5 ways to bring focus to your day

I confess that I'm writing this after a morning of procrastination. Sometimes that happens – we get distracted; shiny things show up and our brain doesn't want to play ball. But the discipline of focus for many of us is an important puzzle piece when it comes to feeling like we have momentum. 


From working with people and analysing my own behaviours, I have come up with a list of things that I have found to be focus foes: 

  • too large a mission
  • not knowing how to start
  • distractions (noises, people, thoughts, etc)
  • lack of knowing why you're doing it
  • no overall structure

And looking at this list, I bet you can think of some really straightforward solutions to each one. And yet, in the moment of it all, it can sometimes feel hopeless and so we put it off and then we spend the rest of the day feeling bad.

As Jim Rohn said, ‘Either you run the day or the day runs you’.

To be clear, I am writing this assuming that your basic needs are met and that your mental health is in a good place. If you are coming from a place of struggle, taking action of any kind can feel like a mountain. If this is the case for you, finding the support you need first can be the most important step before you start to work on the above. 

And in other cases, one person's version of focus can be very different from another. If doing something for 25 minutes without interruption is an achievement then stick to doing that regularly. We are all designed to work differently and comparison in this case (as in many cases) is super unhelpful. 

Some of the most useful things you can do for yourself are often the ones within the closest reach.

I’ve made some suggestions below for how you can tackle the above foes. If you want more support on how to do this, I’ve also created a free playsheet which you can find by getting in touch with me via the profile below!

How to tackle 'focus foes'

Too large a mission

We’ve all heard of small steps and chunking down large things into something bitesize and that’s because it’s proven to work. When I work with clients, I often like to think of it as game levels. We start at level one. If the mission is too large, it’s likely we’re trying to play on level 10 before having completed the previous steps. What is level two and what do you need to do to get there?

Not knowing how to start

This can also be tough, so coming at it from a different angle can help. One of my favourite ways to do this is by working backwards. Building on the above, you know what level 10 is, that’s what you want to achieve. What is level nine? Can you keep working backwards until you get to where you are now? 

Distractions (noises, people, thoughts, etc)

This is a big one for a lot of us. Perhaps you already know what the distractions are but it can also help to do a bit of an audit first. For example, noticing how much time something takes up when you didn’t want to do it in the first place or how often something breaks your focus. Granted, some of these might be unavoidable but a few will be more workable – your mission should you choose to accept it is to notice these distractions and come up with techniques to limit them.

Things that can work are rewards, consequences, app blockers, different environments, headphones, a sign, closing everything other than what you’re working on, accountability groups, affirmations, a brag sheet and setting an intention for the next hour, to give you a flavour! 

Lack of knowing why you're doing it

Our why. This is super important and can be overlooked in our excitement to just get started. Do you know what purpose this activity is serving? How does it fit into what you want overall? If you can’t connect it back to the overall picture, it can be easy to be disconnected. Take the time to understand your why and see what else you need to believe in order to keep going with the activity you’re doing. 

No overall structure

Another key one. After lockdown, a lot of us now understand a bit more about how we work best. We are all influenced by our environments (mental and physical) and so paying attention to what stunts and expands your productivity can be a game changer. On top of that, if you’re thinking of a more detailed plan like a timetable check-in with yourself, have you drawn up something that is unrealistic? If so, chances are you will fall at the first hurdle and then write it off as difficult.

Just like you wouldn’t run a marathon without training, you are unlikely to have a productive good habit day without working up to it first. Work out what your (metaphorical) 5k is first and implement that into your existing structure. There is also a theory that attaching new habits to existing ones is really useful (e.g. brushing your teeth or a commute) so try that out and remember to start small and start realistic! 

This is just the beginning – you will often need to check in with yourself and evaluate what you're doing, why you're doing it and how you would like to continue. Showing up for yourself consistently is key and the more aware you can be, the more it will benefit your focus in the long run. Let me know how you get on!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, SE16
Written by Nicola Twiston Davies, Work With Your Difference - Create Your Game Plan
London, SE16

Nicola is a mindset coach focusing on those who feel bogged down in 'direction and purpose' or the expectations of those around them. Nicola works with you in a creative way to establish your expectations of you: giving you clarity and focus on how you want to confidently show up for yourself.

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