Tag Archives: focus

A simple tool to retrain our brains to focus


I love variety. While, after 13 years doing this work, I still don’t have a ‘typical’ day, some of my favourites include a mixture of different types of work. Writing, teaching a yoga class, seeing a few clients, even doing a little admin.

And I know lots of people who’d much rather have specific client days, teaching days, writing days. Even with my love of mixing it up, it’s easy to get carried away with bite sized jobs and lose focus.

Grouping similar tasks together helps and a little tool I came across via Marie Forleo (click HERE for her video) has been pretty revolutionary.

There’s a part of me that hates the word ‘focus’. I’ve always been drawn to different things and remember being told ‘focus, focus, focus’ from the age of 10.

I’ve created a business (feelbettereveryday.co.uk and my journalism and writing) which allows me to indulge my curiosity and interest in a wide range of areas. Having said that (and a part of me still cringes writing this), focusing on one thing at a time is important.

I’m a little embarrassed to say that only after seeing Marie’s video did I realise that turning the notifications on my phone onto silent was an option. Amazing. I still check my phone many, many times a day but I do so when I choose to as opposed to it being such a Pavlovian response to a ping.

Even better is her idea of a ‘Onesie’. Writing down one thing that really must be done. I’ve always depended on my desk diary (I used to call it my ‘brain’) and typically number the tasks for the following day so I can hit the ground running when I start work and move through them in a logical order.

Marie’s ‘Onesie’ idea goes further. Rather than having the most important task of the day get lost in all the other items on your list, you write it down, as a verb.

For example, mine today is to DRAFT ____ COLUMN. Another day, it might be to draft another feature or column or to research something or even to read such and such. I don’t have to leave for clients and teaching for a while and having this, in large letters, right next to my computer means I won’t have to reschedule it. In 13 years’ as a freelance journalist, I’ve always been ahead of deadline but this extra focus really helps me.

For years, I’ve marked actual appointments, like teaching or seeing clients and supervisees, in a different colour ink (I use a third colour for social and fun things). They naturally stand out.

But Marie’s ‘Onesie’ approach is brilliant for the type of thing that takes more headspace than lots of other items but is important.

Personally speaking, I now write my ‘Onesie’ for the next workday as I tidy my desk at the end of the previous workday. I pop it under my computer and then I don’t even need to ponder the most important task for the day in the morning as it’s ready to go next to my computer and remind me to (gaaaggghh – I still have some resistance) focus until I’ve completed it.

Have you tried this?

 How did you find it?

What else helps you focus?

Feel free to comment below.




Clarity with clear quartz


If you’re interested in crystals, you may want to start by exploring clear quartz. Often neglected as not as exciting or pretty as some of the other stones, it remains one of my favourites.

I’m writing about it today because, having been working with a clear quartz crystal for a couple of days now, I’ve been reminded by how powerfully it can cut through all the confusion and help us see things more clearly.

I don’t want to limit its uses to clarity (like all stones, clear quartz has many talents – each particular rock will have its own energy although many will share certain characteristics. The way it’s treated (left natural? Cut and shaped?) will also impact it so, for example, a sphere is likely to bring a softer energy than a wand) but clear quartz, well, rocks.

It can be (energetically) as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel. Yes, the incision will need time to heal but wow, look how what needed to be removed has been excised!

Clear quartz’ stony siblings (amethyst, rose quartz and citrine) bring their own spins on the energy. Amethyst can offer a softer energy and is great for connecting us to our spirits, rose quartz can be a wonderful emotional salve and citrine can offer a citrus like burst of joy and optimism.

In terms of helping me see things more clearly (and deciding to take action), this clear quartz has been a wonderful gift. And yet, sometimes, not seeing things clearly has its compensations. It enables us to stay comfortably miserable or simply mildly dissatisfied. We may feel our heart sinking or know that we’re moaning but forget that we have the power to change things.

Of course, once we know what needs to change, we need to use our will to change things. And to temper that, we need to use love, too (kindness, compassion and acceptance both with ourselves as we take what can feel like scary steps and the people we’re dealing with).

Whether or not your clarity has come from meditating with crystals (or meditating at all) or a simple flash of insight, how can you best honour your new knowledge?

What baby steps can you start taking today? And how can you be as kind to yourself (and others involved) as possible as you go through this transition?

If you’re interested in finding out more about working with crystals to create the life of your dreams (not nightmares), check out my special New Year’s Eve (daytime) workshop to help you release all that’s holding you back and move into 2014 feeling lighter and more focused.

Metta x

Image (c) Eve Menezes Cunningham 2013