July 29, 2022

The Function of Focus

“Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that.”-Dalai Lama

What comes first when you are writing your to-do list? We all have different priorities based on our life circumstances. Prioritizing is an essential part of maintaining a full life. Expecting yourself to give everything the same amount of effort and focus is unsustainable. Choosing what you give attention to is challenging; especially when you care deeply about multiple parts of your life. When you are able to identify your priorities, you can give them each the attention they deserve. It does not necessarily mean that one facet of your life is the most important, but rather, it is the one that needs the most attention at this moment.

Focus looks different for each person. For some, it is one sustained period of work. For others, it is short bursts of attention with breaks in between. Next time you are working, note your style of focus. No one way is better than another; each of us has our own capacity for focus. Once you know your most effective way to focus, use that as a framework for working through your priorities.

If the first step is to rank priorities, the next step is to learn to focus on them. Knowing why you are choosing to focus on a certain topic can help motivate you to do so. Why focus on this over the other things on your priority list? Take some time to consider your ‘why’ before you start to work on an activity.

Before you embark on an activity that requires you to focus, try to ground yourself in the moment. One activity that can help with this is called the ‘Body Scan’. For a quick version of this exercise, focus on each individual part of your body from your toes up to your head. For example: breathe in, notice how your toes feel on the ground, breathe out. Continue this up your legs, arms, and onto your face. This helps you ground your body in the moment.

Photo Credit: Canva

Written by Jessy Pucker, LMSW

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