Focus On Living

By: D. A. Slinkard

We are a distracted society, and we see the perilous times happening around us. We have babies, toddlers, children, tweens, teens, young adults, and older adults who are distracted with the likes of technology. In fact, technology has become the primary babysitter throughout our country. It pains me to see the number of people who have their head down because they are watching something on their phone, tablet, or electronic device. I cannot tell you how many times I see little children who are being kept occupied by having an electronic device in front of them, and the moment you take it away, they begin having withdrawal symptoms. We have a distracted society who has an addiction problem with technology.

This article is about overcoming distractions and having the ability to focus on the tasks at hand. For a person to improve their skillset, this is something that can be developed over time, and it is going to require building some habits. I have found some habits that have been helpful to me, and we are going to address these in this article.

First – Set clear goals. This should be a “no brainer” but many people are walking around without a clue of what they want to achieve. They know what they want to have in the end, but they have no earthly idea on how they will achieve it. When you take the time to write out clear-cut goals, this gives you something to focus on and yes, you must write them out. No more keeping them in your head. It does not truly become a goal until you commit the thought to paper.

Second – Prioritize what needs to be done. When you have a specific goal in mind, you will be able to see exactly what tasks you need to complete to achieve your goal. When you focus on the priority of what needs to be done, it will help you focus further on completing your goals. Again, an elementary concept but many people struggle seeing their goals to completion.

Third – Put away the distractions. It is time to go to an area where you are not going to be distracted or bothered. Turn off your electronics, not just to “Do not disturb,” but truly turn them off. Find an area where it can be a distraction-free zone and go do the work that needs to be done.

Fourth – Utilize your time. Too many people are distracted because of a poor ability to properly manage their time. If this is you, start in small increments. Set a timer for 15 minutes and work diligently on your task for the entire 15 minutes. Give yourself a small break and continue to build up your time to 45 to 60 minutes. The longer you do this, the better you will become in remaining focused on what needs to be done. I know, I know – 15 minutes sounds super easy to do, but go ahead and try it. See how well you do going this short amount of time without getting distracted.

Fifth – Reevaluate your efforts. Too often we underestimate how much work will truly be required, and we overestimate our ability to get work done. We need to continuously examine our efforts and give ourselves some constructive feedback. We need to be able to answer what is working well for us, what is not working for us, and what areas we could improve on. When we take the time to reflect on our daily lives, we can build positive habits that will impact our focus.

The trick to all of this is to put everything into practice, and this is not something you are going to conquer overnight. This is going to take repetition, repetition, repetition — and then after you have done all that repetition, it is still going to require some more repetition. Having the ability to focus is a tough task and we, as a society, have succumbed to it because we have enabled our brains to tell us we can no

longer focus on what matters most. We have become addicted to our electronics for the enjoyment they bring.

When you set meaningful goals, plan the work, work the plan, limit your distractions, utilize your time, and self-reflect on what is and is not working – this is where you begin to grow your focus. Everything you want to achieve in life is possible, but you must learn to focus on living life on purpose.

By: D. A. Slinkard

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