Focus Your Light
Focus Your Light
- 2002 Elena Fawkner
Remember when you were a kid how you could make paper
catch fire by focusing the sun's rays with a magnifying
You'd look over your shoulder at the sun, get the angle of
the rays just right, and move the magnifying glass until
you could see a small circle of bright light on the piece
of paper in front of you. Gradually, that circle began to
turn brown and the paper began to smoulder until its edges
began to curl under as the 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 the sun's rays into a tiny,
intense circle of heat. In a word, FOCUS.
We work the same way. If we truly focus our energy,
concentration and creativity, we bring an intensity to the
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
To bring focus to your various activities, you need to break
the cycle of allowing yourself to be distracted from the
task at hand.
-> Identify Priority Tasks
To start with, you should allocate your time proportionately
to all of the 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 the same question is to
ask yourself, "what will happen if I don't do this today?".
If the ultimate consequence is that nothing will happen, why
If you find yourself reluctantly concluding, well, I don't
NEED to do this, I WANT to, then put it into the "need to
do" category. Doing things for yourself, for your own
enjoyment or satisfaction, should be a priority. Focus is
not only about doing the things you should do, it is doing
the 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 the
immutable laws of the universe is that everything takes
longer than you think it will. Save yourself the stress of
running to keep up with the 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
Similarly, don't schedule your personal time for your prime
time. Again, if you're a morning person, schedule your hour
lying out in the sun for mid-afternoon, your 'off-peak'
By making strategic use of your time in this way you will be
making the most efficient use of your prime time while STILL
being able to do the things that YOU enjoy, and on a daily
Compare this approach with a fragmented one. You're a
morning person. You need to write a sales page for your web
site. You also need to read and respond to email today and
you also want to schedule time, just an hour or so, to get
It's morning but, instead of starting your sales page, you
decide to read and respond to your email first, to kind of
ease into the day. That's a breeze because reading and
responding to email is not an intellectually demanding task
and you're at your peak anyway. You finish reading and
responding to your mail two hours later.
Now you think about writing your sales page. But you've
used your peak concentration time on email and you've lost
that sharp edge you always have first thing in the morning.
That makes writing sales copy, an already intellectually
demanding task, even more difficult. You really don't feel
like it right now. So you put it off. You look for something
easier to do.
Maybe you could take that hour off now and use the time
while you're lying out in the sun to get your head together.
But no, you can't relax if you know you have work
uncompleted. So you decide to force yourself to make a
start on your sales copy. You write your copy but it just
doesn't flow. It feels stilted and contrived.
You begin to get frustrated and annoyed with yourself. If
only I'd got it over and done with first thing I'd be
dealing with my email right now looking forward to lying out
in the sun for a while later on, you think. That's what I should
be doing! So, you get annoyed with yourself, and become
generally irritable. Which, of course, just blocks the
creative flow even more. Lunchtime rolls around and you feel
like you've wasted half a day.
What a waste of energy, concentration and creativity! What
a lack of FOCUS. Just look at the energy you've wasted
feeling annoyed and irritable with yourself. Just think what
you could have accomplished if you'd put that energy to
good use and focused!
Save yourself the angst. Identify priority tasks, strategically
allocate times of the day to each task depending on how
intellectually demanding they are, and exercise personal
DISCIPLINE to do the right thing right and at the right time.
-> Concentrate on One Thing at a Time
When you're doing the right thing at the right time,
dedicate yourself to that one thing and nothing else. Don't
let your mind wander to what else you could be doing. You
don't need to worry about that because "what else" has been
allocated its own time and that time will come.
Remember, the whole point of focusing is to make maximum use
of your time, energy, concentration and creativity. If you
can do this, you will give yourself the gift of more time
for yourself and your family. So remember to turn it off
too. Give 100% of yourself to the task at hand during the
time allocated to that task and then let it go.
Take care of business but always remember, life is for
About the Author
Elena Fawkner is editor of A Home-Based Business Online...
practical business ideas, opportunities and solutions for the