I simply love the FOCUS acronym that stands for, “follow one course until successful”. Merriam- Webster defines focus as, “a main purpose or interest”. For the purposes of this discussion, I’ll define FOCUS as the point where the thoughts of what you want converge with your determination to see it manifest.
For you to focus, you must identify what you need to focus on. You must first decide what is important to you. Not urgent, but important. You need to know where you’re headed in order to move in the right direction. Sometimes this can be a challenge because there are so many things in your life you would like to change. However, the first step is to acknowledge that you can’t do them all at the same time, and narrow down your scope.
What should you focus on? Take the time to look at all the areas of your life and determine which one would most greatly impact every other area. There’s an old saying I heard while growing up, “the squeaky wheel gets the oil”. What area in your life needs the most attention right now? Is it your finances, your health, your career, your lifestyle, or your personal relationships? Where should the “oil” be applied?
When you determine that area, zero in on the possible trouble spots. For example, when I was laid off from my job, I immediately knew that my finances (or lack thereof) would affect every other area of my life—my health, because I would no longer have nor be able to afford health insurance; my career, because I had to reassess and make adjustments to my career path (which might mean paying for additional training); my personal relationships, because I discovered that I’m easily irritated when I’m broke (maybe you know what I mean), and my lifestyle, because no income means no way to pay for rent and other vital living expenses. With all of this in mind, I knew that my primary focus needed to be on securing a livable income.
You’re probably thinking, “Yes, Lois, but if I don’t work on the other areas, my life will be in chaos”. Well, the reality is that, regardless of today’s demand for multi-tasking, spreading yourself too thin will ultimately bring on an avalanche of stress. You may start out doing okay trying to juggle everything at once, but it will all catch up with you—and it won’t be pretty.
Not sure just how to get focused? I recommend the following steps:
- After you’ve zeroed in on the “squeaky wheel”, write down your goal to address the issue. Make sure to include the elements that make it a SMART Goal (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time sensitive)
- Next, assess possible stumbling blocks so you can get them out of the way. This calls for asking some tough questions and answering them honestly.
- Formulate your strategy of how you will tackle the problem. Be creative in brainstorming possible ways to address the issues. Try to come up with at least 10.
- Once you select your strategy, compile a list of the steps you’ll have to take to make the goal happen.
- And finally, TAKE THE STEPS, one at a time.
This last step is absolutely necessary. You wouldn’t believe how many people go through the first four steps and then fail to do the last one!
The antidote for the feeling of overwhelm is to FOCUS – follow one course until successful. I’d love to hear how this works for you.