I’m naturally a type-A, highly-motivated, person. I’ve never had a problem staying motivated in general, but with so much going on around me (including lots of technology everywhere), I’m easily distracted and pulled away from what I should be focusing on (I recently deactivated my personal Facebook account because it was such a distraction). So, here are my best tips on how to stay focused.
1. Take time to decide what’s important and what you want in life
It’s hard to stay focused on what’s important to you if you don’t know what that is! So, the first step is figuring that out and define your values and create a vision for yourself.
Try creating a list of 10 values that you find personally important. You can also think about how you want to be remembered, or what you would want your obituary to say. This is sort of like thinking about your vision for your life.
2. Make a commitment to yourself
Once you know what you want, decide that you’re going to get it. Do this by making a commitment to yourself. After reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, I became fully aware of how incredibly important it is to commit to what it is that you want.
3. Create a weekly action plan
Every Sunday I create an action plan for the week. The weekly action plan is a mini goal worksheet that helps organize and plan the upcoming week. It will keep you on track and focused.
- Weekly Action Plan
- The 3 areas of your life you want to focus on that week
- What you want ideally from each of the 3 areas
- Why you want what you want
- Your plan to get what you want
- 3 actions for each area that you can do this week to move you closer to your goals (above and beyond what you normally do)
- Your reward for completing each of the 3 mini-goals
- Your signature, symbolizing your commitment to accomplish these things no matter what
Consider the following life categories when creating your action plan: finance, career, relationships, health, personal/spiritual development, recreation, environment, service.
For me, the action plan keeps me focused on what I really want. I like and enjoy so many different hobbies, so I’m easily distracted. Using a weekly action plan ensures that I’ll keep my focus on what’s the most important in my life. It also keeps my tasks for the week realistic. I know that once I’ve completed my 3 main things for the week, everything else is “extra” like bonus points, that I really don’t have to do if I don’t want to. So, there’s no guilt for relaxing; I don’t feel like I should be doing anything more.
4. Reward yourself for your success
As you accomplish your goals, reward yourself. The power of positive reinforcement is powerful; don’t underestimate it.
Every week, after I’ve completed my three tasks for the week, I get a reward (whatever I wrote down that week on my action plan; usually Starbucks!). Having a reward to look forward to is encouraging, and I always look forward to it.
5. Create positive success habits
Aside from using an action plan centered around specific weekly tasks, getting into good daily habits will keep you focused and motivated.
For example, let’s say you want to be healthier but your evenings often are taken over by house work and family things. Implement a morning routine where you work out before you begin your day. By making a habit of this every day, you’re on the path to a successful healthy lifestyle, which is what you wanted. This is different than the action plan because you are making this part of your routine. When you focus on your health in your action plan for a particular week, you can add doing an extra task, but not a habit. That’s the difference between habits and the actions for the week; one is a task or goal above and beyond what you already do and the other becomes part of your daily life.
6. Show gratitude
Part of lacking focus is spreading yourself too thin. And with little time comes little appreciation. If you’re feeling crazy, try expressing gratitude.
The idea of showing gratitude is not new. But it’s also something we forget to make part of our daily routine. If you can reflect on your day and express gratitude every night before bed, it’s likely that you’ll feel better and happier.
Are you easily distracted? What keeps you focused?