Focus Your Mind and Get Your Work Done!

It’s time to get something done!

Stop-SignStop emailing.
Stop cleaning up.
Stop filing unimportant papers.
Stop procrastinating.

Let’s get down to some serious, focused work.

How Do You Focus?

Do you focus for small bits of time throughout the day?

Or are you one of those people who can zoom in on a project and emerge hours later dazed, wondering where the day went?

MicroscopeRegardless of which camp you fall in, getting down to work requires you to change the magnification power of your mind.

Remember those microscopes you used in biology class that had three different lenses, each with a different magnification? You’d look at a slide and twist the mechanism, and WOW! You’d start seeing things you hadn’t seen before.

Tightening Your Focus

Your mind is like an old microscope. And getting down to serious, concentrated work requires a different, tighter focus.

For example, when I write, I can’t just scan quickly, the way I read emails. I’ve got to change my focus so I see and wrestle with each word and sentence and phrase.  And that takes a higher level of magnification.

For some people, shifting from one lens to another looks easy.  But for extroverts like me, shifting the mental lens to a higher magnification is hard.

The benefit of increasing your focus is worth the struggle.

When your mind is fully focused, time flies by. Small details take on bigger meaning. And ideas seem almost magically to fall into place.

3 Simple Strategies to Help Focus Your Mind

I’ve found that the only sure way for me to force my brain into gear is to create external deadlines. Here are three simple strategies to push yourself into a focused state.

  1. Give your boss or client or publisher a specific completion date at the beginning of a project.
  2. Set up regular meetings with someone to review your progress and then don’t cancel the meetings — no matter what.
  3. Work with people who will push you (and give them permission to do so).

Even with these structures in place, you’ll probably find that your brain will resist more and more as a deadline gets closer. But the greater the resistance you feel, the closer you are to breaking through to a deeply focused state.

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Learn How You Focus, Then Repeat

The next time you’re struggling to focus your attention and get your work done, pay close attention to the things you do to get yourself to focus. What tricks do you use to get your brain to change lenses? Do you create a hard deadline? Do you seek out an accountability buddy? Do you summon the courage to simply get started, giving you the momentum to continue?

Once you recognize the ways you push yourself to focus, you can use them again and again, just as easily as changing the lens of a microscope.

Share one or two of your own focus tips. I’m always eager to try out new strategies that might make it easier! 🙂

  • Randy

    Good Topic,
    I am going thru a major shift in my life. I am bent on becoming successful. I am laser focused on changing my current situation! That being said, I have old habits of not completing what I have started. Because of that, I have focus practices that I do to stay on track.
    Anytime I want to take a break or I feel myself losing focus;
    I remind myself of my personal “WHY” (the reason for doing what I am doing).
    I start to think about how if I continue to not do the things I need to do then I fall into the trap of never moving forward. I keep my “WHY” in front of me. My “WHY” – is the driving force behind my focus. If I want to attain the success I seek then I cannot afford to be stagnant or go backwards.
    I have said all of that just to say that my focus tip is having a detailed “WHY” – Always having a reason and a purpose for doing the things you do. Having a hunger to continue on the path that you are on. That type of hunger coupled with a detailed “Why” will create a mental focus to overpower – slothfulness, procrastination, excuses, distractions and fear.

    Thank you again for a thought-provoking topic.
    Reading your blog each and every week is also on my to do list 🙂
    I hope you continue on because this is one of my mini-goals each week that I do.

    • Andrea Kihlstedt

      Thank you, Randy, for letting me know that my blog is a part of your life. I’m coming up on the one year anniversary of writing this blog and I’ve been wondering if it’s worthwhile and if I should keep on. My WHY? To clarify the ideas and challenges I’m wrestling with and share them in the hope that they might be helpful to others. So, Randy, your comment gives me good reason to keep going! Many thanks.

  • Beth Raps

    To refocus, one thing I do is notice that there is an “I” noticing I am not focused.
    I then create a cocoon around this not-focused self within me and become tenderly interested in what it wants, because usually (I affirm) I am a focused person.
    It tells me.
    I give it what it needs.
    I return to focusing.
    Fear it will ask something exorbitant of me is groundless, it never does. It usually wants to pee, eat a small something, have a drink of water, stretch–all those things we know we should do while working intensively!
    The relationship between my higher wise self and small selves has vastly improved, in part through this.
    Your blog is wonderful, Andrea, I hope you find your WHY? and keep on with it.

  • Andrea Kihlstedt

    Oh Beth, you raise such a wonderful point…that each of us are a lively combination of more than one voice and we are always tinkering at the intersections between those voices…at the spot where they come together and apart. Where they struggle with one another and then flow side by side. I love this image and the idea of taking gentle care of all of our voices because we are not one or another, but all of them in a constantly shifting equilibrium. Thank you Beth. And thanks too for your note of encouragement to continue the blog. 🙂