Focus your eyes. Focus your mind. Focus your body, too. It is easy to be distracted by what is happening around us or the things we would rather be doing. But when we have a job, assignment or goal that needs completion, a focus is our best friend.
Focus your eyes. Sometimes it is like we need to put blinders on so we do not see what is happening around us. We may need to find a place that is more quiet or serene for us to get our work completed.
Focus your mind. Take some deep breaths, tell yourself “no” to those other things that are more fun until you are done with your task. Work on one item at a time. Set a timer so you have a goal to complete one item in a given amount of time.
Focus your body. If we are in a daydream position, it is likely we will daydream. When our body is in a position of attention, it is easier to be attentive. In the martial arts we call it our “ready stance.” We are ready to work or learn.
Our goals can be met if we focus on the small steps that lead to success. When we do not train ourselves to be focused, frustration sets in along with the fear of not succeeding. Self-discipline will help us focus. Start in small ways and see the frustration melt away.
Have you noticed that when you have a project that needs to starting can be pushed to the side (procrastination) by other smaller less important “to do” list items? We may have prioritized the must-do items. Still, we find that we are completing other items on our list instead of getting down to work on the bigger task.
Here are a couple of other ideas for getting our focus back and get our work completed.
Imagine yourself putting on “blinders” and FOCUS. Buckle down and in effect force you to get it done. Forcing it may not be the easiest way to approach our focus problem.
Setting a timer is one of the techniques I use. I set a timer for 25 minutes and only focus on one task. Then take a five-minute break and back to the 25 minutes of focused work. Look up the Pomodoro technique. For a child, you may make it 10 or 15-minute sessions.
Some people make a list and cross things off as they get them completed.
Mentally we can try using calming techniques like three deep breaths and tell ourselves to ‘calm down’ or think of a peaceful place and relax with meditation techniques. However using the brain to concentrate can be enhanced with another set of exercises that come from some work called “Brain Gym.” There is a set of four activities that help our brain to refocus on the next task that comes from Brain Gym that I would be happy to share. Some teachers use this in their classroom with success.
Focus is key to our success. In fact, Anthony Robbins said that “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.” Learning to focus may be the best gift we give ourselves and our children.
As a leader in your home, business or community you know how important it is to set goals and work towards accomplishing them. In our world today though there are more distractions than ever before. Some distractions interfere with keeping us from moving forward, and our children have distractions too.
All of us, young or older, have more distractions today than we did 10 or 20 years ago. It used to be that our distractions included the phone ringing, the needs of others and circumstances that arose in our life that took us off the path we wanted to travel. Today we still have the phone except it is there with us all of the time. We still have the needs of others, but the others include all of the social media that we have come attached to watching constantly. Also, we can look up information so quickly and then find ourselves just “browsing” and looking at cat videos, losing an hour of time without realizing it.
How do we manage all of these distractions? Here are a few suggestions.
Turn your phone off for periods of work time
Have a couple of set times during the day to check email.
Schedule social media time and leave it alone other times.
Respect your own work time and tell others you will not be available during certain hours.
Things we can do for ourselves include:
Get enough sleep so that you can concentrate
Drink water during the day
Get some fresh air – take a short brisk walk
Have a list of the thing that need to doing and then choose 5-6 items that you prioritize for the day
Use focused time and take breaks (Pomodoro technique)
Direct your focus. Concentrate your power. Decide what is important. Choose what you want from the day and life. Master your mission.
“Whenever you need to pay attention, an area toward the front of the brain called the prefrontal cortex springs to action. This area, which spans the left and right sides of the brain, is part of the brain’s motivational system. It helps to focus your attention on a goal and coordinates messages with other brain systems to carry out the task. While the right and left sides of the prefrontal cortex work together when focused on a single task, each side of the brain works independently when people attempt to perform two tasks at once.”
So in any given task if we are trying to do two things at once, we are only using half of our brain, with productivity going down to match. Focusing is not just a student issue, it is for adults too. Parents need focus on work, cooking, driving, repairing something and especially listening to each other and their children. Everyone in the workplace would be far more productive if their email were turned off while they focus on their tasks at hand.
Without focus, we can suffer from memory impairment, increased stress, lack creativity, and reduced productivity. Keeping our attention on the task at hand exclusively is the secret to moving forward in the direction of your goals and purpose.
Each month we will discuss one life skill with all of our students. This month’s skill is Focus. This life skill will be defined in the following ways for our students.
Young students: Focus means: I pay attention even when it’s hard to do!
Older students: Focus means: Using laser-like concentration even when there are distractions.
We are not your typical after school activity, in fact, we are an education center, working with students on physical self-defense skills while empowering families to bring out the best in our children and ourselves – through the martial arts. We believe every child has 52 gifts in them already. They only need to be taught how to grow and use them in their life. Balanced Life Skills serves parents, teachers and students to reach that goal.
While we have spent a considerable amount of time discussing the needs we individually have to focus on our goals, to use focus to get our work done, and learning how to put distractions aside – today I would like to think about the need to focus on others. It is important that we focus on ourselves but there is also a need to consider the feelings, needs and requirements that others have.
Can you imagine being a parent that put their interests first, even before their children? Or to work for a employer who was not able to appreciate the needs of an employee who had a family member who was sick? Understanding that we are all inter -related, that my actions affect others in my circle of influence, even affecting those that we may never meet or know that we are affecting.
Here is an example. If I own a business that pollutes the water, I will be effecting many others down stream of my business. On a more personal note, there are studies that say that if every American chose to skip eating meat one time per week, there would be enough grain to feed the entire world. If we focused on others by being aware that they may have circumstances or events taking place in their life that we do not know about, may change the way we react to them if they were short with us in conversation.
Focus on others is really just another way of say, . When a new student comes into your classroom or our school – ask yourself, “What would I want others to do to make me feel more wanted or valued? How can I make this person feel more welcomed?” If you are a child that sees someone being picked on, “What would help make them feel better, right at this moment and can I provide this for them?”