Life Skills – How to Focus Better

Do you find you have great new ideas but never seem to find the time/energy/courage to do anything about them?

What about your goals? Do you find you’re often so busy reacting to life, you simply don’t have the time to actively direct it and achieve the goals you set?

If a big YES is getting all shouty in your head right now, it might just be time to take a look at your focussing life skills.

I’ve was lucky enough to discover pretty early on that there really is no substitute for focussing on the things we want in life. Sadly this is not always easy to do.

Society constantly bombards us with “must-dos”, “should-dos”, “could-dos” and a tantalising array of “wouldn’t-it-be-great-to-dos” that the noise in our heads regularly reaches mega-decible levels. Our brain-boxes get so chock-full that most of our Inner Imps spend their time running around with the hands over their ears completely incapable of deciding what to focus on first. There’s almost too much choice to be had.

Like you, I know what a toughie calming down this frenzy can be. However, what I also know is how rewarding life can be if we have the courage to quit the unproductive stuff and shove a new battery in our focusing life skill. So, in the following, I’ll share with you a few CANDo pauses for thought that may help your Inner Imps get to grips, quit the crap that’s contributing to the frenzy and improve “Team-You’s” focus.

Why Successful People Choose to Focus

Analysis paralysis – my Main Man dumped this one in my lap the other day and it really resonated with me. Often we fail because we conjure up great ideas but then get overwhelmed in studying the minutiae, the what if’s, the why’s and what for’s. We spend weeks racking our brains, thinking about the myriad of possibilities but actually DO sod all.

What sets successful people apart is that they don’t just come up with a juicy idea and ruminate on it like some cow chewing grass in the meadow. Successful people focus on that one idea, make a step by step plan to make it a reality and then get to work to DO IT.

Don’t let too many ideas bog you down. Choose one, quit thinking about the rest and FOCUS on riding that train as far as you can until it’s obvious it’s not going anywhere.

Muffle or Dispense With Some of the Stressful Noise

Often, we are sucked into habits and daily routines that contribute big time to all the noise/stress going on in our heads. Consider whether “Team You” is trying to overachieve with unproductive stuff that you really could live without, e.g. quit doing.

  • Will your child’s entire life really be blighted if he/she only does 1 or 2 after school activities a week?
  • Will your life be any less worthy if you don’t watch that TV soap every night at 7.00pm – and then the repeats at the weekend?
  • If you didn’t check your email/mobile for messages every 10 minutes would your life fall apart?
  • If you didn’t read the society news every day so you didn’t know what dress Victoria Beckham wore to the shops last week, would you be missing out on something?

It may also be that your Stress Imp needs his wings clipping a bit and you could dispense with some of the noise he’s contributing to your lack of focus.

Failure is a Bus Stop on the Route to Success

Another reason most people don’t focus is Fear. Your Inner Imps Fear and Doubt immediately sense that something out of their ordinary comfort zone is going on and start to work overtime convincing “Team You” that what you want to achieve will fail. Nobody wants to be a failure and the best way to avoid failing is not to start right?


Most every successful person in life has experienced multiple failures.

In school, we teach our kids that failure is bad. It’s bad to fail a test. It’s bad when things go wrong.


Failure is good, IF you can learn from it. We’ve grown up so afraid of failure that we’re not prepared to even try.

  • “I’ll only get knocked-back, why bother trying.”
  • “There are 100s of people going for the job, I won’t get it so why bother trying.”
  • “I’ll never be published so why bother writing down this great story I’ve got in my head.”
  • “I’ll never get an A grade, so why bother studying and trying.”

The people that succeed in life are the ones that try, fail, try, fail, try, fail and keep trying until they succeed. You too can be one of those successful people if you’re prepared to get control of your Inner Imps Fear and Doubt and persevere.

Be Prepared to Quit

Another common problem is being brave enough to quit. I talked earlier about choosing an idea and then riding the train. While perseverance is key to having the focus to achieve your goals, frequently, we simply get on the wrong train and focus on the wrong things. The secret to success is to get your Reasoning and Honesty Imps together and honestly decide whether the train is going to stop at a good place. If it’s not, cut your losses and get off that choo-choo. Provided you honestly gave it your all and persevered you HAVE NOT FAILED, you have tried and there’s a difference.

Fear will come trotting out with all his “I told you so’s” at this point, because society typically labels quitters as failures. The assumption is that you quit because you lack back-bone, focus or are incompetent. Slap Fear and society down. The most successful people in life are generally those that quit because they decided to FOCUS their time/energy/money on the right things. Saving face is not the right thing.

CANDo Kick-Ass Call to Action: Here’s a quick kick-ass call to action that will really spike your Inner Imp Fear up the bum.

Jot down your regular activities in the week and call a board meeting between with your Inner Imps Honesty, Courage and Reasoning.

Decide on 1 or 2 unproductive things you do regularly every week that you could QUIT. Things that don’t move you towards any of your goals and are an unproductive waste of your time.

Have Courage help you to quit those things.

Next choose 1 thing that will help you make your life what you want it to be to refocus that time on. This really isn’t that difficult so give it a go – you may find our building habits article useful in helping you do this.

Make Friends with a To Do List

Jot down a list of “must-dos” on a to do list. Focus your energy each day on getting them done and crossing them off the list and you’ll be travelling the road to success.

What are you going to quit doing? What are you going to focus on? Let us know in the comments below.


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One Response to Life Skills – How to Focus Better

  1. Det Nilam November 6, 2012 at 9:54 am #

    …”brave enough to quit” and WHEN to quit – this is a question.

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