Focus Your Light
© 2002 Elena Fawkner
Remember when you were a kid how you could make paper catch fire by focusing sun's rays with a magnifying glass? You'd look over your shoulder at sun, get angle of rays just right, and move magnifying glass until you could see a small circle of bright light on piece of paper in front of you. Gradually, that circle began to turn brown and paper began to smoulder until its edges began to curl under as flame took hold.
How did that humble magnifying glass start something as powerful and elemental as a fire? The answer, of course, is concentration. Concentration of sun's rays into a tiny, intense circle of heat. In a word, FOCUS.
We work same way. If we truly focus our energy, concentration and creativity, we bring an intensity to task that we just can't generate if these things are scattered amongst several projects at once.
Now, to simply say to you, "focus your energy and you will achieve greater results" is all very well. It's quite another matter entirely to be able to do it, especially when there are umpteen different priorities constantly tugging away at you, each demanding at least some of your attention and NOW.
To bring focus to your various activities, you need to break cycle of allowing yourself to be distracted from task at hand.
-> Identify Priority Tasks
To start with, you should allocate your time proportionately to all of various tasks you need to do. Notice I said NEED to do. The first step is to decide what truly needs to be done and what doesn't. If you categorize a task as something that needs to be done, ask yourself why it is necessary. Another way of asking same question is to ask yourself, "what will happen if I don't do this today?". If ultimate consequence is that nothing will happen, why do it?
If you find yourself reluctantly concluding, well, I don't NEED to do this, I WANT to, then put it into "need to do" category. Doing things for yourself, for your own enjoyment or satisfaction, should be a priority. Focus is not only about doing things you should do, it is doing things you want to do as well. By including in your need to do list things that are for your own personal pleasure and enjoyment, you replenish yourself and this in turn allows you to bring even greater focus, awareness and creativity to your other activities. So, give yourself permission to enjoy yourself.
->Allocate Time to Priority Tasks
Now that you have identified your 'need to do' activities, decide when you are going to do them and estimate how long you think they will take. Then add 40%. One of immutable laws of universe is that everything takes longer than you think it will. Save yourself stress of running to keep up with clock.
When thinking about when you will do a specific task, work with your body. Are you a morning person, a night-owl, a late-afternoon person or something else entirely? Whichever you are, schedule for that time your most intellectually demanding tasks. If you're a morning person, for example, and one of your 'need to do' activities is to write a sales page for your website, allocate this task to your prime time. Then allocate your less intellectually demanding activities, such as reading and responding to email, to your off-peak time.
Similarly, don't schedule your personal time for your prime time. Again, if you're a morning person, schedule your hour lying out in sun for mid-afternoon, your 'off-peak' time.
By making strategic use of your time in this way you will be making most efficient use of your prime time while STILL being able to do things that YOU enjoy, and on a daily basis!