Picture this scene:
A child’s sporting event is playing on the field. Parents and fans are in the stands watching. Upon a closer look, several parents have their heads down scrolling on their phone or typing on a tablet or laptop. The crowd erupts into cheers while delighted kids celebrate the point scored and the distracted heads fly up to see what was missed.
One parent, Marjorie, wears an expression of disappointment and defeat. Why? It was her child that scored and she missed seeing it…again. She wasn’t fully present even though she was physically present at the game.
If you can relate to not being fully present and focused when you’re bodily present, there is a better way. Finding freedom to focus goes beyond time management. There are ways to get things done and get appropriately engaged with your life without feeling stressed.
How Does One Get Started
In any single day, there is a lot happening that competes for your focus and time. The range of distractors can include commitments at work, home, church, your child’s school, time at the gym, driving, grocery shopping, and the list goes on and on. All of those commitments – those “I need to” thoughts – nag at you in your mind so it’s time to let them out. Release them so they can become something more. Give them your attention – in a controlled, constructive way – by using lists.
Once you add something to a list you can release it from your immediate focus and you become more fully present in the moment. You can relax. You can enjoy what’s happening around you.
You don’t have to finish the things on the list immediately. You don’t have to solve what was written down, right now. You don’t need to make it perfect or figure out how to do everything. You only need to work through your list on your own terms, in your own time. Making lists allows you the freedom, at any point in time, to focus on whatever you want to focus on.
You may be asking yourself, “What is the next action?” From the things clamoring for your attention turn them into projects. If it’s on your mind, make it a project. Projects have multiple smaller steps assembled in a particular order to reach a larger goal. Those smaller steps are manageable and less overwhelming to map and plan and complete.
Look at your list and ask yourself, “What do I need to do next? What do I need to do next to get a handle on [_fill in your blank_]?” This answer is your action step to tackle in a manageable fashion…or to delegate to someone capable. Prioritize, and be objective, about what’s written on your list.
For the nagging thoughts that try to steal your focus and wake you from a sound sleep at 3:00am, these are areas awaiting a decision or an action. These challenges may be requiring you to create, finish, resolve, or clarify something before you can move on to the next step. The middle of the night wake up is your mind reminding you to take some form of action. For the immediate, that action will be adding it to your list.
The path to being fully focused in the present is to:
- get it out of your mind (make a list)
- decide (your next steps)
- take action (make it a project with actionable steps or delegate it)
- experience the outcome
Discover much more about finding your focus beyond time management by listening to my full podcast, How to Be More Present in Everything You Do, with guest David Allen, author of the best-selling book Getting Things Done.
Not sure you can get started alone and you would rather have someone to guide you? Click here, to schedule a 1:1 Consulting session. This action step can be first on your list to reclaiming your focus and never again missing your child scoring the winning point.