Monday, March 24, 2014

The Power of Focus

The shorter way to do many things
is to do only one thing at a time.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Last week I was driving in a (what I hope is our last) snowstorm. As I barreled through the windy whiteness, my complete attention was on maintaining my course and staying on the road. Several cars along the way had already slipped off the icy road and into the ditch, but I'd decided that wasn't going to be my fate—not today. I needed to stay focused, and that is what got me home.

In our busy world, we may often find it challenging to focus our attention. Since our minds have difficulty concentrating on more than one thing at a time, prioritizing what we focus on becomes increasingly important. Focus involves concentration, which comes when we have fewer distractions. We have the ability to limit our distractions by using our power of choice.

Focus is like RAM (random access memory) in a computer. The more programs that are running simultaneously, the less efficiently RAM operates. Eventually the computer’s performance becomes sluggish, or in a worst-case scenario, it crashes. Similarly, the more ideas, tasks, and responsibilities we are thinking about, the less capacity we have to stay focused. Our brain can also overload and, like the computer, “crash.”

So to help maintain our focus, we can simplify our distractions. Just like closing computer programs, we can reduce clutter by prioritizing our activities, choosing how and with whom we spend our time and energy, and by expressing our thoughts and feelings through speaking or writing. Activities such as journaling, making lists, and jotting notes throughout the day are great ways to make more space for new thoughts, increasing our creative capacity and helping us to maintain our focus.

This week, practice focus. Simplify your activities and reduce your distractions. And when you are performing a task or speaking with a friend or colleague, give them your full attention. See how learning to maintain your focus will have a powerful effect on your sense of balance. It's your choice.

To Better Balance!

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg

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