a time. In addition, you have more clarity, so you make better decisions, as well as being more efficient, effective, and productive.  

Therefore, to achieve your goals and dreams, your ability to focus is vital. Fortunately, it’s a skill that you can cultivate and develop. The more you focus, the more you’re able to focus. It’s just like a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger it becomes.

How to Create the Habit of Focus

You can’t be focused all the time, because the unexpected does happen on occasion. But you can set aside time each day to pay attention to your most important tasks. Schedule time into your day to focus on important projects. Here are some ways you can get started and cultivate your ability to focus.

Motivate yourself to focus. Decide how having increased focus benefits you, and remind yourself of that incentive when you set aside time for it. As you build your motivation, and act on it, focusing becomes a habit. Jim Rohn said, “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Once you establish the habit of focusing, your mind will automatically know what to do when you want to do it.

Use visualization. Choose one task that will move you towards your vision or goal. What is it you want to focus on and achieve in this period? Before you get to work on it, take a couple of minutes to visualize yourself performing your task and accomplishing what you want. This increases your motivation, and primes your subconscious to start solving any issues you might encounter. You’re rehearsing your actions, which then makes them easier to execute.

Eliminate distractions. Find a way to minimize the effects of whatever can intrude on your focus time. For instance, research shows that if your phone is in the same room as you’re in, your mind is always tuned to it. Even turning your phone off doesn’t work. Therefore, put your phone in another room, where you can’t see it or hear it. Turn off your email. Close your door.

Minimize multi-tasking. Constant multi-tasking trains your mind to hinder your focus. However, you don’t have to completely avoid multi-tasking. When you’re performing automatic behaviors, such as doing dishes, watching television doesn’t drain you. Or you can pay bills and listen to a podcast. But when you do activities that need you to think, multi-tasking uses up mental bandwidth and exhausts your energy. Your mind is always seeking something new, and when you multi-task, you jump from one attention getting novelty to another. Multi-tasking triggers the reward centers of the brain, therefore gives you an incentive to repeat the process, which makes multi-tasking addictive.

Strengthen your focus muscle. Set aside time to focus on one task without distractions. Start off with as much time as you can before you need a break. You may need to begin with only ten or fifteen minutes. Each week, increase the time. Aim to have a sixty to ninety-minute stretch of focusing on one topic or chore before you take a break. When you take your break, do something that rests your mind for several minutes, such as going for a walk, getting a drink, or something to eat. This gives your mind time to replenish its energy and get ready for your next work period.

Being able to focus is an inherent talent that we all have. But it’s not an skill that is exercised much, so most people have gotten out of practice with it. With the above tactics, you can cultivate your natural ability, strengthen it, and develop it into a habit that will support your success.

Affirmation:
I have a natural ability to focus and pay attention to what’s important to me. It’s a skill that I can develop and grow through practice. The Universe flows Its energy through my focus, supporting my endeavors and smoothing my path to maximize success.

Watch the accompanying video, Guided Meditation to Focus and Accomplish More.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.

Are Distractions Sabotaging Your Success?

 Article  Comments Off on Are Distractions Sabotaging Your Success?
Jul 312019
 

by Linda-Ann Stewart

Squirrel

Do you ever feel that your day is filled with distractions? Instead of being able to finish a project, your environment constantly intrudes on your attention? Phone calls, demands on your time by coworkers, sudden tasks thrust on you by managers or crises all erode your efficiency and impact productivity. They keep your mind in chaos, and clog your connection to the Universe.

Many of your interruptions are self-inflicted. Instead of focusing on what’s important, you allow your attention to be abducted by anything new. It’s like the dog in the movie that gets diverted by any movement, thinking it’s a squirrel. The brain loves anything that’s novel or different. It lights up the reward circuit of your brain. That’s why it feels so satisfying to check your email dozens of times a day. But just because it feels good doesn’t mean it helps you accomplish anything.

If you never focus on what you want, the Law of Attraction doesn’t know what to bring you. Chaos instructs the Law of Attraction to bring you more chaos. The more you allow yourself to be sidetracked, the more you train yourself to seek out and succumb to distractions. It becomes a self-defeating cycle. Multitasking falls into this category. Although multitasking feels like you’re getting a lot done, the more you do it, the less effective you become.

How Distractions Cost You

Distractions are more than annoyances. Every time you’re interrupted, it takes time to get refocused. Researchers estimate it takes between fifteen and twenty-five minutes to get back on track afterwards. How much time are you wasting each day, just trying to get refocused? And once you return to your task, you can’t focus as well.

Also, your output, productivity and efficiency suffer and you commit more errors. Another study established that four hours of distracted time was equivalent to one hour of focused work. Think of what you could accomplish if you focused on one task or project at a time for just two hours a day. That would be equivalent to a full day of work.

What You Can Do

You have control over many of the distractions you encounter. When you take charge of what you can, you’ll maximize your productivity and improve your channel to the Universe. You’ll also be giving the Law of Attraction clearer direction. Here are a few tips to help you stay focused.

1.  Focus on your task. Do this by turning off your email notifications, closing your door and turning off your phone. Better yet, schedule checking your email and only do it three times a day. Even better, leave your cell phone in another room. Studies show that even having it in your room diverts your attention.

2.  Stop multitasking. Contrary to popular thought, it does not make you more efficient. The opposite is true. Your brain can only focus on one thing at a time. When you jump from one task to another, your brain must switch gears. That takes up precious time and energy, and shortens your attention span. It also makes your brain run slower and reduces your intelligence. To increase your effectiveness, address one task at a time for at least 20 minutes before you go onto something else.

3.  Train yourself to focus. Focusing your attention is a skill that you can learn and develop. Once you’ve broken the multitasking habit and been able to focus on one task for 20 minutes, take it to the next step. Extend the period you focus on any task by 5-minute increments over a period of weeks. Aim for at least 55 uninterrupted minutes. Another way to train your focus and concentration is to practice meditation. It builds areas of the brain associated with attention.

4.  Focus on the present. Pay attention to what you’re doing now. Don’t allow your thoughts to drift to the past or what you’re going to be doing in the future. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to the task at hand. This type of mindfulness helps problem solving and improves your memory. You also open to your intuition and connection with the Universe.

Distractions will never go away. But when you stop letting distractions rule you and take control over your attention, your mood will improve. Your sense of calm, clarity, satisfaction and productivity will soar. Because you’ll be spending time on the tasks and projects that bring you results, you’ll be more successful.

Affirmation:

The Universe is always present, guiding and directing me. I now keep my mind clear, calm and focused. The Universe supports me in making positive decisions about where to focus my attention. This allows me to have a greater connection with the Universe. I plan for the future but keep my mind focused on the present.

Watch the accompanying video How You Can Get More Done in Less Time.

As a vision strategist, hypnotherapist, and speaker, Linda-Ann Stewart helps women entrepreneurs and small business owners who feel stuck, immobilized and overwhelmed to to get clear, focused and on the fast track to the next level of their business. To achieve a 90-day goal more easily, sign up for her FREE comprehensive Strategic Vision blueprint at www.Linda-AnnStewart.com/setyourcourse.html. You can contact her at LAS@Linda-AnnStewart.com or 928-600-0452.