So this is for you if you desire to be in high-productivity mode, but you’re overwhelmed; have too many things to do; too many things on the go; not enough time; not able to focus on one thing; and don’t know what specifically to prioritize. In this post I’m going to share a method with you to get everything clear so that you know what you should be doing, what to focus on, and how to stay focused.
Does that sound overly ambitious? Maybe! But this could actually be much simpler than you suspect. As you’ll see, what it all comes down to is being able to identify that which is the most important. If you can do that, then everything else falls into place.
Do you have a lot of things to do? Me too. But they’re not all of equal importance. Being able to discern which tasks are the most important literally is the difference between your life just being the same problems all the time, or truly creating a new situation for yourself.
Let’s take a minute here and ‘go meta’. What do you want? What is the most important thing to you? What kind of life are you hoping to create? Do you want a different career situation? Living situation? Social situation? If everything went perfectly and if all the pieces really fell into place for you, what would your life start to look like? What are the details? What are the big and tiny details?
You can only receive what you’re asking for to the level of specificity that you request. If you’re just asking for “success” or “productivity” that could literally mean anything… so that’s what you get!
Create a good clear image of what you wish to have, experience, or be.
THEN, from there, ask the next most important question: What will it take to get you there?
This question is clarifying because when we ask it, it allows us to discern between the activities and tasks that will be the most direct route there, and which ones are less direct.
The most important thing to do then, is that which is the most direct and intelligent way, that you can think of, that will deliver you to the life situation that you want.
What do you need to have done by the end of this month? And when you answer that, you can ask What do you need to have done by the end of this week? And then that would naturally lend itself to asking What do you need to accomplish by the end of the day today?
Note that it may not necessarily be a lot of work, but it IS likely something that would take you out of your comfort zone and into the unknown.
What should you be doing every day? If it’s your desire to be fit, then it’s daily exercise and dieting. If it’s your desire to master the piano, you should play the piano every day.
Identify that which is most important to do on a daily basis, and then commit to doing it. At the very least commit to just showing up without leaving. Spend 5 or 10 or 30 or 60 minutes every day doing that one thing. What’s amazing about this practice is that when you’re doing the most important thing every day, you can feel your life shifting and changing. It’s literally how you change your life.
After you this, you’re free to take care of all of the little tasks, putting out fires, answering emails. But now, your ship is on course.
The dirty little secret amongst those of us who are unfocused and easily distracted: we pretend that we have no control over our attention. We pretend that we’re helpless when distractions come by. But at the very bottom distractions are only invitations that can be accepted or declined. Sometimes we’re so practiced at accepting distractions that we don’t notice until much later what happened. But: as soon as you discover that you’re distracted, that is a moment of consciousness. This is your opportunity to come back to what’s the most important.
Every time you wake up from distraction and come back to what’s important, you become more focused.
You gain control. You develop your ability to see things through all the way to completion. You can absolutely develop this ability.
And if you do, then everything will become increasingly clear and you will become increasingly more powerful in your work every day.
Take time to identify what you want, clarify your highest aspirations. What are the big dreams?
Figure out the most direct to get yourself there. Identify what the major end-of-month and end-of-week milestones are. Identify what you should do every day to make real progress towards these ends.
Focus on these. Get good at focusing. Know that you CAN focus. Every time you refuse a distraction and stay on task, your focus strength grows. You will see more things to completion, and this will also help you to not take on too many new things. This is your seat of power, and this is how you change your life.