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How to stay focused despite distractions or insecurities

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

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A lot of us have trouble when it comes to starting and finishing one specific thing.

For a minute it seems like we are clear on what we want to do, but then when we look at the clock, one hour has passed and it turns out that we haven't finished what we said we would've done by now.

Why does this keep happening over and over again? We're responsible human beings who have achieved plenty of things in the past, and we should know better by know. We should know how to finish a simple task without deviating from it every single minute, but for some reason, it's not as easy as it sounds!

Why can't we focus?

The #1 reason why we can't focus on one specific thing, is because we don't really acknowledge and respect our initial decision to do that thing.

Making decisions is not the same as acting on them. Sometimes we take pleasure on the mere fact of making a decision, which later on is never executed. This happens quite often when we make plans. The sensation of making a plan is already so good, that after we do it, we end up never executing on it.

Planing is, by no means, a bad thing. Planing is great and in many cases it's very necessary. However, with experience I've discovered that planing alone doesn't really work.

Sticking to our plan

You may be wondering why we find it so hard to execute, after we've made a choice. Why don't we stick to our plan? Well, usually it's a combination between life happening, and how strong the root of our decisions is.

For this particular situation, I will dare to reduce ''life happening'' to 2 factors: thoughts happening and external circumstances happening. These 2 factors trigger us into following or moving away from our initial decision. However, if our decisions have a strong root, these triggers should not affect significantly the execution of our plan.

This is what happens to me

I'll give you an example of my own that maybe you can relate to.

Usually, the first thing that I do in the morning when I get to work, is a to-do list of the things that I need to get done. I even limit my tasks within time frames, and after I finish my list, it seems like I'll have a marvellous day! However, when my decisions don't have strong roots, my day ends up looking completely different!

Colleagues start to approach me with questions, comments, new tasks, you name it, and not only I loose complete focus of what I was doing, but I also start squeezing into my to-do list, more and more things.

Not enough importance

The reason why I allow this to happen, is because I don't give enough importance to my already existing to-do list. Those things that I have written down, each one of them, have a reason to be there, but apparently, I forget. The reason is not that I want to finish them to tick them off the list, the reason is that someone else is trusting me to finish those tasks, and it's in my best responsibility to do so. It's also within my best responsibility to take care of my well-being, so that my work is done with care, and the results that I produce have good quality.

What I'm trying to say here, is that every little thing that we choose to do, must not only be backed up with a good reason, but we also need to remember what that reason is. We need to remember it, because if we don't, when people come to us asking for our time, the only good reason for not giving it away that we can come up with is ''I don't have time''. And we all know how sucky it feels to constantly reply with that answer, because it makes us feel overwhelmed and like we're not managing our time very well, so we rather act as if we have time, when really we're harming the quality of our performance in doing anything.

Why remember?

Now let's put together all the pieces.

Remembering why we choose to do the things that we put on our planing, will give us the strength to stick to them, when life gets in the way. Life can present itself through the external triggers that we talked about, while it can also attack us through our own thoughts and insecurities. I personally start to think about other things that I would rather do instead of what I need to do, or my fear of failing gets in the way and re-directs me into doing something else.

However, remembering the reason behind your choices will help you stay grounded and in track. It will help you notice when other things represent a risk to the chances of you finishing what you started. Remembering why you started truly is gold and it will keep you focused.

Life throwing us balls

Lack of focus really happens when life throws at us balls that deviate us from our main task. These balls can come from outsiders asking us for things that will cause us to deviate, or they can come from inside of us. The only thing that will keep us focused, is acknowledging our initial choices, by creating a strong root as to why we need to stick to them, and more importantly, remembering these whys!!!

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