How to Know What to Focus On
Today's world is quite a busy one, and there's often little time for reflection. On a daily basis, most of us find ourselves jumping from one thing to another and end up entirely overwhelmed at the end of the day. That's why it's not uncommon to find yourself easily losing sight of the things that really matter amid all that running.
Since it’s becoming harder by the day to know where to focus or even on what to focus on, we’re going to provide you with a list of actionable tips to help you pay attention to the present moment and know where exactly to direct your energy, attention, and of course, focus.
1. Have a Clear Vision
One of the most major problems in today's day and age is that there's always too much information floating around us, and that's the number one contributor to why we're constantly distracted.
Take a minute to think: what are the things you value most about your life? Keep these in check so that you constantly remind yourself of what you can and can’t do without before setting a vision since that’ll shape your life.
Then, you want to try and get all of that information you're constantly bombarded with and all the thoughts out of your head and instead, put them in a journal, on a piece of paper, or even on your Notes application on your smartphone. The idea is to view all the information objectively from a different standpoint to be able to make sense of them.
Once you have everything written down, you’ll be able to prioritise your tasks and thoughts while keeping your most valued aspects of life in mind. Which of the commitments you listed need to be done in the shortest amount of time? What about the ones you’ll focus on in the long term? And what are you working towards?
These are important questions to answer because when you do so, you'll be able to group your thoughts and the information you have into an actionable plan towards a unified vision you have for your future and that you're willing to achieve no matter what. And on top of that, you'll be able to renegotiate your drop any commitments that don't serve that vision.
2. Create a Long-Term Plan
It’s one thing to have a vision that you’re hoping to achieve, and it’s entirely another to have a detailed plan of how you’re going to achieve that vision. As Harry Styles once said, “A dream is only a dream until you decide to make it real.” Your plan is that decision to make your vision real.
So, in the middle of everyday’s chaos, you need to step back and intentionally direct your focus to the long-term instead of the minor day-to-day aspects of your life. Write down your vision and how you’ll measure its success, when you anticipate its happening, and how exactly you’ll reach it.
Then, based on that, use a planner to break down the steps you’ll take to accomplish your vision into daily, weekly, and monthly tasks to ensure that your focus is placed in the right direction and that you’re working towards what you actually aim to achieve.
Ultimately, your planner will serve as a schedule that reminds you of what really matters, what’s important to you, and what you’re truly working towards rather than staying focused on your standard to-do list with all of its tasks.
3. Check In With Yourself Every Once in a While
Whether it's to check that you're on track, review your vision, or even change it altogether, it's important to constantly review your goals by scheduling check-ins with yourself every once in a while. Of course, the frequency is up to you and depends on how often you lose your focus.
For instance, if you lose your focus too frequently, it might be a good idea to check in with yourself each week to follow up on whether you stayed on track during the week before or you got sidetracked with something else. By doing so, you’ll get a lot of insights regarding your own habits and pace, and those insights will inform the best practices for the following week.
Pro Tip: A key determinant of whether your check-in will reap benefits or not is time management. Continually assess how you're managing your time and whether you're spending a lot of time in areas that aren't of value and you need to cut back on to make progress.
4. Do Three Important Things Every Single Day
Instead of attempting to do everything all at once, why not focus on a certain number of tasks to get done each day? That way, you’ll train your mind to focus on those particular tasks each day, and ultimately, your focus and concentration will improve over time.
A general number that most people start with is three. It’s not too little, and it’s not too many. So, instead of cramming yourself with too many tasks a day, choose the three most important ones and invest all of your energy into completing them no matter what happens. Just don’t go anywhere before you finish them.
When you get them done, you'll feel as if you've done more than just three tasks, and you'll be motivated to get more the next day and the one after, and it's just a cycle of productivity and focus from there.
That’ll also be of significant help if your weekly check-ins aren’t proving to be as effective as you’d hoped. Taking it slow and setting aside three of the most important tasks to complete each and every day will help you gradually commit to the weekly tasks.
Also, it's worth mentioning that the tasks don't have to be related to one area or be work-related. They can be a mix of work, personal, and even household-related tasks – there are no criteria. Just make sure that whatever the tasks you select for each day, exclusively focus on them and get them done sooner than later!
5. Unplug and Take Time for Yourself
How can you focus when you’re always running around in circles? That’s asking too much of yourself, isn’t it? It even becomes challenging to have a clear vision of what you want in life if you barely have time to think about anything.
With that being so, you need to take a break from constantly being in motion and take time to actually sit down with yourself. During that time, you don’t even have to actively brainstorm on what you hope to achieve out of life; rather, just spend it doing something you love and enjoy – whether that’s reading a book, walking in the park, or even sitting at home listening to music.
When you take time off and slow down your pace a bit, it genuinely helps put things into perspective. The more often you take time for yourself to unplug and recharge, the clearer your perspective of where you’re at in your life and how you want to move forward will become. Give yourself the permission to rest, and take care of your body, mind, and spirit.
6. Add Value to Everything That You Do
As you're preoccupied with your day-to-day life, it's important not to lose your passion. Aim to add value to everything you do without thinking about what other people have done for you, whether they'll appreciate it or not, or even what's in it for you. Just empty your mind and focus on providing value to your life – whether in your career or personal life.
Why? It's because quality and value work wonders when it comes to boosting your productivity, enhancing your focus, and improving your fulfillment and satisfaction levels. Better yet, you may find your purpose when you invest in providing value to anything you do. For instance, the value could be in the form of attention to detail, error-free work, top-notch work, and similar.
Too often, we all get stuck in a routine, and all we care about is just dashing through our work to get it done and go home, but sometimes, the key lies in enhancing the value of our lives and putting in a little more time and energy into them. And to enhance that value, you'll ideally have to focus, which is the whole purpose, right?
7. If You Don’t Know, Experiment
What if you’re totally clueless about what you want to do with your life? Then cast a very wide net and start trying many different things until it comes to you. Explore different areas of your life and delve deeper into both the things you usually do and the things you don’t.
The more you do so, the more you'll get a sense of what comes naturally to you and what you struggle to do. With that kind of information, you'll at least have a lead to work on, and you'll be able to set yourself up for success.
But how do you know if something comes naturally to you? The answer is simple: pay attention. Track your performance and always ask yourself whether you had a hard time reaching that kind of progress – be that in music, workouts, work, or even relationships. Not to mention, you’ll feel relaxed, calm, and happy deep within as you do that particular thing.
Restore Your Life’s Balance to Know What to Focus On!
To genuinely be able to know what to focus on in your life, you need to restore your life's balance before everything starts falling apart and you get caught up during the chaos.
While, yes, everything seems to be changing minute-to-minute, and it's not exactly easy to press pause whenever you want to, you must learn how to take immediate control of your life. Take back its ownership from anything that's stripping you of it, and take a step back to be able to move forward and upward towards everything you aspire to achieve.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, anxious, or concerned about your future and you feel like your life is out of control, that's precisely when you need to stop, pause, and refocus to find a way back to what really matters.
Make every breath count and empower yourself to really feel alive and present to know what to focus on and make noticeable progress!