By Paula Eder
Staying on time and on track when the unexpected intrudes in your life is a very difficult challenge.
Whether it’s a small distraction or a major upheaval, if you’re often thrown off-course, use these flexible focus tips to maintain your balance and get essential tasks done, no matter what.
3 Flexible Focus Tips
1. Use Flexible Focus to Steer Clear of Distractions.
How satisfied are you at the end of most days? Do you realize, too late, that you have spent blocks of time on distractions or unproductive worrying? Perhaps you have tried to break free from overly rigid focus by sliding into a haze!
Resist any temptation to be harsh with yourself. Instead, encourage yourself to replace lack of concentration with a compassionate overview.
The following exercise will help:
- For a week, set aside at least 15 minutes a day to think about the goals that truly engage you.
- Envision yourself progressing along the path to reach these goals.
- Select one inspiring touchstone to activate this motivation – it might be a picture you imagine, a poem or even a piece of music.
- When you’re tempted to give in to distractions, use your touchstone to stay on track.
This way, you allow your heart connection to your goals to keep you centered and productive. This is a natural AND flexible way to stay focused. Keeping your eye on the prize, you naturally move toward it.2. Use Flexible Focus to Keep Projects on Schedule
Over-focusing on details has derailed many enterprises by holding things up and forcing missed deadlines. Flexible Focus helps you stay in sync with your schedule.
- Start with the broad focus by assigning a due date and writing it in your calendar. This is your hard deadline.
- Working backward, designate a specific time to complete each action step, and write these steps in your work calendar. You might think of these as soft deadlines. Calling them soft doesn’t mean they are optional. In fact, they break your hard deadline into smaller steps that help keep you on track.
If you find it hard to disengage when you need to move on, set a timer. Then, take a break so you can clear your head. While you are away from your desk, envision embarking on your next step. And make sure to schedule extra time at the end of the project to review, fine-tune, and celebrate your efforts.
3. Use Flexible Focus to Weather Difficult Transitions.
Have you ever suffered a loss and felt out of sync with everyone around you? Perhaps your world has screeched to a halt, while others bustle along at full speed. When you face demanding challenges like this, Flexible Focus can really help.
Your first task is to simplify your life, paring it down to its essentials. Build breathing space into your schedule. Then, carve out special time every day for you to reflect and care for yourself. Journaling can unearth valuable insights, helping you evolve in just the right ways. These restorative periods will help you build resilience.
After each personal session, redirect this internal focus. Step back into your ‘everyday life’ and conduct a calm, collected overview of your daily tasks. When feelings surface, simply take note. You can come back to a quiet space and attend to them after completing the tasks you’d identified.
By setting aside time to meet your needs as well as your responsibilities — each with its necessary focus — you extend your circle of safety and competence.
You flow with life’s changes.
About the author
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Offered by Paula Eder, Ph.D. The Time Finder Expert