Let’s admit it, it’s super easy to get distracted in this day and age. (Ever walked into another room in your home only to get there and wonder why you went there in the first place? 🙋 yup, me too.)
It’s not a personal fault of yours if you find your attention pulled in a many directions throughout your day.
Numerous studies have shown that trying to concentrate on more than one thing at once overloads our prefrontal cortex and causes our decision-making and complex planning skills to go “offline.” No bueno.
Doing one task at a time is the most efficient way to complete a given task, yet it can be hard in practice.
Figuring out where to focus, what to do first, and what most needs your attention can be a struggle.
Here are three steps I use to help.
1. Start with a focusing question.
I LOVE asking myself the powerful question from The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan:
What's the ONE THING you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
2. Take a breath and visualize success.
Once you’ve determined your “ONE THING,” close your eyes for a moment. Take a few deep breaths to quiet your mind and go inward and let go of external distractions. Clearly imagine yourself accomplishing every step of the task from beginning to its successful completion in as much detail as possible. Imagine any obstacles that might come up and how you would handle them. Imagine how you'll feel when you finally check this off your to do list. After working through everything in your mind, open your eyes and direct your full attention to the task in front of you.
3. Take action and do it.
Set a timer for 20 minutes and jump right in. Continue doing what you have already mentally rehearsed until it's done, or until you need to stop or shift to focus your full attention onto the next important task. I've found that I can do anything for 20 mins - and often the hardest thing is simply starting, so for me a timer adds a sprinkle of motivation. It can also help to start your "ONE THING" first thing in the morning because willpower tends to dwindle throughout the day. A fresh mind is a focused mind!
I hope these three tips help you focus on what matters and then make progress towards your goal.
May you find joy in the hustle,
p.s. And if you find yourself getting stressed/overwhelmed/frustrated, use this 5 minute meditation practice to reset before starting this process. It'll work wonders to shift your energy and get you ready for your next task.