The Only Thing You’ll Need To Focus
Why is it hard for you to focus?
For one, people allow themselves to be distracted. Here’s a story about distraction.
38 While they were traveling, he entered a village, and a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. 39 She had a sister named Mary, who also sat at the Lord’s feet and was listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by her many tasks, and she came up and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to serve alone? So tell her to give me a hand.” 41 The Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but one thing is necessary. Mary has made the right choice, and it will not be taken away from her.”
The Gospel of Luke 10:38–42
At first, both Martha and Mary paid attention to the word of Jesus. They were all focused on his message. But soon, Martha became distracted by different tasks while Mary kept her focus.
In today’s world, multitasking is not just normal but it’s glorified. We are expected to work like Martha. There’s a lot of pressure to be like Mary and simply do one single thing at a time.
- We watch Netflix shows as we are checking e-mails.
- We scroll through social media many a random times a day.
- We have multiple windows opened when we work on our project.
The key to focusing is that you work on one task at a time.
Do not allow yourself to be distracted by multiple things all at once. Concentrate on one thing at a time. Just one thing is necessary.
How NOT to Be Distracted, How NOT to be like Martha
Plan your day ahead.
When Martha began her day, she sat next to Mary and listened to Jesus. But then, she was distracted by many different tasks as the day went on. What if Martha planned her day ahead?
You WILL get distracted by unexpected things if you don’t plan your workday prior.
Here’s how you plan your day:
- What is one thing that will give you the most satisfaction of having a productive day? What is one task that can bring the best result when it’s done? Identify your MIT (Most Important Task).
- Write it down on your daily planner or on your check-list to remind you of the MIT. Prioritize and finish that task before you work on any other tasks.
When your task seems too daunting to finish in one day, divide and conquer. Ask, what should be the first step of finishing the MIT. Break down the task so you can accomplish the work within your work day. For example, it might be difficult to write the whole draft in one day. But it’s not impossible to write 500 words or even 1–2 pages towards your goal.
Another tip when you plan your day is that you schedule one MIT and perhaps two or three subordinate tasks. You don’t want to squeeze in too many tasks at once. Your productivity will suffer if there are too many tasks on your calendar. Concentrate your energy and really focus on finishing the MIT.
Put away your phone.
The best way to not get distracted is to get rid of the source of distraction. If you have to work with your phone, make sure all your notifications are turned off and you lock all other apps on your phone except for the ones that you need for work.
When the work gets hard, you will be tempted to check your social media or one of your favorite apps. You will be spending your precious energy on keeping yourself away from the phone. Why keep the Pandora’s box so near you? Just put it away and make it physically difficult for you to get your phone. By putting it in the other room or placing it far away from your work desk, you can focus better.
Keep your desk clean and neat. Anything and everything that has little to do with your MIT should not be on the desk. The idea is that you want to create a work environment where every little detail is designed so that you can focus on one task at a time.
How to Focus, How To Be like Mary.
One thing is necessary.
It’s too simple to believe it! But there’s no magic to the formula. If there ever were any formula for how to focus better, it may have looked like this:
A = A
Everyone can focus. And everyone can concentrate if they do one task at one time! A = A. This IS the focus formula.
The reason we lose focus is because we try to pay attention to many different things. Learn from Mary. What is one MIT you need to focus? Identify your MIT and know that only one thing is necessary.
Make a choice.
Making a choice means making a commitment. Once you know what your MIT is, then you decide that you will not be distracted. Making a choice means choosing one option out of many. You can’t choose unless you unchoose all the other options available, no matter how good they seem. Marry your MIT till death do you part. Or, in this case, till you finish the task.
Mary chose to sit down at Jesus’s feet. In other words, she committed herself not to leave Jesus no matter how many times Martha was calling her name to come over!
As you are working on your MIT, you will hear many distracting voices from internal and external sources that vie for your attention. This is why it’s important that you know clearly that your MIT is the MIT! Nothing else really matters until you get the MIT done first.
It’s not that the other tasks are not important. It’s just that they don’t need to be done now. Now is the time you should focus on your MIT.
In order to focus, you must first get rid of distractions. First, find your MIT and stop multitasking. Then, make a commitment to finishing one thing (the MIT). Just one thing is necessary.