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Are You Focused?

This post was most recently updated on January 22nd, 2012

With so much going on in your life, it is difficult to focus. I believe that focusing is kind of an art. It is something that you need to incorporate into your life every day. When you are not focused, you cannot complete your tasks efficiently. The negative feelings of this are:

Guilt – these are the “should’s” you put on yourself.
Shame – the feeling of I can’t do it, maybe it’s not for me.
Frustration – I can’t get control of my situation.
Agitation – Every time I try to get one thing accomplished, there is always something that comes up.
Anxiety – I feel anxious, I need a nap.
Hopeless – I’ll never get this done. Maybe I should just give up!

What happens when you are feeling this way? You become unfocused on what you are doing and at worst, give up. This is why focusing is so important.

Here are some tips that worked for me and hopefully can work for you, too.

1. Have too much on your mind? I call that the “post-it’s” in your mind. When this happens, you can be working on a project and your mind starts wondering about all the other things you need to do.
Answer to this: Write things down. Start in the evening and plan out your next day. One day at a time, because of the many complexities of life’s responsibilities. For example, say you are working on a project. Make that Number One on your list. Do that first and plan how much time you can take tomorrow on this project.

2. Invest in a great daily planner. When you invest in a pricey one, you will be more apt to use it. You won’t put it in the corner because it costs you an extra amount of money. It may be leather, etc. But it is worth the price because you WILL use it.

3. In your daily planner, write down Number 1. Then space out time for your social sites. I use my social sites a lot, but I give myself 15 minutes a day for Facebook, 15 minutes for blog syndication, etc.

4. You have a life other than your project. You may have other responsibilities such as children, a significant other, a parent, and so on. These need to be written down too. I have to write down timelines to talk to my kids! Eventually they do understand.

5. Take time out. You can plan your exercise routine, otherwise it won’t get done. You may want to plan socializing, or time to volunteer in your community. Write that down too.

6. Take a mini vacation during the day. You can take a 15 minute break for YOU in the day and just let the worries in your mind float away in pink bubbles. To do this, you can light a candle and stare at the flames, or smell the aroma. If any thoughts come into your mind, send them out in pink bubbles and just be at one with the flame. This is just one of the many examples of things you can do. The point is to meditate on one thing for 15 minutes. You will be refreshed and your mind will be cleansed so you can re-focus on reaching your goals.

 I hope this little tidbit of information on focusing can help. What I do is color code my day. I’m visual, so this works for me.

The most important task will be in RED, the color of grounding and forceful energy.

My other tasks will be PINK, the color of love. Syndicating, Facebook, Linked in and other social sites are responding to people and giving. I like using this color because it reminds me of giving.

I use a LIGHT BLUE for family and friends. I need time with them so that blue energy is the color of communication.

There is a time of day where I need to create and I use the color of YELLOW for that because it is associated for me as a creative energy.

My other business is doing Intuitive Counseling, so I give myself a block of time for that. I group my consultations with clients within pre-defined blocks of time. I use the color PURPLE for that because it is the color of spirituality.

The color concept helps me because I’m working with the energies of those colors and I harmonize my energies with those specific vibrations.

It all comes down to focusing.

We wear many hats in our day. But if we are disciplined and follow our daily routines, we can FOCUS more efficiently and get our priorities done first, before our energy begins to wane.

So, if you find yourself overwhelmed, confused, or just about to give up, STOP. Try this method and see how much more focus and control you will gain in your life and work.

I would love to hear your feedback on this, so please comment below.

Have a blessed day,

Donna Merrill
Donna is a well known blogger and creator of "Blogging Magic" - an intensive guide to blogging. "Blogging Magic" is for beginners who are trying to figure out how to bring their blogs to life with tons of visits, comments and social media interaction. It's even for advanced bloggers looking to reach new levels of authority and engagement with their audience.

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46 Responses to Are You Focused?

  1. crescele November 10, 2011 at 5:10 am #

    Hi Donna, these are awesome tips! I can imagine how colorful your daily planner must be. I like taking multiple breaks in a day albeit short. It helps me regain focus when the task becomes too much. Thanks for sharing.
    crescele recently posted..Are You In The Proverbial Dating Rut?My Profile

  2. Donna Merrill November 1, 2011 at 4:13 am #

    Thanks Lynda for visiting! Yes those old post’its in the mind take some practice to eliminate.
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Halloween or Samhain? Witch do you celebrate?My Profile

  3. Chris Richards - Mindnod.com October 31, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Planning your day in this way is great but I do find that I tend to list only three activities any more and I find that I get discouraged.

  4. Lynda Cromar October 31, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    1. Have too much on your mind? I call that the “post-it’s” in your mind. When this happens, you can be working on a project and your mind starts wondering about all the other things you need to do.
    Answer to this: Write things down. Start in the evening and plan out your next day. One day at a time, because of the many complexities of life’s responsibilities. For example, say you are working on a project. Make that Number One on your list. Do that first and plan how much time you can take tomorrow on this project.

    This is what I know I fight continuously! Too much on your mind. I love post its as a picture. So take them down and put them into a priority of importance!

  5. Rachel Lavern
    October 30, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    I like your tips on focusing.

    Meditation has been a great tool for me to stay focused. It is based on the idea of being present in the moment. Since it is, by its very nature, a solitary pursuit, I find it much easier to avoid distractions while practicing. This makes it much easier to notice when my mind is active, and when it is calmer.

    As I become more proficient at staying in the moment while I am meditating, Ialso notice that it becomes easier to stay in the moment at other points during the day too.
    Rachel Lavern recently posted..Deprivation is FrustratingMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill November 1, 2011 at 3:50 am #

      The more you practice it, the more natural it becomes Rachel. Actually it is said that we do meditate several times a day for a few seconds without realizing it. Taking it a step further as you do, will become more stronger and you will find it easier to do.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Halloween or Samhain? Witch do you celebrate?My Profile

  6. Donna Merrill October 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm #

    Hi Anna, I know what you mean. I thrive on my right brain all the time. BUT if I need to get a job done, and procrastinate about it, it drives me nuts. Focusing is great when you need to complete a task. So get that left brain kicking lol
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Halloween or Samhain? Witch do you celebrate?My Profile

  7. Anna October 29, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Donna, I am usually the opposite of focused – I am an artist I am like floating most of the time. Though I realize that I need to be focus in order to succeed. Thank you, now I think it will be easier for me to stay focused:)
    Anna recently posted..Any idea? How much are veneers in general?My Profile

  8. Dave and (Dawn) Cook October 26, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    I hate admitting this, but this is the first time that I have visited your site. I guess that I just haven’t been as focused as I need to be in a lot of different areas. 😉

    You bring up some excellent strategies here in this post on “Are You Focused?” As a matter of fact, today I am just finishing up “The Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy and you mention some very similar things that people need to focus on.

    I like your use of colors as well to break down each items importance. I think that you know I am a big fan of color as well from the way that I organize things within the TSA system. Color sets a mood and is also easy to define in the blink of an eye vs. numbers.

    Thank you for sharing your great insight here in this post and I look forward to seeing many great things from you in the future!

    Committed To Your Success!
    Dave and (Dawn)

    • Donna Merrill October 26, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

      Thanks guys!
      I appreciate your flattering words! I know you are into color from the spread sheet. It does make your eyes focus on things easily doesn’t it? Glad you enjoyed the post.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  9. Donna Merrill October 26, 2011 at 3:02 pm #

    Thanks Oliver. When the phone rings, my answering service picks it up. I won’t allow myself to answer when I’m on a mission. I do say NO to people all the time. That little word has so much power doesn’t it?
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  10. Oliver Tausend October 26, 2011 at 7:18 am #

    Hi Donna,

    thanks for sharing your brilliant insights. I love the idea of buying an expensive planner to discipline ourselves. The colour concept you share also sounds neat. Problem number 1 why people don’t focus is failure to say NO to people and to themselves. You start an important task – the door bell rings (or the phone). What do you do ?

    Be blessed


  11. Donna Merrill October 26, 2011 at 5:45 am #

    Very true. You have to focus on one thing at a time. In a speech I heard by Herman Cain, he said that he is following his path. His friends and relatives are on different paths, but he said that you can not travel two paths…only one!
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  12. Eldridge DuFauchard October 26, 2011 at 5:27 am #

    I know before I wouldn’t get anything done and get frustrated with everything and just stop working, period! lol

    Then one day I just said, I’m working on this one thing and do it to the best of my ability and bingo, now I have created and hosting my first telesummit!

    Amazing things happen when you focus on one thing at a time:)
    Eldridge DuFauchard recently posted..Frustrated with the Job Market?My Profile

  13. Donna Merrill October 26, 2011 at 5:08 am #

    Ohhh sticky notes…I must try that! Thanks for that advice. I may put it on my computer too. Although I work best with my appointment book doing various things. Every little bit helps
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  14. Dr. Erica Goodstone
    October 26, 2011 at 4:08 am #

    Donna, Since I’ve been involved online I have had all of those feelings your describe, sometimes all at the same time. I like your suggestion of color coding. It’s just that sometimes I have so many different tasks to do that it is just one more task to write it all out. I do keep a sticky note that I discovered within my Microsoft Office suite. It is posted on my desktop and I add to the list and remove completed items every day. That seems to work best for me – very simple but in my face.


    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted..Are You Manifesting Love in YOUR Life?My Profile

  15. Steve-Personal Success Factors October 26, 2011 at 2:55 am #

    Donna, I love your ideas regarding the colors 🙂 I personally am benefiting most from Leo Babauta’s Power of Less system. I pick my three most important tasks for the day, based on One Goal. Then I work on one of the three tasks first thing in the morning. If I get to the other two, great: if not, I move them on to my next day’s list.
    Steve-Personal Success Factors recently posted..Now You Can Be As Productive As These Top CEO’sMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

      Way to go Steve! I work in a similar fashion. Once the tasks are done, there is a sense of relief. Being our own CEO’s we have to create a system to get the job done! Thanks for stopping by.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  16. Donna Merrill October 26, 2011 at 12:23 am #

    Thanks for your comment David,
    You are so correct when you say that any management or planning tool works when we work it. I use the pommodoro technique. I am pretty good at it when the alarm goes off. But…there are times when I just shut it down. lol
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  17. David Paul October 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    These suggestions are brilliant and useful. I love the color coding idea,and I am going to incorporate that into my planner.

    When I’m “on my game”, I will sit down first thing in the AM and use a system called Simpleology Cockpit to help me dump what is not priority, remember important stuff for later, and RIGHT NOW the tasks that will get me to my Major Goals today.

    With any time management or life planning tool, it Works When We Work It. 🙂

    With Love, Respect and Peace,

    David H. Paul
    with Great Enthusiasm
    from NeoTrainingNetwork.com
    David Paul recently posted..Unconditional Love: Lips Service or Truth?My Profile

  18. Nathalie Villeneuve October 24, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    What a great post Donna! I really loved the simplicity of your tips and especially loved the “Mini-Vacations throughout the day and the colors you associate with what you are planning that block of time for.
    I recently did a post on Time Management. I have to be honest with you, when I wrote it…it was for me to truly understand the importance of scheduling my days…Yep…I have to admit that I am guilty of lacking “consistency” and I committed to improve myself everyday!
    I am listening to “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and OMG! Do I ever learn a TON! I will try your tip with colors …now do you highlight the sections with that color or do you “write” with colored pens?
    Thank you!
    ~ Nathalie

    • Donna Merrill October 26, 2011 at 12:30 am #

      Thank you for stopping by Nathalie. I read your post on time management and it was great. I’m guilty too of being consistent but that is why I try try again, and stick to my plan. I don’t write with colored pens, but rather highlight the blocks of time.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  19. Cherrie Bautista October 24, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    Hi Donna! I’m guilty of having too many things on my mind that I sometimes end up accomplishing nothing because of too much multi-tasking. From my full-time job, to my business, to my family, there’s just way too many things to think about and remember. Taking a time out for myself really helps me get centered and focused. When I’m just too confused and all over the place, I would grab my keys and go to the gym to workout, or just plug in my meditation CD to clear my mind. Then I would be able to prioritize by writing down what needs to be done. It also helps to have a planner, but I just use the calendar and task apps in my iPhone. Excellent tips!
    Cherrie Bautista recently posted..Social Media Tip: Think Of The Bigger PictureMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 26, 2011 at 12:32 am #

      Cherrie, It is so important to take those mini vacations and take time out for yourself so you can feel refreshed and in tune of what your plan is each day. As for multi-tasking, STOP! It only works for a little while. Doing it over a long period of time can affect your skills. It will swallow you up like a magical dragon!
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  20. Donna Merrill October 23, 2011 at 5:18 am #

    Hi Gary,
    So true when you say we make mistakes sometimes and others will take advantage of that! Never thought of it that way.

    Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  21. Gary Young China Sourcing October 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    Thanks Donna,

    This is a great post and you’ve really narrowed down some really helpful tips. It is difficult to stay focused many times. We make mistakes when we lose focus and other people will take advantage of that.

    Thanks again.
    Gary Young China Sourcing recently posted..New Life and China SourcingMy Profile

  22. marquita herald
    October 22, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Really enjoyed your article Donna – great tips! I know for me, when I start getting that fuzzy, out of focus feeling – I need to walk away and take a break. I tend to be almost obsessive when I get into a project and quickly lose track of time. One of the best tools I have to break that cycle – is my dog Lucy. She’s an indoor pooch and very good at letting me know when it’s time to get fresh air and some sunshine.
    marquita herald recently posted..Do You Dare to be Different?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 23, 2011 at 5:16 am #

      Thanks Marqita. We all need to take a break in order to completely focus. We do get obsessive when working on a project, but thankfully, Lucy is there to remind you to take a break. I have 3 dogs. They do sense things and sometimes come over to me to clown around when I’m spending too much time on the computer.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  23. Adrienne
    October 22, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    I agree Donna, these are really great tips on focusing.

    I’m happy to say that this isn’t an area that I have problems with. But I also live alone and can devote all my time to my business so I’m very fortunate in that respect.

    So you also do intuitive counseling! I bet that’s an exciting venture. I worked with a spiritual life coach a few years ago and I loved that experience. I learned a lot about me during our sessions and I’ve always been very intuitive. I understand most people are, they just don’t know how to acknowledge it.

    Thanks for sharing these tips. Awesome advice.

    Adrienne recently posted..How To Be Attractive When You Have No CredibilityMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

      Hi Adrienne
      Yes Intuitive counseling is what I do. I have clients that use me for that to perfect a goal in their lives or to overcome something. A large part of those clients are psychologists….go figure????
      I also do my “psychic readings” which are one half hour or one hour with clients. I never tell them what to do. I am clear that they are masters of their own destiny and I am just a road map. I can “see” different directions, but there are ALWAYS variables. It depends on the choices I give them. Sometimes the word Psychic gets confused with those that tell you “you have a black aura and need to buy this sixty dollar marble” I am so not in that niche thank God!
      Thanks for the comment.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  24. Donna Merrill October 22, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    Thank you Marc. As our own business owners, we wear many hats. Writing things down has become so powerful to me because it focuses me in all the many things I have to do. It is a discipline. We as internet marketers need that.
    Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  25. Marc Korn October 20, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Hi Donna,

    Thanks for sharing this post and these great tips.

    You certainly hit the nail on the head when you mentioned “write things down”… for me that is the most important thing and what I always suggest to others.

    It is so much easier to focus when you have a written plan. If you try to remember your tasks for the day, week or month…you expend too much energy and become un-focused.

    The key is to develop your self discipline in the areas of goal setting, time management and others if you want to achieve all that is possible for you.

    Keep inspiring us,
    Marc Korn recently posted..How Do You Develop The Habit Of Self-Discipline?My Profile

  26. Darren Spruyt October 20, 2011 at 3:42 am #

    Loved this post Donna! I think you were talking about this yesterday weren’t you?

    I remember being told to do step #1 in the past when I had so many things to do and it really works by helping you clear up your mind so that you can occupy it with more productive and creative things.

    Would like to add one point! I remember reading in a book somewhere that our productivity is best if we plan our day in blocks of 90 – 120mins. So focus on one task for that duration, take a 15minute break like you suggested, and then work on something else. This helped me a lot especially when I was studying for my exams in the past.

    Great points and concise! =)

    Darren Spruyt
    Darren Spruyt recently posted..6 Ways On How To Improve ProductivityMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 20, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

      Awesome Darren,
      Yes those blocks of time with breaks do work. I currently use the pommodoro technique whereby this scientist did studies and found that 25 minutes of time, a five minute break, and another 25 minutes of time makes one pomodoro . It’s a free download and I have downloaded the little tomato timer. It is really neat because I don’t have to look at the time, the tomato rings me. During those 5 minute breaks, I stretch, get some juice, etc. Then my computer rings me again to get back. I found that it works great for me and keeps me focused.
      I tried the 90 minute block, but my mind wanders after about 45 minutes.
      Thanks for your input,
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

      • Willena Flewelling
        October 25, 2011 at 3:10 am #

        Wow, Donna, that pomodoro technique and timer sounds like a great idea! I am not good with remembering to take breaks, any more than I’m good at staying with a single task until I’m done. I’m going to look into that.

        Willena Flewelling

  27. Kelly Baader October 19, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    Awesome tips! I use very similar “Colorful” method, too.
    Every time I see RED, I am like “Alert”! 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Donna Merrill October 19, 2011 at 11:36 pm #

      Hi Kelly, Yes, Red does that to you doesn’t it. A great color for getting things done. Thanks for visiting.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  28. Peter Fuller MBA October 19, 2011 at 7:41 pm #

    Great tips on focusing Donna

    For me the trick is to concentrate on a task and finish it.

    When I do not finish a task that means I am not focusing 🙂


    • Donna Merrill October 19, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

      Thanks Peter! Exactly correct. We need to concentrate with a clear mind on each task and actually finish it!
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  29. Kevin Martineau October 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    Hi Donna:

    These are great tips! I use some of these tips already but you have given me some new ones to try out.

    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Choose to yield firstMy Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 19, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

      Thanks Kevin. There is always stuff we know about, but don’t really apply it all the time. That’s why I love blogging and reading others blogs.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

  30. Ken Pickard October 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm #


    All good stuff about time management and staying focused. My wife color coordinates our main calendar that has all the kids activities. With 5 of them it can get pretty busy. As you have outlined, the same principal applies to our “To do list”

    Staying focused and having the right mindset during that appropriate duty makes all the difference.

    Quick question…how would you help someone who is over whelmed with so many tasks? I see this all the time when people say they want to get this done or that done, but just cant seem to get started.

    Ken Pickard
    The Network Dad
    Ken Pickard recently posted..Is Leaving Good Blog Comments a Lost Art?My Profile

    • Donna Merrill October 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm #

      Hey Ken, I could imagine how busy life is with 5 kids! I’m sure that you take your time out to focus on them too.
      Answer to your question of how would I help someone who is overwhelmed to so many tasks wanting to get things done but just can’t get started: I would first get them to write a priority list. What is the most important goal in your life. In case they are still confused about that, I would ask them “If you had all the time in the world, what would yo be doing?” I kind of probe at them. Then when I find what is the most important task I tell them to make that a block of time every day to work on. Even if it is one hour and the task would take several. They could chip away at it until it’s don.
      Also, List making. Ever make a list of to-do’s and check them off? I love checking them off. I must admit, I’m not an expert of my to do list, but if I could just check off at least three fourths of it, Ahhhhh that sense of relief.
      As for the other tasks the person has to do, it must be organized as I said above. A daily planner works. Every day something will come up like a child’s football game, someone can be ill, your roof might leak, etc. That stops us in our track and becomes an issue. That is only part of life and we must ACCEPT it. Not react to it because it can tear our emotions apart, then we are too tired to return to our original task.
      We must consider our emotional side. Emotions are a real thing and we need to figure out what is stopping us. Sometimes it is a past voice in your head saying “I’m not good enough” “I’ll never get it done because I failed before.” Stuff like that. Get the picture. So I would have to talk to my client and get rid of what I refer to as the critic in the head. This is another modality I use by having my client recognizing that and dealing with the emotion, knowing that he/she can control it. I find it’s the biggest problem with people I work with. So individual emotions are an issue to be addressed in accomplishing something.
      Another thing I would do is give them homework! Start small with a check list and reinforce them that they can do it. It would be a learned behavior.
      Ok….so I’m writing a book here…There are many different ways I use, but it all depends on the person when it comes down to it. That’s my long answer to your question lol.
      Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

      • Ken Pickard October 25, 2011 at 4:15 am #


        Ahhh…the power of the check mark! I love that. Yes I’ve made many lists, even made the same one a couple of times. Crossed things off of one list only to put them on another. lists are good for clearing things out of the head and putting them on paper.

        But I liked what you said about not reacting to life’s changes. Things happen and when we spend to much time in the emotional side of things we can limit our potential for the day or week. We could also limit our purpose.

        There’s nothing wrong with emotions, but we should not let them dictate our current work by anchoring us with past failures of future wishes.

        I like how you have outlined a way to allow people to move out of their emotional space and move into an environment of freedom and abundance.

        Ken Pickard recently posted..A Content Syndication Strategy To Build Your Rock Star BrandMy Profile

        • Donna Merrill October 26, 2011 at 5:06 am #

          I love the power of the check mark! It clears my entire being.
          And Yes, life changes all the time, but it is the way we react to it that is important. We all have emotions and that is validated. But what we do with our emotions is another story. If it is a negative one that keeps you from your path, you have to shake that away!
          Thanks for your wise words in this comment.
          Donna Merrill recently posted..Are You Focused?My Profile

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