In a recent article by Joshua Becker entitled “Controlling Your Attention: The Most Important Skill of the 21st Century and How to Do It,” he points out that we are all constantly being distracted by both big and small items.
However, he explains that our attention is “the driving force that shapes our lives. It is what creates wisdom from our past experiences and helps us to make the most out of the skills we’ve developed, the education we’ve experienced, and the talents we’ve accumulated. It is our attention that puts these assets to work, allowing us to make the most of our potential.”
Controlling our attention sounds simple, doesn’t it? Not really. Many of us, myself included, are thinking about work tasks when we are with our family and then worrying about family matters when we are busy at work. Here is what Joshua Becker suggests:
First, “Simplify Your Environment.” Remove the clutter around you, and I’d suggest – focus only on the Top Three Tasks you want to achieve each day. You may also complete some smaller added tasks, but make those Top 3 your primary focus.
Second, he suggests “Practice Mindfulness.” Clear out the distractions. As martial arts expert Bruce Lee said, “Bring the mind into sharp focus and make it alert so that it can immediately intuit truth, which is everywhere. The mind must be emancipated from old habits, prejudices, restrictive thought processes and even ordinary thought itself.”
Next, “Notice When Distractions Are Getting Your Attention.” If this happens, it is crucial that we refocus and get back on track.
Fourth, “Understand Both Big and Small Distractions.” Both can impact our focus. Small ones might be online distractions such as Facebook or unimportant emails. Bigger ones might be constantly worrying about items that most likely won’t even happen. Mark Twain described this as “Paying interest on a debt you never owed.”
Fifth, “Prioritize Time.” In other words, determine or set your intention for the day. If you don’t do this every day, you can potentially be trapped in someone else’s agenda…
“Set Clear Goals.” He points out that “Clear goals channel our attention.” And, I might add, they help us to fulfill our real destiny in business and in life.
Finally, “Take Regular Breaks.” It’s not a competition, and as the author explains, “Rest is different than distraction – especially when we are intentional about it. Rest is not the enemy of productivity. It is a requirement for it.”
He goes on to say, “Controlling your attention may be the greatest skill of the 21st Century. And that’s good news. Because anyone can do it.”
I contend that Focus is the key to all Success & Fulfillment! Be on the watch for our upcoming Next Level Thinking™ workshops.
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