I tried something different today…. I focused. Not on the usual 5-10 things at one time… today, I focused on one thing at a time. It was so much easier to do than I remember. You see, it has been ages since I have had the discipline to focus on the task at hand and nothing else.
Lindsay over at Writing for Your Wealth wrote an article recently about being productive and less busy. The reading was timely for me considering that I had recently made a commitment to become a more focused individual. Lindsay writes about the cessation of multitasking and the assignment of only one task per day. But, she also recommends the one thing that I am proud to have accomplished each day this week – focusing on one task at a time.
Sometimes I like to convince myself that I have suffered from ADHD most of my life. It’s a good way to get to feel good about the things that I have accomplished in my life while imagining that those things were accomplished under some sort of special circumstances.
I could certainly argue that I’ve suffered many symptoms of ADHD in life. I have often had difficulty remembering information, concentrating, and organizing tasks. When I was in school growing up, I had less than stellar academic performance and frequent disciplinary issues. But, I could also tell you that at any time when I applied myself and worked to maintain focus and organization, I excelled. So, is it ADHD, or just me?
In this age of the Internet, I might go as far as to say that all of us are touched with just a little more ADHD tendencies than our parents. On top of that, we all have different levels of ability when it comes to filtering out distractions.
It’s Just Me
I have always been very poor at filtering distractions. But, at the end of the day it is me that lets in those distractions and it is only me that can keep them out.
Here are the things that have helped me to stay focused this week:
I started each day with the usual list of items that I intended to accomplish.
2. Addressing My Idle Mind
My greatest vulnerability is having an idle mind. My mind is idling when I am between tasks or waiting for something such as a page to load on the Internet. It only takes a few seconds or minutes before I am off seeking out something else to turn my attention to. For many of us, this is where the Internet becomes a game of Russian roulette. Let’s say 6 times out of 10, you can go to a page, read its contents and then turn your attention back to the task you are trying to complete. But, 4 out of ten of those times you are subject to going off on a tangent.
A tangent is an Internet digression. Say you go to a website to read a story about whether a marriage proposal on Twitter is acceptable, but you’ve never heard of Twitter. So, then you go to Google and do a search on Twitter and turn up 20 other websites. You choose the first one, and there you read all about Twitter. Well, now you are interested in setting up a Twitter account. So, you go over to Twitter.com and set up an account. Then you want to post about your status…… you understand where this is going. Then, 15 minutes later, you snap out of it and forget where you are supposed to be in your task at hand. It is seriously like blacking out sometimes.
This week, I took a different approach. Whenever my mind was idle, I took notice of the fact and brought my attention back to the thing that I wanted to accomplish. I did not stray. By not allowing my mind to ‘take a break,’ it was easy to stay focused. I didn’t have to bring my mind back to the task, because I never allowed it to leave. Simple.
As I completed each task, I drew a line through that item on my list until there were no items left. Victory. Once my tasks were complete, my mind was free to go wherever it wanted to go and follow any tangent it so desired.
How do you maintain your focus?
TOUGH LIFE THURSDAYS is a self-development forum.