LASER Focus - Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation
Imagine going into a dark room. (close your eyes while you imagine this… but read the next line first.)
Take in the darkness for a couple of minutes.
Now open your eyes!
(if you followed the instructions above you had to, to read this anyway, in which case well done )
Did you notice how FAST it went from nothing to everything?
Light is a powerful thing. However, it doesn’t try to do too much. It makes darkness bright. It removes shadows, it doesn’t try to act like gravity or friction. It stays in its lane.
Now, take what is already a focused tool, and amplify the radiation, all of a sudden the light switch can cut diamonds and steel like a hot knife through butter.
“Besides a brief 4th grade Science review, what’s the point?” you ask?
The power of FOCUS.
Power in FOCUS
If you’re reading this, I anticipate you wear more than 1 figurative hat, (probably more than 14). Parent, volunteer, coffee-getter, carpool buddy, bill payments, customer service, phone answering, personal assistant, child care, pet groomer, chef, etc.
With so many things competing for your attention, how do you get ANYTHING done?
How have you actually made progress?
I’m guessing it’s when you lock the door, turn your phone off and set the timer for 30 minutes to finish the task at hand?
Or when you wake up at 4:30 AM to get a workout and a stack of paperwork completed before the average Starbucks hits their breakfast rush?
And why is that?
Because you have set aside intentional time in your calendar to focus on that ONE thing and shut out other distractions. (The verb FOCUS is defined as ‘paying particular attention to’)
Have you ever thought about why we have 7 digit phone numbers? George Miller researched how 7 is about as much as our brain can hold onto at one time in short-term memory.
And just like our short-term memory, our short-term goals cannot have more than a handful of targets to accomplish at the same time.
Multi-tasking is a lie, at least in the sense of being productive while doing it.
Try washing the dishes while chopping an onion and clean the floor with your foot. Looks ridiculous in your head right?
So why do we try to work on emails, answer the phone, AND have 38 tabs open of the 3 different things we are trying to research at the same time?
A few people actually thrive in this amount of chaos, but if it’s starting to sink in that this looks more and more like I’m reading your mail, it’s because we aren’t destined to operate in this way and it’s becoming too much of the norm. Thus we are finding life more frustrating and progress isn’t being made.
Watch this video: Selective Attention Test
(I felt pretty proud of myself until the very last detail they mentioned)
Think about how many things you are missing details of because you just try to focus on 2 things at once. Much less 5 or 12.
Your attention is FINITE, and so the tasks and relationships we engage in should have boundaries as well. (Great book HERE if that sounds like a relief)
If you had to finish that report for a deadline by tomorrow at noon or you will lose your job, don’t you tend to make it happen?
Somehow, when everything relies on it, we can make miraculous progress when we hunker down and focus on the 1 most important thing.
In the same way, wouldn’t taking that approach to every task each day bring more benefit to the outcome?
Obviously, we get tired and need to take a quick walk to refresh our minds, but generally if you could start and finish one thing in a sitting, or take it to the next leg of the race before breaking task, can you see the benefit? (Triathletes don’t put their running shoes on until after they have biked and swam.)
Just indulge me on this: When has a personal trainer said “Do 10 pushups.. 1, 2, now stop. Start doing squats for 30 seconds. 1, 2, 3, no wait I want you to do pushups again 3, 4… wait let’s go walk a mile…hang on back to squats.”
Variety is important, but not finishing what you started in a focused manner burns so many MENTAL calories you will go mad and your mind will shut down faster and be less productive.
Your brain already burns too many calories each day making basic decisions and trying to interpret the messages we hear in ads all day long. Spend time focused on your top 3 things each day. And then at least you can know you accomplished your top 3, and now distractions can’t prevent you from making progress.
I have a great planner tool I use for those 3 things. Send me a message with the header “3 Priorities” and I’ll email you back the page so you can print as many as you’d like.