Give Yourself a Break

11 July, 2014

How do you focus on the important stuff, like finishing something?

Over the years I have heard so many people tell me how they are flat out busy, yet they seem to get very little done. There is a reason for this: it is much easier to start something than it is to finish it, be it a marathon, writing an article, reading a book or studying for a qualification. 90% of the value of a task is in the last 10%. But people repeatedly lose focus and start other things, become ‘busy’ then under achieve and end up frustrated and confused. 
What’s the answer? Well, it may seem counter intuitive but the answer when you are extremely busy and not achieving much is to stop. Yes that’s absolutely what I said, just stop. Give yourself a break. Ideally one that involves something completely different. For example, when I am feeling stretched with mountains of opportunities (work) I down tools, turn off my phone and go to the cinema. On my own in the middle of the day. What happens next is fascinating.
When you stop, your mind will have time and space to breathe and will in a sense begin to recharge itself and focus on the things that it needs to achieve. The stress and pressure that you felt will be relieved, and we won’t feel driven to start another task so that you could get a buzz from doing something - when the real long term rewards would have come from you completing something.
You absolutely should not beat yourself up about this ‘recharge time’ and don’t listen to those that criticise you for it. Providing it is in balance and you return to complete the task you left, it will be worth while. Next time you need to close a deal but haven’t got round to it, or need to call 20 prospects, complete a tender or write an article and find yourself against a brick wall, STOP and allow your mind to recharge and breathe. You will find it much easier to complete the task when you return to it.
For the record: alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes or any other substance used during the recharge time will hinde,r not help, your mind’s function.
When you start losing focus your mind is telling you something: it needs a break so give it one.