Why Focus Matters When the World Is Too Much

Nov 6, 2023

Why Focus Matters When the World Is Too Much

by | Nov 6, 2023

There’s a lot that’s heavy and horrifying in the world right now. That’s true as I write these words, and they will likely be true when you read them, even if the actual headlines are different. It’s easy to get into an endless loop of news and social and noise. Easy to get caught up in rage and fear and grief. It’s hard to focus. 

But focus is especially essential when there is too much going on. 

That’s true when the too much is global or political or a system problem we can’t solve on our own. 

That’s true when there is just too much in our own personal lives, aging parents, getting covid, an overflowing schedule of kid activities or the sadness of kids leaving home.

That’s true when the too much is the holiday season kicking into overdrive, whether we love them or dread them, the holidays bring a lot of extra. 

It’s easy to get distracted, to lose focus, to be “busy” without getting anything done, which leads to overwhelm and burnout. The antidote is focus. 

 

Why Focus Matters

Focus doesn’t mean ignoring what’s going on in the world or your life or this season. It means being intentional about where you turn your attention at any given time. 

You can choose to turn off the news and focus on your family at dinner. You can choose to turn off notifications and focus on a project for your business for an hour or 90 minutes. 

You can block off and keep your commitment to your focus time. You’re likely to be more productive AND feel better too. 

And if you’re wondering if it really matters if you focus on planning your new offer or writing your latest newsletter or even invoicing clients for the month … it does. 

You were meant to make an impact, and the world needs your Most Important Work. Get clear on what that is. Plan out how to do it. Schedule the time to focus on deep work. And don’t let distractions keep you from it. 

How to Focus 

You can choose focus — and this is important, train your brain to focus. When you go through a process or ritual every time you choose focus, you start to associate the process with the focus. You’ll be able to get into a flow state more easily. Plus a good focus process helps calm your nervous system and stop your brain from swirling. 

Here’s how we do it: 

Prepare

You want to set yourself up for success with the fewest distractions, and with everything you’ll need close at hand. 

  • Prepare your devices. Put your phone in airplane mode and turn on Do Not Disturb on your computer notifications. Close out tabs that you won’t need for your focus work, especially things like email, Slack, or social media that can be a black hole of distraction. 
  • Prepare your physical workspace: move papers off to the side, or close open files or planners. 
  • Prepare yourself physically, as well. Make sure you have water, coffee, green juice, or snacks – whatever you need to stay focused during your session. Use the restroom, shut your door.
  • Prepare anything you will need for your focus task. Plan and gather what you’ll need to be successful ahead of time. 

Arrive

You’ve reduced outside distractions, but your mind is probably still jumping all over the place. It’s time to let your brain know that it’s time to shift gears and get ready to concentrate. 

Breathing exercises work well. This could be as simple as three deep inhales and exhales, or following the flow of your breath for a couple of minutes. 

Declare 

You’re ready to focus — what are you going to focus on. Choose your focus bucket (Planning, Deep Work, or Clear the Deck) and commit to the ONE thing you are going to focus on. Write down what you are working on and keep it visible place to help you stay on task. 

Share

In addition to declaring to yourself what you are working on, share it for additional connection to your task and accountability. Tell somebody in your workspace or text a colleague, “For the next 45 minutes, I'm going to be working on a new presentation for my business.”

Then turn your time and focus on and get to it! 

This post is adapted from Focused: Reclaim Your Time, Ditch Overwhelm, and Do Less Better. If you want to be more productive and have a bigger impact and keep telling yourself you could if you just had more time, Focused will show you that you don’t need more time, you need more focus. Plus it shows you what to focus on, how to find the time to focus, and gives even more advice on getting focused, no matter what is going on.

Ready to quit the hustle?

You don't need more time, you need more focus.
Focused: Reclaim Your Time, Get Out of Overwhelm, and Do Less Better is your roadmap.

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