Freedom to focus
By Brittney Dodrill and Madeline Sharp*
Have you ever found yourself in situations inside and outside the classroom where you just can’t focus? We have all been there at least one time in our lives. Michael Hyatt, author of the book Free to Focus, has some ideas on how to free your life in order to focus on important tasks. He suggests three steps to become free to focus and achieve more by doing less—STOP, CUT, and ACT.
According to Hyatt, your first step should be to evaluate and determine what your personal strengths are. After you have done this you will look for areas in your life where you can use your strengths to their fullest potential and use the smallest amount of effort to receive a large amount of results. Michael introduces the idea of creating a freedom compass.
When you use the freedom compass you find the things in your life that you are passionate about or what you want to achieve, and these become your zone of desire (your true north). You will run into constraints and boundaries, but this forces you to get creative in order to stay on track to reach your zone of desire. In order to keep yourself motivated and your goals aligned by being aware of your highest goal.
Hyatt has three mottos that he uses to keep his life on the path to his true north. The first motto or word he uses is “STOP!” When you stop, you should to go back and reflect while you formulate what your life will look like when you use the productivity systems. This will help you to keep your priorities in order. His second motto or word he uses to keep himself on the path is “CUT!” When you cut, you cut things out of your life by saying no to things that aren’t the most important or do not help you get to your zone of desire. The last motto or word that Hyatt uses is “ACT!” When you act, you complete the tasks you have left to do.
But how do you achieve better focus you may ask? This is where you must tap into your inner self and become self determined.
1. You must first learn when you work your best. For example, some people learn best in the early morning while others are night owls and learn best later in the day.
2. You must also eliminate distractions, which might mean putting away or turning off your cell phone (tragic, I know!) Another good tip to eliminate distractions is to turn on “Do Not Disturb” on your laptop if you are working from there.
3. Make a to-do list and only focus on one assignment or task at a time. This will help you not feel as overwhelmed and it will feel great when you are able to cross it off of your list!
4. Finally, the last tip for you is to not ignore your mental and physical health. You will never have great focus if you are depriving yourself of sleep, food, and or exercise. Remember that when you are working and you feel as if you are losing focus, it’s OK to take a short break to meditate, move your body, listen to music, or simply do something that you enjoy.
*Brittney Dodrill and Madeline Sharp work as Academic Peer Coaches at Ohio State Newark and Central Ohio Technical College