Stop Wasting Your Efforts And Start Getting Focused

Forget finding needles, what happens when you have to choose hay out of the haystack?

Chances are you could name a number of priorities in your life right now.

Everything ranging from your next business move, your next relationship milestone, or even a family and parenting decision.

Let’s face it, you’ve got a lot on your plate.  Scratch that.  A ton on your plate.

Each responsibility in your life is important and meaningful.  Having the proper amount of focus is critical, but sometimes all that focusing tends to make things, well.. a bit blurry.

We focus at times on the past and the way things were, the task at hand of course, and on the future and things are going to be.

Keep in mind that the ideas I’m about to share go beyond basic time management tactics and the reason for this is simple.

Managing your time enables you to be more productive and there’s a direct relationship between focus and production.  The latter will suffer if the former is not refined.

Focus is the dramatic difference between good and great.

You can still apply yourself, take action, and create results, but with a razor sharp focus behind it all you, can produce immense results.

Signs That You May Be Blurring Your Vision

Whether in your personal or professional endeavors, if you start to feel things slip away and that you’re veering off point, it may be time to re-evaluate your focus.

If you notice that your productivity starts to fade and you’re left feeling somewhat punch-drunk in the wake of all things “to-do,” you may have lost sight of your focal point.

Finding yourself leaving projects unfinished to go start another is a trademark of weak focus.

I made this mistake early on in my working career.  I wanted it all and I wanted it now.  I was going to take the world by storm.

The problem that I soon realized was that I only had two hands.

I could reach for and grab at everything my foolish heart desired, but in order to grab the next thing I’d have to drop what I was already holding on to.

There are many roads we can choose to take and ways in which we can travel along them. Our options can vary greatly.  With so many directions and ways to accomplish even a single task, it can get a little daunting.

Don’t Trip Up While Reaching For The Stars

There is such a thing as having too much going on, but not in the sense that you should dial back your enthusiasm and gusto when you’re out there swinging for the fences.

With your eyes set on success and your mind fixed on the million ways to achieve it, its easy to miss whats right in front of your face (or recognize what should be).

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“Swing at nothing and you’ll hit it every time.” Tweet This
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If you want to make it to the moon, you’ll have to start off on the ground.

Make no mistake here, having a vision and clear perspective on your major goals and accomplishments is crucial.  However, being where you are and getting to where you want to go includes some steps along the way.

You know there are mountains of work that you’re ready to take on, but where do you begin?

Steps To Regain Or Enhance Your Focus

Focus is simply the center of your attraction, attention, and activity.

What you’re drawn to, what you’re vested in, and what you are going to do about it.

1)  Let Your Priorities Emerge

Fortunately, something as intense and productive as having a laser-sharp focus works a lot like those magic 3D postersthat were so popular in the 90’s.

In case you’re not familiar with them and I’m dating myself, the idea behind the magic 3D poster was for you to relax your gaze and allow a three dimensional image emerge in what appears to be a sea of squiggly 2D lines and noisy colors.

It may sound a bit backwards at first, but before you can really hone in your focus and start intensifying your productivity you’ll have to relax and make some breathing room.

Give yourself some slack for a minute and relax that internal gaze.  Stop thinking about the next thousand things you have to do.  There’s something out there that will serve your purpose much more in the present.

Let the others slowly dissipate so that the matter(s) of most importance can rise above the noise.  If for some reason you find yourself too wound up to allow this to happen, never doubt the power of drawing straws or names out of a hat.

After all, in order to be focused you must have a starting place and I sure as hell am not going to recommend you sit around all day waiting for it to arrive.  🙂

2)  Deeply Concentrate On The “Now”

With the unnecessary and less urgent out of the way, you’ve successfully cleared the path to divert your attention and center your efforts on the current task at hand.

Utilize your ability to now seize what’s “in the moment,” and right in front of you, to fully devote yourself to it.

Submerse yourself (dare I say to the point of perfection) and dive in this experience with all the energy you can afford to give it.  Past becomes the past, the future has not arrived, its just you and the moment.  Embrace it.

 3)  Apply And Maintain Activity

You have the task, it has your undivided attention, now what are you going to do about it?

Action is fostering productivity and enhancing your ability to get from Point A (here) to Point B (there).

The magical thing about activity is that it produces a result.  True focus is not learning how to schedule your tasks and organize your calender – it’s about triggering a desired result.

A very simple way to start and remain in action is by reverse engineering your process. Start with your desired result and work backwards to uncover how it is you will get there.

Know that your current and future actions all have a direct link on this result.  Its how you apply and follow through with them that will make it or break it.

 

This post was inspired by a comment on Where The Real Change Begins by Tom Treanor.  Tom runs Right Mix Marketing, which is a great resource for business owners or anyone interested in Content Marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Blogging, and Social Media.  Stop and see him. 

I know I am very grateful for his idea and if you loved what you’ve just read, then Tweet, Like, and Share with your friends!

Now… what’s on your mind?  How do you pin down your targets and open fire?  Does your focus slip the harder you try, or does the opposite occur?  I’m Looking forward to your comments and the conversation below! 

 

Photo by DownTown Pictures
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29 thoughts on “Stop Wasting Your Efforts And Start Getting Focused

  1. Ryan Hanley

    Jason,

    I really like your thought “Swing at nothing… ” That is some powerful stuff. You could take that even further and expand it to “Swing at everything… ” and you’re probably going to get the same results.

    Thanks!!

    Ryan H.

    Reply
  2. Chris Nadeau

    Focus is key for sure. Over the last year, I have made it really easy for myself to focus.

    How did I do this? Well I took a page out of Leo Babauta’s blog…

    When I wake up each day, I decide what I want to do from moment to moment and do it and enjoy it while I am doing it. I don’t think about anything else except what I am doing right then.

    Every little thing has a part in the BIG equation, so whatever I feel like doing that day I do it and move on. If I do 10 things that day or I only do one. It doesn’t matter. I just DO… what I want to do and love doing.

    Is this the best way to build a business? I am not sure, but I tell you, I love living like this. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      Everything sure does count and add up as part of the BIG picture. When you put that enthusiasm and love into what you’re doing it makes for great results. Thanks, Chris!

      Reply
  3. Denise Butchko

    I love the way you put “I could reach for and grab at everything my foolish heart desired, but in order to grab the next thing I’d have to drop what I was already holding on to.” I had never thought of it that way – but now I will. Thanks for the change in perspective.

    Reply
  4. Jackie

    Jason

    Focus is much more easily found when I’m doing what I want to do, as opposed to what I have to do.

    Sometimes by shifting the focus and putting aside those things that have to be done in preference for the cool things, fun things…it puts you in a better frame of mind to tackle those other dreary jobs. Well works for me anyway 🙂

    As for reverse engineering. I doubt I’d be where I am today without it. Its like the Sat Nav for my life.

    Reply
  5. Hector Avellaneda

    Jason – I’ll be honest. For a while there I felt as if I was getting that blurry vision. I couldn’t concentrate, my time management was getting poor and I just could not figure it out.

    Last week I went on vacation and guess what? I found the problem.

    I needed a break from everything to regain that vision I had for myself, for my life and for the book I am writing.

    I had not taken a vacation in over 2 years since first starting my blog and it was time that I took a break to get some clarity. When I returned, I was in production mode!

    I can all of a sudden think clearer, type faster (pretty cool) and I am all about generting a result.

    Sometimes, a vacation is what we all need!

    Reply
    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      Sometimes a little reset can go a LONG way! Glad to hear it, Hector, and congrats on getting your book in the works – look forward to hearing about it.

      Reply
  6. Tom Treanor

    Jason, thank you for taking my suggestion and writing it up! You wrote an awesome post so that really worked out for both of us. The one thing that really struck me and that I realize I don’t do (ever) often enough is focus on the now.

    I need to add that missing element back into my life and work because I’m usually about 5 steps ahead of myself and I’m sure I’m missing out on quite a bit. Thanks again for the great post!

    Reply
  7. Jason Fonceca

    Awesome.
    Awesome.
    Awesome.

    See, I’m focused on how awesome this post is!

    Focus may be the #1 important skill in our complex, distracted world.

    Anyway, my fave part is how you talk about relaxing into focus. There’s magic in that. Thanks so much for the reminder, J (and Tom) 😀

    Reply
  8. Eric T. Wagner

    Hi Jason.

    Want to know something funny? I had to do the 3D poster method to finish reading your post. Your post was awesome, but that silly little Tweetdeck dinger kept going off on the side. Kept distracting me. Ugh…

    Looks like I need to learn how to “FOCUS” better. Your post, combined with this post from Peter Sandeen: http://affectselling.com/2012/potato-time-management/ , are the perfect combo for the day.

    Thanks for sharing the wisdom Jason… 🙂 Eric

    Reply
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  10. D Arlando Fortune

    I have heard it said that successful people make decisions swiftly and are slow to change their minds; whereas, unsuccessful people change their minds quickly and are slow to make a decision. I believe this applies to your article on focus. I have struggled with focus in the past (there are just so many things that I want to do). I would blame other people for the number of projects that I had started at any given time. Had to learn to focus on completing my own projects first so that I could give my time and attention to other people’s projects. It was difficult for me focus on a project when I could hear more shouts in the back of my head about what I had not complete

    Reply
  11. Mike Garner

    “Deeply Concentrate On The “Now”’

    Without going into too many details (too much information!), I’ve decided to spend some of my Sunday morning in bed with my laptop commenting on blogs. I’ve got some space music going and the sun is streaming in on the first day of “summer time” I’ll probably do some coffee shop working later but I just want to hold this moment for as long as I can.

    We spend so much time worrying about the future and regretting the past that the best way to get things done is to concentrate on the now because that’s the only thing we have any influence over.

    Reply
  12. Gemma Thompson

    Hi Jason,

    It’s so true, and even a very short dip into the now can help, sometimes the thought of taking 20 minutes or more to re-focus has driven me into a deeper panic. But now I know that even 20 seconds, followed by asking myself what I need to focus on now and what the next thing is, will really help me focus and get going again.

    Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    Reply
  13. Cathy | Treatment Talk

    Hi Jason,

    Love this line – “Past becomes the past, the future has not arrived, its just you and the moment. Embrace it.” Focusing on each step gets you to your destination more quickly, as opposed to becoming absorbed in whatever comes your way. In this information age where there is so much input, I know I need to be vigilant about screening and not allowing myself to become distracted by all the possibilities. Thanks for a great post.

    Reply
    1. Jason Anthony Post author

      Thanks, Cathy! Good to see you here 🙂 There’s certainly a lot on everyone’s plates these days so it makes sense to buckle down and concentrate on the task at hand. Thanks for commenting!

      Reply
  14. Debbie@happymaker

    Great post Jason. Focus is the word. It is like driving to a given destination. If we do not focus on the other traffic or road we might find ourselve in the ditch and never make it to our given distination.

    They talk about multi tasking so much these days, put what they forget to tell you is that to give something our all this is not the way to live. You may be able to make a cake or wash a car and carry on a conversation with your best friend at the same time, but did you forget any ingredients in the cake or is there still a dirty spot on the car you forgot?
    I like your refers of 3D poster back when! When we don’t know whick direction to go we have to step back, relax and refocus.

    Great job well done, Jason.
    Blessings to you,
    Debbie

    Reply

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