Even if you have difficulty with focus, you do have focusing strengths! You can discover these strengths and use them to make big changes in your life.
Part one of this article describes the mental skills that make up “focusing.” If you haven’t read part one, you can read it here.
“Focusing” is actually a combination of five related skills: attention, concentration, persistence, comprehension and memory.
You have a big goal for your life and you want to focus and make it happen! Maybe you want to start a business, go back to school or get control of your clutter. Unfortunately, challenges with “focusing” are getting in the way of accomplishing this goal.
First, you need to identify, specifically, what must be true about your focusing skills in order for you to accomplish the goal. For example, do you need to improve your concentration and persistence? Or maybe you need to improve your comprehension or memory skills. Write down which of the five focusing skills you will need to work on in order for your goal to become your reality.
In order to improve in these areas, you’ll want to think of a specific situation in which the skills you need to improve were at their peak. When you understand the elements that play a role in your focus-related successes, you can include more of them in situations you find challenging. This will make it easier for you to achieve your big goal and put you in control!
Think about the following elements as you recall a successful past situation. This will give you a snapshot of your focusing strengths.
1. Goals and motivations
When your focusing was at its peak, what were you doing and why were you doing it? Were you completing a project for work, helping a friend, pursuing your favorite hobby? Were you working under a deadline or enjoying a leisurely activity? Knowing the motivations in play behind the scenes will help you identify conditions under which you work best.
2. Thoughts and feelings
What thoughts and feelings were you experiencing? Were you caught up by fascination? Keen to learn all you could about an area of interest? Charmed by the novelty and freshness of the topic? Do your best to remember what specific thoughts were going through your mind and exactly how you felt. Knowing this will give you power to recreate the conditions associated with strong focusing.
3. Reactions and behaviors
Were you working quickly and efficiently or slowly and deliberately? Were you oblivious to distractions? Were you walking around or sitting still? Were you talking out loud to yourself? Pay attention to what you were doing, because this indicates the way you need to act in order to concentrate and persist.
Think about the location and other conditions in the environment. Factors to notice include the kind of chair you were sitting in, the temperature in the room and whether there were other people around you. Was there music playing or conversations in the background, or was it quiet? These and other environmental factors determine how well you are able to concentrate and persist.
5. Internal influences
Try to remember any influences of a physical nature such as how much sleep you had, whether you are recently consumed protein or other food or drink, and what time of day it was. Your ability to concentrate and persist is strongly influenced by physiological factors that affect your body and therefore your mind.
6. Relevant circumstances
Maybe you just received good news or a promotion! Perhaps you are “racing to beat the clock” to get finished before a fun night out! Events that happened shortly before you began the task, or that you anticipated would occur, influence your ability to focus and persist.
Take the next step – identify your focusing strengths!
Go through the process outlined above to identify the conditions under which you are a focusing super star! These are the elements you’ll want to work into your life as often as possible in order to achieve your big goal!
Download a copy of my Focusing Strengths Self-Guide. You’ll receive the information above in a handy format that you can use to identify your focusing strengths.
ADHD coach and board certified educational therapist, Dr. Kari, helps women conquer their biggest ADHD challenges. She assists women in getting focused, organized, and motivated so they get unstuck, finish what they start, and accomplish more every day!
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