'Thanksgiving' is a tradition in the United States, of giving thanks. The celebration falls on the on the fourth Thursday of November, which is on the 24th this year. Friends, family and communities…
In a world with so many distractions, we need to protect one of our most precious resources, namely: attention. Sometimes we may feel unable to focus on the task before us, and we may not understand why. It may be that our attention is not focused, but divided up into too many parts.
To make things happen and to be effective, we need to have our attention focused on what we are doing. This would lead to being highly effective, which is very rewarding and leads to success. Let’s have a look at how we can protect attention and get much more focused.
Finding daily inspiration
How do you regain focused attention when you are feeling sluggish? When it comes to lacking inspiration, there is a lot that you can do about the issue. Inspiration can bring that ‘wake-up’ call that one needs to bring one’s attention back to the priority tasks at hand.
- Reappraisal: Over time, I can increase my ability to focus and succeed at my goals. I believe that I can do it. I make sure that I get inspired every day to keep going, while I sharpen my focus. I develop the skills to maintain focus on my goals and priorities.
I collect affirmations that show the value of focusing my attention.
Whatever it takes, I am getting this done. I narrow my focus.
I ignite my willpower to stay focused.
When we are afraid of disappointing others, we may allow them to distract us. Let’s rather help each other to stay focused. We need to clarify to ourselves and each other what the cost of distractions is. We can get support from each other to protect ourselves from distractions. This mutual understanding would make it more likely that we will achieve our goals and not give in to unreasonable expectations.
- Reappraisals: I ask myself – ‘What are my priorities?’. I choose what to do and what not to do. I excuse myself from unhelpful distracting events. I build an understanding with those around me and set boundaries. I put a strong focus on the things that are uplifting, empowering and energising – and also the things that bring me joy.
I experience a sense of inner and outer harmony
My boundaries are respected
I stay focused and on task
Digital platforms have become very good at using emotional cues that capture our attention. Emotions exert a very strong pull on our attention. Therefore, when we develop emotional resilience, it becomes easier to focus in spite of emotional distraction. Also, when we focus our thoughts on our goals, newly generated emotions will pull attention towards achievement of the goals.
- Reappraisal: What if an emotion pulls me away from my work? I can regulate the emotion and re-engage my work. I notice that the more regulated I am, the easier it becomes to focus on the task at hand. I notice and disengage distracting thoughts and acknowledge that distractions undermine my progress and effectiveness. I remind myself of good reasons for staying focused. The more I regulate emotions, the more resilient I become – and the sharper my focus gets.
I regulate the emotions that are diverting my attention.
I use attention to observe and regulate my emotions.
I regulate emotions that may cause distraction.
I do a few minutes of meditation every day.
When someone is in the habit of diluting attention too much, they may begin to notice that it causes a lack of effectiveness. Making focus a habit is a worthwhile pursuit, because success can be predicted by one’s ability to pay attention to the task at hand. When I focus on being mindful, I can pay attention to the task at hand.
- Reappraisals: I do not waste my most valuable resources – time and attention. I become aware of any habitual distraction. I create new habits that put me on the path to success. I habitually direct attention to my priorities.
I like to work effectively, by paying full attention to what I am doing
A strong habit of focusing attention makes it easier to focus
I enjoy the benefits that stem from cultivating helpful habits
It is helpful to set aside a block of distraction-free time for doing important work that require focus. Step by step can we get things done. It helps to keep a balance between taking breaks and getting on with productive work.
- Reappraisals: I focus on getting the right things done, while I minimize distractions. I commit to consistently protecting my attention. When I protect my attention I can get more done in less time. I can use soothing music to quiet my mind, when it is time to focus. I write down my tasks in a list (or type them out) and I prioritize them. I get started with doing the work.
I notice when I lose focus and I bring my attention back.
I reduce the demands for my attention.
I set priorities and filter out distractions.
Distraction is the opposite of inspiration. When I get distracted, things take longer to do. It is also harder to do something when distracted. Sometimes ‘multitasking’ is more of a distraction than a way of getting more things done. Distraction may inhibit one’s ability to flourish. One has to clarify which actions will bring one closer to one’s goals and which actions will only distract.
- Reappraisals: I think about the conditions that will help me to focus on the task at hand. I direct my thoughts towards my goals, and increase my focus. I still my mind’s chatter, I let go of the mental clutter. I steer my attention away from distraction and towards focusing on the task at hand.
I notice when an activity is a waste of my energy and I stop
I direct and focus my thoughts on high priority tasks
I disengage any negative, distracting thoughts
I disengage all the everyday distractions
Confidence increases our ability to focus on the task at hand. Confidence levels tend to rise when we are productive. When we are open to being inspired in unexpected ways, it enables us to feel confident and to keep going.
- Reappraisal: When I focus, I get things done. My confidence diverts attention towards my priorities and away from distractions. The emotions that arise from my confidence pull attention towards my priorities, resulting in effective use of my time and resources. My attention capacity keeps increasing. I accumulate proof that I can stay focused and that I can stay on task.
I express the belief that I can do this
I know I can get it done
I do one thing at a time
I focus on the task