Advertising

7 Ways to Focus on What Really Matters

Advertising
7 Ways to Focus on What Really Matters

Do you easily lose sight of the things that really matter in your life?

Do you always feel as if you’re constantly jumping from one thing to another throughout the day without having anything to show for your efforts?

Advertising

Here are seven ways to focus on what really matters, right here, right now.

Set three important tasks to complete each and every day.

Your to-do list may be a mile long, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be selective about what you are going to accomplish today. Make a point to set aside three important and/or time-sensitive tasks to complete each and every day. These tasks can be from different or similar areas of your life. For example, you might choose to include one work-related, one personal and one household task for your list, or you might decide to mix up the task types entirely. No matter which tasks you choose, make sure you are focusing on those tasks that should be done sooner rather than later.

Advertising

Seek to provide value in all that you do.

There’s a big difference between something that is done well versus something that is done poorly. Quality of work always speaks for itself, whether it is attention paid to detail, error- or mistake-free work, items that are sturdily constructed with top-grade materials or well thought-out and complete ideas and concepts. Instead of dashing through your work just to get it done, think about how you can bring or enhance the value of your own work. Can you put in a little bit more of your time and energy to make your work stand out? There’s no denying a job well done.

Plan for the long-term.

Instead of focusing on life’s little distractions or annoyances, take a step back and shift your focus to the long term. What goals would you like to achieve a month, a year, five years or ten years from now? Write down your goal in specific, measurable details, including the date you want to reach your goal, how you will know when you reach your goal as well as the specific steps you will take to reach it.

Advertising

Have a clear vision.

Is your mind muddled with lots of different ideas, projects or to-dos? The easiest way to get distracted is having too much information floating around in your head at one time. Get all of those thoughts out of your head and onto a piece of paper or on a computer screen so you can view them objectively. How many different thoughts or ideas do you have? Which items are the most time-sensitive or require more time to complete? See if you can narrow down all of your thoughts to one single vision you are willing to work towards starting right now.

Create a dedicated vision board, planner or calendar.

If you’re having trouble seeing the big picture you might want to consider setting up a vision board or a separate calendar or schedule to remind yourself of what really matters and is important in your life. You can pull out the board whenever you need a reminder without being distracted by all of your regular to-dos and tasks.

Advertising

Schedule regular weekly check-ins.

One of the best ways to stay focused is to consistently review your goals. Make a point to schedule regular check-ins for yourself each week to check up on your progress. Ask yourself whether you kept on track towards your goals or if you were sidetracked during the week. What items can you seek to correct for the following week?

Set aside some time for yourself.

It’s hard to know what to focus on if you’re constantly in motion, running from one thing to another. Try taking some down time just for yourself. Read a good book, watch the tide come in at the beach, go for a walk in the park, or just sit quietly at home. Spending some time alone can help put things in perspective.

Advertising

How are you going to stay focused on what really matters to you in your life? Leave a comment below.

Featured photo credit: Focus/toolstop via flickr.com

More by this author

Rashelle Isip

Blogger, Consultant, and Author

7 Ways to Define Your Own Success 10 Helpful Tips To Effectively Declutter Your Home 15 Bad Habits Which Always Destroy Your Productivity Everyone Should Know These 10 Tips Before Returning To Work After Vacation 15 Useful Tips To Defeat Procrastination, Once And For All

Trending in Productivity

1 How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness 2 Are You Addicted to Productivity? 3 Is Avoiding Difficult Tasks And Doing Easy Tasks First Less Productive? 4 How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data) 5 10 Best Productivity Planners To Get More Done in 2021

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Advertising
How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

Advertising

Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

Advertising

Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

Advertising

3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

Advertising

7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

Advertising

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

Read Next