Sky High is a fun family movie about teenagers whose parents are superheroes. As the teens come of age, they anxiously wait to “power up” and discover what their superpower is. Fortunately you don’t have to go through puberty again to gain a new power that can supercharge your life and Social Media presence. Focus is your new Social Media superpower, and you can get it today. Read on to see how to get and keep focus so you can leap tall buildings in a single bound. Well, almost.
But first, just like Superman’s kryptonite, there are certain substances that will weaken your power. Let’s think about how you lose focus, so you know what to avoid:
This is the Information Age. By the time you read a few blogs, spend time on your Facebook newsfeed, catch up with email and read Yahoo headlines, you’ve already scattered your attention far and wide—and the day has just began.
Most of us were not taught to discipline our minds. Not many of us had parents or teachers who formally instilled the skill of disciplined thoughts in us. Come to think of it, as adults we’re not learning it either.
Our attention is constantly divided. Nowadays you don’t just go to dinner with a friend. At the same time you check email, send a text message, Google theater show times and call your brother. Look around you right now—how many devices are powered up nearby?
We’re surrounded by clutter. A messy desk, trashed car and unmade bed have a way of nagging at us in the back of our minds. We allow the clutter of too many responsibilities to keep us trapped in a crazy schedule. We even clutter our lives by holding on to a mentor or friend relationship that affects us negatively, telling ourselves it will get better.
We have vague or non-existent goals and plans. Wandering around with a general idea of where we want to end up causes a haze of confusion in our minds. For every area of our life that we want to improve or achieve more—including Social Media—we should have written goals.
The difference between lack of focus and laser-focus is critical. It’s like the difference between the diffused light of a sunny garden and the concentrated beam of sunlight focused through a magnifying glass, causing a pile of leaves to burst into flame. One is rather dreamy and hazy, the other is powerful and creates rapid change. Would you rather have drifting, diffused results in your life, or focused, dynamic results in your life?
To get and keep focus, you have to guard your heart and mind. Be a good steward of your focus, because there are too many things ready to take it away from you.
Stay away from the trivial and the pointless. Don’t get caught up in Facebook drama and don’t waste hours and hours playing Minecraft.
Don’t entertain doubt and second-guessing yourself. Those thoughts are going to pop up but you don’t need to invite them in and show them the couch. Cut them off the moment you recognize them.
Make sure you don’t move without a plan. Being plan-less is the quickest route to confusion. You know you’re supposed to be doing something but you’re not quite sure what, so you feel a constant gnawing sense of guilt. You can save a tremendous amount of time on Social Media with a plan and tools.
Don’t let your mind manage you. You get to choose what you allow in the viewfinder of your mind. It’s your decision how far you’ll let a thought take you, and which things will get your attention.
Now that you know what NOT to do, let’s take a look at how you can get and stay focused:
Write things down.
You may want to use your smartphone to keep track of your calendar and errands, but there’s no substitute for putting pen to paper when it comes to clearing your head. Get it out of your head and on to paper.
Lay it all out, make a plan.
I recently had the experience of coming into a team meeting feeling confused and unsure of my responsibilities. Literally within twenty-seven minutes, we had nailed down specifics and laid out a plan. Confusion was quickly replaced by excitement and confidence. Your plan doesn’t have to be complicated or long. Simple is actually better. But it does need to include the concrete details and step-by-step tasks.
Set specific, measurable goals.
Lack of goals causes you to feel your way around in a dark room. Goals give you a sense of direction and confidence, much like turning on the light so you can see the door. Keeping them measurable and specific gives you tools to adjust your course. Lucky for you there are Social Media analytics available for easy checkups.
Have a healthy “I don’t care” attitude.
Free yourself from the things that don’t matter. Getting all riled up over someone’s opinion on Facebook just drains your emotional energy for no reason. Don’t go there and don’t care.
Make time and space for focus.
Taking time to focus and plan is crucial. Make it a pleasant ritual so that it holds positive associations in your mind. I have a chair in a corner in my bedroom where I do most of my journaling and planning, rather than my desk. If you haven’t yet found your spot, think it through and make one. My corner has a small side table for a cup of coffee and an etched antique juice glass for pens and colored pencils. Personalize your focus time and space.
Don’t wait until you have everything figured out to get focused.
You’ll never have everything figured out anyway. Focus for short periods of time at first, to develop the skill and attention.
It’s all well and good to talk about focus, but what does it LOOK like?
Here are some simple action steps you can take to try it out:
Choose one small project or task that feels vague or confusing. This could be a list of blog topics, a list of graphics to create for Social Media, anything that is an “I need to….” task. Write a list or checklist with specifics about what needs to be done.
Set a timer for 10-15 minutes. Close the internet and silence your phone. Work with extreme focus on your list for that amount of time.
Start small, but develop your awareness of how often you’re distracted and unfocused through your day. Ask yourself if what you’re doing is the best use of your time at that moment. Bring yourself back to center and into focus.
Focus can be a game-changer for your business, your life and your Social Media strategy. Choose your focus wisely, for it is powerful. Since most people don’t have much focus, they’ll think that you have a superpower when they see how much you get done. Bring focus into your life and you’ll start flying, no cape required!