Worry is a down payment on a problem you may never have. – Unknown
What does that mean?
To me, this says that we should quit worrying. The quote goes on to point out that the problem you are worrying about might not even happen.
The quote implies that we should focus our time and energy on enjoying what we have or working on the problems that are already present. How much more do you think you could get done if you could banish worry from your life and instead live it?
Why is focus important?
Focus is the fine art of ignoring the things that need to be ignored. If you can stay focused, all that’s left is the important stuff, right? Focus helps give energy to your actions, keeps you on target and helps keep you moving forward.
With focus, you can see past (or through) the distractions and find the real root of the problem and begin formulating a solution. With focus, you can zero in on what is right and wrong with your plan and improve it. With focus you can use the word focus in every sentence for two paragraphs straight. 8)
Where can I apply this in my life?
This is one area that I still need some help with. For me, it’s actually impulse control (or lack thereof) that ruins my focus. Like most engineers, when I get ‘in the groove’ the hours fly by & people have to remind me to eat or go home or say goodnight to the kids. Other times I’m OSS (Oh! Something Shiny!) or as the dog in UP! (the movie) would say: “SQUIRREL!”
So, when I need to focus, I do a quick counting meditation (count slowly to 4 and start again, focus only on the number you are on, nothing else) to help clear extraneous thoughts from my mind. As a matter of fact, once I typed the UP! reference, my mind went off on a tangent and I had to do one to get back to writing! Sometimes I amaze myself with my timeliness.
Once I’ve counted to 4 about a dozen times, things have calmed down enough that I can see the thing I want to focus on, and the distractions start to fade. I take a moment to gather my thoughts and reinforce the thing I am going to focus on. In the case of writing this, I am focused on what I do to try to re-focus when I’ve gone all OSS.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that a calm mind is, for me at least, a crucial step in being able to focus. Sometimes music can replace the counting meditation. What music works for you, of course, will depend on your tastes and what you need to focus on. For tasks that require physical energy you might choose different music than those tasks requiring mental acuity.
Grab some paper and write down what was going on the last few times you were having difficulty maintaining focus. Were people a distraction? Was something on the TV a distraction? Was music a distraction (perhaps the neighbor had a party going). Was it a conversation in the next cube or some juicy gossip near the break room?
Now that you have a list of some times when you have had trouble achieving or maintaining focus, let’s look for a pattern. Are you easily distracted by sound? Does motion out of the corner of your eye cause problems? Does the A/C blow down your neck? Do the overhead lights flicker or are they too bright?
If you can find a pattern, then that would be the first thing to try to overcome. If not, find the place where the added focus would be the most important to your life, and start there.
Either way, you have a situation where focus is problematic. You should know what the issue is, based on your notes. First comes the easy part, the brainstorming to come up with ideas on how to eliminate or reduce the distraction that is most damaging to your ability to focus.
Now comes the hard part. Sort through all the ideas you had and see what will work, and put a line through all the ones that won’t. But allow yourself to be creative, you’ll be surprised what will be allowed.
At one place I worked, we had some people doing CAD work, but the cube farm was too brightly lit. To get the darkness needed, they proposed a cardboard ‘tent’ over their cubes to block the light, and management agreed!
I knew a guy who had problems with motion out of the corner of his eye, so he got some cheap glacier style glasses (with dark side flaps) and broke out the lenses. Problem solved, instant blinders. Noise canceling head phones have done wonders for me when chatty people were in the next cube.
So, I guess the point of this is to not worry, be focused. Come up for air from time to time, but go back and stay focused. Don’t forget to keep going back to your list each time you notice you’ve lost focus, add it to the list, and do some brainstorming!
From: Twitter, @DavidRoads
confirmed at : seen all over Twitter and the Web, but either unattributed or as Unknown. A few places gave attribution to Joyce Meyer, but I was unable to find a source to confirm.
Photo by pedrosimoes7