There is no shortage of distractions (legitimate or otherwise) vying for our attention. There’s a pretty good chance, in fact, that you won’t read this article straight through because you’ll be interrupted by a text or a child or a fleeting thought. If you’re at work, you’ll likely be interrupted within the next three minutes. And once distracted, it will take you about 23 minutes to get back on track according to a Stanford University study.
In order to stay focused and truly hear the voice of your heart, you need to mind your Ps & Qs. In particular, you need to have these three Ps:
A Purpose – Do you have a sense of purpose? A north star to guide your direction? A set of values to help shape your choices? In a work setting, this would be your Mission Statement. In your faith life, it would be your Higher Power. Without confidence in your sense of purpose, it’s really hard to focus on anything at all. Even if your purpose is “generosity”, or “adventure”, or “profit”, it will help shape your plan.
A Plan – What’s the next step in your plan? Do you have one? It’s one thing to have a purpose and even a dream, but you must begin to articulate the action steps that will help you focus your time and your energy. If you have even the semblance of a plan, write it down. A core difference between dreamers and doers is the fact that doers put their dreams on paper.
A Pencil – When you write your plan down, do it in pencil. It’s been said that “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. The most important part of a pencil is the eraser. When your plans are thwarted, go back and erase and start over. The ability (and the freedom) to adapt will help you avoid the inevitable resistance to your plan.
It’s hard to stay focused, especially in this world full of personal, professional, and technological distractions. If you need help discerning your purpose, crafting your plan, or using your pencil, don’t hesitate to contact a Sage Hill counselor. We’re here to help.
Zach Brittle, LMHC, is a counselor, author, and blogger in Seattle, WA where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He is a Certified Gottman Therapist and best-selling author of The Relationship Alphabet. Follow him on Facebook at Zach Brittle, LMHC or on Twitter @kzbrittle.