Focus on NOW & do the yucky stuff first

Have you ever looked at all the things you have to do, change, start or finish and think “OMG where do I even start?” That feeling of overwhelm as you realise there is so much to do and so little time to do it, or you think “it’s just too hard, I could never do that”.

The feeling of being overwhelmed by a task, setting up a new business, moving house, studying or even when one wants to change themselves or reinvent themselves, it can all be a little too much. We think about all the things we need to do in order to be ‘successful’ with the task at hand and then fear starts setting in thinking; “how am I going to be able to do it all?”, “can I really do it all?”, “is it worth it?” etc.

So instead of thinking of all the things we need to do as one whole task, why don’t we consider, “what can I focus on today, (or this week/month), to get me one step closer to achieving X?” By making one area a focus for that day, week, month etc, you are allowing complete focus on that one area, making sure it gets done with absolute certainty and conviction.

Some of us, particularly the more detailed of us, like to write a complete list of all the things we need to do to complete the overall task at hand. From here you can then prioritise the list and identify what is 1) urgent, 2) important, 3) can wait etc and re-write the list in order of prioritise. Then you can pick one from your list to focus on for that set period and slowly progress through the list as you complete them

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So how can you focus on just one thing?

Set yourself a focus area/task, determine what you would like to achieve, determine the time you would like to achieve it in, and then go about completing your goal. If you notice you start to get distracted or start working on something else, pull yourself up, and draw your attention back to your assigned task for that period. When that one thing is successful, appreciate and validate your achievement, pick a new one and follow the same steps.

Distraction and procrastination.

There are two main things that can prevent us from achieving what we want, specifically in the timeframe we want to; 1) distraction and 2) procrastination.

Distraction; allowing ourselves to get distracted by what is going on around us, our thoughts going off in another direction, etc. Living in the NOW is one of the most difficult tasks most of us struggle with every minute of the day. Actually being present while we work through what it is we are working on, completely focus on that task without having the distraction of background noise; TV, people talking around you, cars driving past, the sound of a drill in the far distance. Or our thoughts; what is happening on the weekend, what do I need to organise for dinner, what do I need to order for that job, what am I doing with my life. The phone rings, a notification sounds, Facebook open on your computer, emails. There are many distractions that can take us away from right now, and from the task at hand. The task within the task is to remove those distractions as they come into your awareness and completely focus on the task at hand. Notice how much more you achieve when you do this.

Procrastination; allowing ourselves to think “I’ll do it later, it can wait”, while you go off and do something else, generally something a lot more exciting instead. Doing the hard, boring tasks when there are so many more riveting things you could be doing; sitting at your computer desk, looking at your joggers by the front door, looking at the empty boxes that need to be packed or the loaded boxes that need to be unpacked. We as humans have a great ability to convince ourselves ‘tomorrow’; I’ll do it, I’ll start it, I’ll finish it, TOMORROW. Particularly when we have a goal we want to achieve. But today, NOW is the best time to knock these over. And NOW is the best time to get the hard stuff done first, and easy stuff done last.

Remember when you were a child, you more than likely hated your veggies and you would leave them last, when they were cold and even more uninviting. Didn’t your parents always tell you to eat the ‘yucky stuff first’ so you can enjoy and savour the good stuff last? Isn’t that the same for tasking; do the ‘yucky stuff first’, push through the pain of that, and then finish with plenty of momentum, and really enjoying the final steps to finish it off. Doesn’t that make more sense to you?

So today, ask yourself what is it that you can do today, to focus on this week, to get you one step closer to achieving your goal? And even better, what job have you been putting off for weeks, months, maybe even years, that you really need to do? Let’s get that out of the way first and then next week you can focus on something a little more exciting.