If you wear glasses, you understand focus really well. Why is it easy for people who need glasses? Because many of them just cannot see what is in front of them without their glasses. If you cannot see clearly, it is very hard to function effectively.
I have been shortsighted since I was 15 years old. Without my glasses, I cannot read well, drive, enjoy TV or notice facial expressions from half a meter away. Without glasses, I cannot do my presentations, coach, cook, clean the house or even choose what clothes to wear. My vision plays a big part in my life, and without it, I am crippled.
Mental focus works the same. If we are not focused, it is as if our vision is blurred. The lack of focus affects all aspects of our life negatively and we are crippled.
Life coaching is a great way to bring clarity to life and change what does not work for us. I believe that parents do the best job when they see themselves as their children’s life coaches. Therefore, I believe that you can teach your kids how to focus at home.
If you read this blog regularly, you already know I believe that focused parents raise focused kids.
In life, we get what we focus on and the quality of our life depends greatly on how well we perceive it and how much attention we give to our goals, dreams, success, health and happiness.
Unfortunately, most people focus on what does not work in their life and they get exactly that: more things that do not work.
Try this: “step out of your body” for a second and listen to your thoughts. What are you thinking about? Are you thinking about how fortunate and successful you are or about something that is not working well?
Letting go for more focus
Many people feel they are inefficient and it takes them a long time to complete tasks that they could do in half or even in quarter of the time with focus. Efficiency is the result of a focused mind.
When you focus on something, you blur the rest and stop paying attention to it. This means that focus requires letting go of some things in favor of others. Just look around you and shift your focus from one thing to another and you will see.
Overwhelm is the opposite of focus
Many people, including many of my clients, find it hard to let go. They try to engage in everything in hope of losing nothing in the blur, but this only limits their efficiency and they feel overwhelmed.
Overwhelm is the opposite of focus. When we are overwhelmed, we have a fuzzy feeling that we cannot distinguish what is more important and what is less important. People who cannot focus and prioritize cannot make decisions and “clear their plate”.
Therefore, without letting go of some things in favor of others, things just keep piling up and overwhelm keeps rising.
Why we lose focus
Some people feel unfocused for health reasons. Some medication can impair focus as a side effect. However, the most common reasons for being out of focus are emotional. When people cannot manage their emotions, those emotions clutter their focus and they become inefficient.
Just recall the last fight you have had with someone important and how it impaired your function for the following days. For some, it will even result in physical sickness, which starts a cycle of blur causing more blur.
If you are worried that you have a health reason for feeling out of focus, go to your doctor. Do not think it will go away by itself and do not tell yourself, “This is who I am. I’m just not an efficient person”. Every person can improve his or her clarity and efficiency. Some things can help us eliminate distractions, so taking care of your emotional state can do wonders for your focus.
In this series, I will share some useful tips to improve your focus. I promise that if you implement them one by one, you will bring more clarity into your life. Implementing the tips in this series and will be like getting a new pair of glasses and seeing the world clearly and sharply.
Every post will have a new tip for a better “vision”. Try it for a week and see how it brings more clarity and how your become actions more effective. One week is enough to see a difference. However, research says that you need to repeat an activity three weeks to make it a habit, so keep following each tip for 21 days.
Focus tip: 20-20-20
Our life today is overloaded with visual information. Imagine yourself riding a wagon pulled by a horse in the outback 100 years ago. How many different things do you see in a ride of one or two hours?
Now, get yourself into your car and drive for 3 minutes to the next service station. You will probably see more than 1,000 times that. Your brain will have to process everything you see along the way and decides what is relevant and what is not very quickly. It might be overwhelming and it might affect your focus.
These days, we spend many hours a day in front of a computer. Sitting in the same position looking at a screen disturbs the focus, dries our eyes and causes us strain. This can make us physically see things blurry.
We need to let our eyes relax from time to time and reduce the flood of incoming information. Doing this allows our brain to “restart”. So once every 20 minutes, give your eyes a rest and focus on an object that is 20 meters away for 20 seconds. Your brain will relax and you will stay sharp and alert.
Remember: every 20 minutes, 20 meters away, 20 seconds. 20-20-20.
Alternatively, you can take a 20-second break every 20 minutes and close your eyes. Breathing deeply will also help you relax and reduce your stress.
Join me next time for the next focus tips.
Until then, stay focused,
This post is part of the series How to Focus:
- How to Focus: 20-20-20 Vision
- How to Focus: Juggling Life with Goals