I’ve lost focus, again.
It always happens to me, losing my focus. In a world of noise, whether it be my Twitter feed or the challenge of looking after my parents, my concentration slips, and I’ve lost focus, again.
Of course, I have my life goals to help me focus — but sometimes you need a focus for now.
As a writer, suffering from a lost focus is a significant problem. Sometimes ideas cascade as if they were falling from a waterfall after a storm laden night. The surge was unstoppable as it plunges over the precipice.
Now, the midday sun draws a constant sweat on my forehead as I walk the desert in search of an oasis. My mind is the desert as I search for ideas like one would look for water.
A lost focus does that to you, and there is nothing worse than feeling thirsty.
The damage a lost focus does to your long-term goals, your decisions, and your happiness cannot be overstated enough. A lack of concentration, along with the sense of loss leaves us feeling distracted and unfocused.
Why do I keep losing focus?
The fight for our attention has never been greater than it is now. It’s the blunt reality of the internet. Without our attention, the internet is just a spider’s web of linked computers. The tech giants can’t let that happen. Their shareholders wouldn’t tolerate it.
So, distraction is running full pelt towards us as every provider of material, whether it be video, articles like this, or companies vying to sell us their goods — they all want our attention.
Is this why we keep losing focus?
It’s not helping for sure. But there are other reasons. Looking at my situation I can see I have set myself some long-term goals. The path to these is — as it might say on the label of the tinned variety — long term.
Goals are rightly set in the future. But sometimes the steps to such goals aren’t the easiest to climb. When tasks push us in directions we aren’t used to, we procrastinate. We seek distraction. The internet makes this divergence from the task we should be focused on incredibly easy to achieve.
And there we have it, a lost focus.
Procrastination is a symptom, not a cause of lost focus.
Many proponents of the battle with procrastination declare we should remove social media apps from our phones. Remove notifications, remove the alerts, remove it all, comes the cry to defeat procrastination.
But that isn’t a solution.
It’s like turning the sound down while listening to a song you don’t like. All the time it’s still playing, you can still hear it, regardless of the volume. You might even mute the sound, but the song is still there, waiting to be played.
Let’s not forget what the problem is. A lost focus.
We lose focus because the goal we’re working towards includes a step that is harder to take than anticipated.
How do I get my lost focus back?
We want our lost focus back. Satisfaction isn’t found in the time spent hiding from the task we should be focused on.
As always, we need a process to help us concentrate on what matters.
1. Re-assess your goal.
Stubbornness is a quality that often helps us stay the course when we’re playing the long game, but, when you’ve lost focus, it isn’t helpful. Being fixated on the goal or step to be taken locks us in place, thus opening the door to procrastination.
Reassessing your goal brings us to the thought exercise of inversion which is the thought process of doing the opposite.
Inversion: The art of doing the opposite
Winning isn’t losing. In hindsight it seems such an obvious statement, but one we can’t readily accept. We are so focused on winning, we forget about not losing, but the first step to winning is to not lose.
We are now inverting. Using inversion to ask not how to win, but how not to lose. The distinction is clear, we are doing the opposite. Of course, by focusing on not losing you are also preventing your opponent from winning. — How to Solve Problems Successfully Using the Power of Inversion
When we hit a goal or a step towards our goal which is too big to take, we need to rethink it. Rethinking — or reassessing — isn’t wrong.
Our stubbornness tells us otherwise, and this is wrong.
Flexible thinking such as applying the logic of inversion enables us to move forward. Instead of asking how can complete this task, ask how you could make it easier. Could you break it into smaller — more manageable tasks?
2. Set a time limit.
Having rethought the goal or step we need to take; we also need to rethink the time we’ve allowed ourselves to work in. Setting a time limit focuses our minds. It’s strange how a short diminishing window within which we must work forces us to clear our minds and concentrate.
Time without limits drifts as we begin to see the creep of entropy appear in the task we are working to achieve. This is the last thing we need.
In business, time is money. So, it means we act decisively to achieve goals. In our personal lives, we don’t appreciate the days we have left, so we let time drift.
Set a time limit, it is a clear step to correcting the lost focus we’re experiencing.
3. Work and assess the results.
When you think about it, the stage is set, isn’t it? You’ve hit the wall. But rather than lose yourself and your focus to procrastination, you’ve reimagined your goal.
Using inversion, and a time limit within which to work — all you need to do is the work!
But, don’t simply let it pass as a moment in history.
Assess the results. Recognise how you used this three-step process to recover your lost focus and deliver the goal or step you needed to complete. Furthermore, appreciate what you’ve achieved.
You’re now a step nearer your goal.
Three steps to recover your lost focus.
A lost focus is damaging to your objectives. In business, these problems are often addressed by the link to revenue and profits — and the fact that there are others involved in the process as well.
Working alone, the pressure is on you.
The solution, the easy way to overcome the lost focus is to know there is a simple three-step approach to help you recover the focus you need. Using a combination of inversion and reassessing your goal can quickly get you thinking.
A task that appears too hard often just needs re-thinking.
The black hole of our lives which is time can easily be wasted on doom-scrolling and the like.
Use your time wisely; set a limit on the time you’re going to block out to help you achieve this goal. And then, just do it as Nike would say.
Simply put, it is an easy three steps to help you concentrate and correct your lost focus.
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Originally published at https://www.resolve.blog on May 5, 2021.