5 Ways to Stay Focused
Been thinking about focal points a lot lately. I think it’s because I’ve noticed how easily I become distracted when I lose sight of my focal point.
A daily example of this is going on the Internet, finding something interesting to read, and clicking on a hyperlink that takes me to another page. I start reading that article and then it links me onto some other article that seems equally as interesting and I start reading that. Before you know it, I’m five pages deep into something I never intended to read in the first place. By the time I lift my eyes up from the ocean waves of seemingly good information time has quickly passed by. I’m set adrift in the vast open shore of lost time with nothing to show for it.
A few years back, I taught students with learning challenges how to design jewelry. It started with a focal point. My hope was to give them a clear visual that we start with a specific eye-catching center before building a frame of stones that complement the focal point. This example was easy using a necklace. At the base of the necklace, they placed their favorite hand-picked gemstone and then symmetrically built on each side a pattern to highlight their favorite stone.
Many of us need these focal points to keep our minds steady on an idea or task. We are energized by goals, tangible results and the feelings of accomplishment this laser focus brings forth. Many times, recalibrating our thinking on a point of truth or inspiration gives us the motivation to press on. Soldiers have talked about keeping their minds on the safety of those on their special forces team. This finely tuned focus keeps them from being distracted from dangerous decoys that could be fatal for their fellow trooper.
What is it that you focus on to keep you centered? What brings clarity, vision and propels you to stay on course?
For many, starting out their day with a morning meditation or prayer helps bring focus on the things that are inspiring and sets one’s mindset for the day. Many choose a scripture verse, poem or uplifting blog. These various options can set the rudder on your course to wade through the choppy waves of distraction.
We are bombarded with distractions from all our senses. Anything from constant repetitive commercials on television or ads that pop up on electronic media. Music lyrics and advertising jingles marinate our thoughts. Fast food places on every corner make it super convenient to eat at random without healthy food preparation. Billboards tantalize our senses of things we don’t need or want. All of this requires a pre-decided micro-second decision of what choice we will make.
In the few moments it takes to figure out how to get out of a pop-up screen it can derail your thoughts of concentration. This minor reset can take more than a few moments to reconnoiter. It’s easy to lose momentum as we are galloping through a great article, a good movie or a meaningful conversation with a loved one to only be distracted by an annoying commercial, the buzz of our phone or our wandering mind.
What measures have you taken in your life to stay focused? Here are 5 for me that help me stay on course.
#1. Something that has been very helpful to me is to focus on the word of God each morning and one of my favorite scriptures is in Isaiah 26:3 (amp) where it says:
You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind is stayed on you because he commits himself to you, leans on you and hopes confidently in you.
#2. Mind Map my day or week of all the areas I need to focus on and who I need to connect with.
# 3. I record most movies or programs to avoid the irritating commercial that takes me out of the mood of the movie message.
# 4. When working or with company I keep my cell phone out of my line of sight, have the sound turned off and keep it on vibrate if I’m expecting an important call. Reminder to notify the person I’m with that I may need to take a call. Most often I don’t and I just turn off my phone during the time to connect with them.
# 5. Remove all distractions from my desk when I need to concentrate at my computer and only keep open the page, I’m working on currently on my computer
There is tremendous freedom and sense of control in our ability to choose the focal point of our mind. If our goal is to guide and direct our thoughts to that which is good, meaningful and encouraging then we might want to choose carefully what we feed ourselves through our ears, our eyes and our minds as we walk through the web of distractions in our daily lives. Let’s untangle those unneeded ideas and talk tracks that are not beneficial to us or others.
Lastly, something that’s been helpful is to ask myself if the thought I’m entertaining is something I would share with my closest love ones. For this I look to 2 Corinthians 10:5 that says, we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
I hope you can find ways to guard your most valuable assets: your heart and your mind while you traverse the rocky waters of life.
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