Improve Your Focus and Get More Done

by Frank

Sunset over FieldDuring the school year, every morning looks very similar in the Jennings household.

Improve Your Focus and Get Done Sooner

My son’s alarm clock goes off at 7:15 and he is the first one awake in the house. After he gets dressed, he makes his way towards the dining room where we have placed a box of cereal, bowl, and spoon for him to eat breakfast. All he has to do is pour the cereal and milk.

When breakfast is complete, he is to go in the bathroom to brush his teeth and wash his face. Next, he puts on lotion, his shoes and socks, and brushes his hair. Then he is to do his addition or subtraction flash cards, multiplication flash cards, and get his book-bag. If he is able to complete all of these items, he is allowed to watch Sportscenter (proud dad) before school.

This entire process should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Ian takes 1 hour 20 minutes and rarely gets to watch ESPN.

The Unfocused Application of the Morning Ritual

Now since I have explained how his day should go, let me share with you how it actually goes. At 7:15, the alarm clock goes off. Ian gets out of bed to go shut it off, then he lays back down in the bed for approximately 30 minutes. He does not go back to sleep! He lies in the bed looking out the window or he walks around his room wasting time. Nothing gets done. At about 7:45, he makes his way into the dining room, sits down at the table and starts to read the back of the cereal box or whatever literature is available. He will read a receipt if there is one nearby.

When he is finally out of material to read, he then gets his half grown butt up from the table and asks one of his parents to pour him a bowl of cereal. Really?! At the time he finally begins to eat, he reviews all of the reading material he just went over again. He normally finishes breakfast at about 8:15. The bus comes at 8:35. As he makes his way to the bathroom to brush his teeth and wash his face, he always stops for a song and dance number (extended edition) or he talks non-stop. At 8:30 he is just putting on his shoes and lotion and barely makes it out of the house to catch the bus.

The Impact of a Lack of Focus

All the work that he had time to do in the morning, now has to be completed when he gets home after school. This is now added to his homework giving him less time to play and watch TV. His lack of focus just cost him his day.

After a few days of watching him grow angrier and angrier about all the work he had to do after school, I had a discussion with him about his focus. It was a simple statement that I used to teach him to value time.

You Get More Done When You Focus

The next morning, I got up with him to show him how to focus on the task at hand. When the alarm clock went off, he got straight up and got dressed. I then escorted him over to the table (books removed) where he ate breakfast in a record 7 minutes. He washed his face, put on his shoes and socks, put on lotion and grabbed his book bag. He immediately started working on his flash cards when everything was gathered. By 7:45, he was in front of the TV watching Sportscenter. This was all accomplished by me standing over his shoulder. He got more done faster and had more time for himself.

The next day, he went back to his old habits.

Am I Focused?

When it comes to my own life, I learned a lot from the lesson I tried to teach my son. When I focus on the things that matter, I get more done. I spend time progressing towards my goals and use my creative energy to overcome my challenges. The longer I put off doing the things I know I need to do, the more time I waste and the more challenging my situations become.

Instead of complaining, I am teaching myself how to focus. I want to focus on one thing at a time. I want to start doing the things that will have the most positive impact on my day. This will give me the ability to have more time to do more extra circular activities. You will be amazed by how much time we actually waste in a day.

So today, as you go through your progressions of work or home life, ask yourself this question,

“Are you focused?”

If not, you are missing out on an awesome opportunity to get more done. Don’t take 1 hour and 20 minutes to get something done that takes 10 minutes. Try to do one thing at a time. I promise it will make a huge difference. If you don’t believe me, ask my son. Make today great by staying focused.