“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus”
~ Bruce Lee
Focus is the number one item that separates the elite from the average. The athletic greats each had to cultivate their craft. You’ve probably heard the infamous stories of Michael Jordan getting cut from high school basketball team and countless others whom were told they couldn’t do it.
Tim Ferris wrote a wonderful post having to do with productivity hacks you can find here: Productivity tricks for the neurotic, manic-depressive, and crazy (like me). He goes on to share his secrets to how he is so productive by keeping a journal of when he’s on fire achieving amazing results, as well as when he reverts to the gluttonous closet poster child of depression we all have hiding inside of us. The point he makes in the above mentioned article that I appreciate most is his level of self-awareness when the self-defeating habits and destructive self-talk surfaces. We all have this, and I’m sad to say at one point it was the dominating voice that ran my life. (If this hits home for you, drop me a line here: theprofoundlife.com as I’ve learned various ways to retrain the brain to reside in a state of happiness that I’d be more than happy to share with you). Anyways, he goes on to list a quick 8 step process he goes through to hone his focus for the day in order to channel the super hero capability to leap forward in life’s daily successful endeavor. The main key he illustrates is FOCUS!
Too often we allow our mind and time to wander off course like the defeated parent of a toddler who gives into the tantrum because they’re just too tired and throw in the towel. Our minds, much like a toddler, can be positively reinforced to do what we want and it boils down to the process as well as the repetitions of exposure to this process. That’s it. Next time your mental toddler drops to the ground kicking and screaming, stay calm, breath, and FOCUS on the 1 thing you need to do. Don’t beat yourself up as this is normal.
In fact too often we place such a high expectation that we inadvertently set ourselves up for failure. The key to this part is to acknowledge your mind strayed and help pick it up off the ground with no judgment or punishment. Remember we’re going for positive reinforcement in lieu of “spanking” and “shaming” that little guy (or girl). Gary Keller, in his book “The One Thing” beautifully sums it up when he says “Success takes places when you narrow your concentration to one thing.” Simple right? Now I’m guilty of struggling with this daily, and as easy as it is to play victim blaming texting and social media for conditioning my attention span to decrease by 80% over the last decade, I’m going to let you in on my little secret. I have 6 other tabs open in my browser as I write this, and 2 work projects open on my desk. I do this solely as I’m not quite there yet to be able to spend 2-3 hours at a time on one project as all the experts say you should do. My current rhythm is I work in bursts. I’ll spend roughly 30-40 minutes plowing through my number one objective and then as my attention fades I then allow 5-10 minutes of letting the mind wander, play catch up on a few articles I’m reading, or turn my focus to my #2 project and chip away at that until I’m ready for the laser focus on the MAIN thing!
By working in bursts I’m able to build my tolerance back up and I did this in 5 to 10 minute increments to get to my 40 minute “sprint”. The goal is to not appear busy, as busyness is a form of deception where we believe we are accomplishing growth, however at the end of the day one looks back and thinks “what the hell did I do today?”
Another tactic I’ve read about and used a handful of times is keeping a time log. I’ll write down my start and stop time of actual work completed that is high priority vs my time either messing around or working on other projects that feel good but don’t really have much return on sweat equity, meaning the amount of time I invested in that project and what it returns whether monetarily or self-improvement growth.
Challenge of the week: What is the 1 THING you have been wanting or needing to do? Set time aside each day, even if it’s only 15 minutes, and use that burst of time to power through it. Whether it’s related to work or increasing/producing income, or something that will give you that fulfilling feeling of great achievement, block out time and get it done!
For more tips and tools on achieving massive results and living to your full potential, you can find them in my latest book: Finding Happy.