Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Post #60: Let's Focus

Why do some people seem to get what they want and achieve a lot, while the rest of us struggle and thrash around like we're riding bumper cars at the carnival? Do the anointed ones possess magical powers? Are they considerably smarter than the rest of us? Do they work harder? Are they just lucky?

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about my ability (or sometimes lack of ability) to focus my mind and get things done. I've always been a "project" person, meaning that when I get excited about something (decorating a cake, remodeling a room, earning a degree, writing a book, etc.) it happens, and there's absolutely no stopping me.

But when I'm not excited about doing something (or am only doing it only because I think I have to), my energy comes to a screeching halt, and I get stuck in a hellish limbo/procrastination state. Even making a simple phone call or completing a five minute task becomes excruciating or impossible. The whole scene wreaks of failure and laziness.

My fellow water-sign brethren (and other mutable types) may relate to this dilemma---we  freeze, then thaw, then steam up---talk about running hot and cold! We may be able to focus and achieve great things one week, only to falter the next.

Perhaps you're consistent enough, but you feel generally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of personal and professional demands on your time. You feel like a hamster on a wheel---like you're running as fast as you can, but not making much progress.

The ability to use our time and energy wisely is extremely important, perhaps now more than ever. With the constant interruption and stimulation of cell phones, emails and texts alone, it's a wonder that we can get anything done, or even complete a thought.

And yet, some people are highly skilled at honing in on what's important and filtering out what's not. They have good mental habits, and don't waste their valuable time. The great news is that we can learn to do this too. Just because it doesn't come naturally, doesn't mean it's out of our reach.

Together, over the next few weeks, we will explore what some of these focusing masters do, and how they do it. Between now and next week, I invite you to join me in taking a hard look at our habits. As we'll discuss next week, identifying problem areas can be the first step to overcoming them.