Our theme this month is Focus. Join us as we explore ways to improve your focus so you can be as effective as possible!
On the blog this month, we’re focusing on focus. It’s the key ingredient to success for any individual or organization: your ability to pay attention to the most important things and block out the seemingly endless distractions.
If I have learned anything in life, it is to learn from other people’s experience. Life is too short to figure everything out on my own. So when I hear people I admire talking about the importance of their spiritual health, meditation, or gratitude practices, I listen. And when I recognize that so many of them point to just that practice as being the most important ingredient of their success, I really listen.
Why is a practice like this so important? Because the first step to laser-like focus isn’t reducing all the distractions “out there” but reducing the distractions “in here.” Your own mind is your most important productivity tool, and if your mind isn’t calm, cool, and collected, no magical phone app or specialized day planner will improve your focus.
Inspired by all the wise people around me who have a meditation practice, I have implemented my own. While it looks different in different seasons of life, right now, I aim for a 9 minute meditation:
- 3 minutes reading scripture or a short “devotional” (someone else’s writing on a particular piece of scripture). This reminds me what is at the core of my purpose.
3 minutes on gratitude: something as simple as the sun coming up that morning (or that I got to wake up on my own before the sun instead of being woken up by a child), to as deep as the insight I received from the first three minutes, to as joyous as the fact (some of) my children slept through the night. Many people stress gratitude as a critical part of their meditation, and I’ve noticed the same - gratitude does something to shift your frame of mind.
3 minutes on intentions or prayer: for me, this is where I try to align my desires with what I know to be true. What I know to be true of the world and of how I want to be as the highest version of myself. I also spend time praying for people or things that are important to me.
It’s not long, it’s not complicated, but it’s effective.
While I make this time a priority, my other priorities become clearer and I’m better able to focus on them. I feel like I have mentally taken a breath "in here" to be prepared to face any distractions from “out there.”
Challenge: Do a “Grape Nuts Trial”
I encourage you to give the concept of a daily meditation practice a test run. There’s no one way to do it. I’ve learned from others that the “gratitude portion” is essential, so include some time for reflection on things you are thankful for, but other than that, there's no secret formula. You can Google around to find what others have done, or make up your own.
Try it for a week and see if you notice a difference in your ability to focus, the way you respond to things, and your overall frame of mind. Then leave a comment and let us know how a meditation practice has changed your ability to focus at work!