Splattered, Covered and Smothered: How to Get Your Focus Back and Get More Done - Christine Kane

Have you ever been at home all day when nothing’s in the fridge?

You open the door. You poke your head in. You hum a little tune and look around. You sigh. You grab a handful of pine nuts. You go back to your desk.

About an hour later, you’re hungry.

So you go back to the fridge and look again. Nothing new has appeared. You pull out some black olives, put them on a saucer, and go back to your desk.

You think, “I should go out and get something to eat.” But you don’t. A part of you is convinced that a solution will appear. Maybe a Sous Chef will arrive at your door.

Amazingly, this doesn’t happen.

Eventually you’re back at the fridge. You look in. Then, you close the door. You reach into the cabinet and grab some raisins…

What happens in this scenario is that you eat all day, but you never feel satisfied. By 5pm, you’re strung out, unfulfilled, and you wonder why.

Here’s why:

You ate. But you never actually fed yourself.

We do this exact same thing with our FOCUS. We dabble in random things. But we never really commit to anything.

I call it Attention Splatter. It’s when you mindlessly and half-heartedly splatter your attention and focus on non-activities. But you never fully engage.

Remember this: Your attention ultimately feeds you. It feeds your heart and your mind. This is why it’s so important to notice what you give your attention to. This is also why splattered attention leaves you unfulfilled. You never actually feed yourself.

The most common Attention Splatter culprits are:

– Email

– Cell phones

– Clutter

– Facebook

– Television

– Endless Google searches

If you are prone to Attention Splatter, here are seven ways to reclaim your focus and get more done.

1 – Have no more than three priorities for the day.

There’s only so many things you can get done in a day and still enjoy the day. Get into the habit of spending five minutes each night deciding what one thing you want to get done the next day. Ask yourself, “If I only accomplish one thing tomorrow, which one thing would make me most happy?”

2 – Know the task before you sit down at the computer.

This is a must.  When you don’t do this, you can get lost in the millions of non-items that any computer has to offer.

Assign tasks. (i.e. “Clean out email folders”) Assign times. (”From 1pm to 2pm”) Stop as soon as the end time arrives.

3 – Stop the leaky activities.

Make a list of “leaky” activities, and stop the leak by scheduling these activities. (As opposed to letting them take over your day.)

For instance, instead of letting email leak all over your day – all day every day – schedule email as an activity at a certain time each day. Every activity should have a home – a space for its completion. Otherwise, you set yourself up for a full day of splatter.

4 – Leverage your small slices of time.

It’s easy to look up at the clock and see that you have, say, 45 minutes before an appointment and think, “Well, I don’t have time to do anything substantial. So, I guess I’ll just go on line.”

Turn your thinking around! Learn to fit constructive things in to small slices of time. It’s amazing what you can complete in a short focused slice of time!

5 – Use your intention.

Before you begin any activity, set an intention for that activity. Intend your desired outcome and how you want to feel during the activity.  This is the ultimate act of creativity.

6 – Get rid of anything that doesn’t feed you.

Incoming emails, group emails, magazine subscriptions, news aggregate feeds, TiVo, memberships, unread books…

The list of incoming stuff goes on and on.

Get your life in order. Get rid of anything that doesn’t feed you. If you subscribe to it, ask yourself why. Start letting go of stuff. Doing this one thing has helped me create a home and office environment that is healthy and sacred. Be ruthless about keeping the incoming stuff to a minimum.

7 – Don’t half-ass your down-time.

When you take a nap, take a nap. When you take a Saturday off, really take it off.  Don’t spend the day obsessing about the things you should be doing. Turn off the computer. Get out of your office. Go away.

Fully disengaging from your work so you can have fun is imperative. Plus, this will allow you to return with renewed energy and attention!

39 COMMENTS ADD A COMMENT
  • james elliot

    As a life coach, I am always looking for articles to further help my clients. Your article has great tips on how to focus and make the most of your time, and I’ll definitely be sharing it with my clients.

  • Mita W

    Christine, thank you for this very helpful article on how to stop ‘attention splatter’ and focusing on what matters and getting your life in order.

  • Raelene Farnes

    Christina, your post is one of the very few that I’ll keep!! I love the info you share. It’s always so direct & to the point, not trying to sell something. It’s just great valuable insight. Thanks for being a BREATH of FRESHNESS in a cluttered world of spam emails. Thank you!!!! ~ Raelene

  • Abdul Hameed

    Hi,Christine How are you my coach , First, you made me laugh because sometimes happen with me, when I do think about who I love 😄 And when I am alone , but I’m often ready for the moment of hengery so my refrigerator never be empty 😆😆😄😄 , so you will see me I love nuts a lot and crazy of raisins 😍😄😄😄 , and lovely smile made me forget my mane , but God be with me and patience me when I misse who I loved 😆😆😆😊👍🌹🌹🌹🌹.

  • Terri

    Great reminders, thanks!

  • Lisa

    You are fantastic and I glean so much from your advice. Thank you and keep up your amazing work.

  • Tami

    Thank you. Something that would seem natural and simple yet we struggle in these areas daily. It is wonderful to read your message to reiterate and shift FOCUS.

  • Kelly Beischel

    Holy cow! Were you at my house watching me when you wrote this? 🙂 Totally agree with you and even teach your list of strategies. But, I can easily slip down the inattentive slide. I am committing to implement 2 of these strategies until they become rote practice. And then I’ll move on to the next 2. Perhaps when I get to the end of the list, I will have mastered it. Putting this out there to keep myself accountable.
    Thank you Christine for writing such that you touch us where we are and move us to where we want to be. ❤️😘

  • Tessa Dowell

    Thank you. Really, really good. Loved this article!!

  • Laura W-A

    So… maybe Castleville should not be my home page? 😉

  • Bonnie

    Thank you so so much for this article. It at least shows me there is nothing wrong with me. Just wrong with my priorities and my time. I signed up for your course starting March 19th for these very reasons. Well because I need clarity and focus as I am starting a new business this year and I dont have clarity and focus because of mindless non activities I am doing. I listened to your telecall from the hub and I hired my niece to come and help clear out the clutter in my home. Ironically, I do this on occasion in my current business. I am looking forward to the journey, for fear to get out of the way and allow myself to be vulnerable and open to you! (((hugs)))

  • Barbara

    Love the irony/providence that while I was wandering unfocused thru email this morning, I read this. Nice timing! Thanks, Christine.

  • Alison

    Helpful even, in case you think ‘heldful’ is a new word. It sounds good though and might have something in common with ‘mindful’!

  • Alison

    You have no idea how relevant, timely and heldfut this post is for me today. Thank you.

  • Farnoosh

    Best post on Focus, thank you SO much Christine, I am linking up to it from my podcast, and boy am I over the moon to be taking your Uplevel Your Life program. You are a role model in a million and one ways for me.

    • Christine Kane

      Thanks Farnoosh! So happy to know I’ll be working with you in Uplevel Your Life! (It’s great to see faces with names too!) And thanks for linking to me from your pocast. If you return to this page – please leave me a link to your podcast. I’d love to check it out!

  • Carmen Robinson

    Enjoyed this article and would like to share it on my facebook page but there is no “share” icon, only a “like” icon. Allowing your articles to be shared would definitely increase exposure to your website and all you have to offer.

    • Christine Kane

      Will do, Carmen! (I think my team and I just figured that the facebook “like” just made it easy for people!)

    • Sara

      I was able to share the article on my Facebook page!

  • Joy

    You rock, Christine!

    I KNOW this awesome post is a re-do, and how perfect is that!!! Thank you so much for your wisdom and for telling us again and again as we UpLevel ourselves and our work in the world!!

    This lands on my life again in a new, fresh way that’s powerful.

    I’m so glad you and your pup enjoyed that sacred hike in the forest…rich beyond measure!

    Love,
    Joy

  • renee lighton

    I love your posts! thank you SO much!

  • Ramona King

    Thanks Christine for your words of wisdom. Scatter and Splatter unfortunately has been my mode of operation for too long. #1. 3 things for one day and of the three…the most important one. I’ve purposed three things for the week and have noticed that oftentimes even the most important one of the three does not get accomplished. This week I began breaking down the weekly three into smaller pieces to accomplish within the week. Based on what you’ve shared with us here, I believe this will work. I’m looking forward to sharing with you my personal results.

    Numbers 2,3,and 6 have been energy drainers for sure. Too often I have gone to the computer with the intention to check a particular e-mail only to distract myself with other e-mail communications. Facebook was my opening page on Firefox…need I say more? I replaced it a week ago with a health and fitness page – Activetrax – and it’s made a difference. Now all I have to do is slim down the over 10000 (yes, you read that right) of incoming e-mails that eat up my time and energy when I’m attempting to find the e-mails that are significant to me and my business.
    Thanks for the blog Christine. It’s food for the brain and empowerment for the heart.

    • Christine Kane

      Ramona – oddly enough, 10,000 emails no longer surprises me. I think many people are dealing with this issue! Congratulations on changing your opening page! That’s a great idea! (Mine is my custom google page with my favorite blogs organized into cool little tabs categorized by type.)

  • Julia

    I am so very grateful for your words this morning, Christine. I have been feeling completely scattered and overwhelmed lately. In fact, I was just thinking (before opening your email) that I really need to set up some kind of schedule for myself and that I really could use some help with this…and then (magically) your words arrived.

    I want to thank you for all you so generously give. I have been listening to you and reading your words and have received so much. Thank you so much.

    With love,

    Julia

  • Lynn Ruby

    Thanks for another great article Christine! I’ve recently become focused on your point #4 above – Leverge your small slices of time. In fact, at this very moment, I have 45 minutes before a scheduled call !! LOL. And I was sitting here thinking ” what is the best use of this 45 min??”. I decided it was – in part – to read your article since you always have wisdom and good advice to share. And now, my next task is to pull out my list of “things to do with small slices of time” and pick one that will take about 30 minutes and get it done!

    • Ramona King

      Lynn:
      I love the list of things to do with a small slice of time. Perfect for people like me who frantically try to figure out what task is best used during those unexpected gaps of time when emergencies pop up … like emergency doctor visits for sick kids or other types of office visits where you hurry up to get there and wait…

  • Denise

    What a great concept “Don’t half-ass your down-time”. Love it! I have this amazing gift (and sometimes a curse) of being able to multi-task and accomplish a great deal in a short period of time. Knowing that about myself, I often feel guilty when I actually take some down-time because I know how many things I could be accomplishing. If I look at it from your view point, I could come at it from a different angle… see how many ways I can maximize my down-time. It’s time to honor myself and give myself permission to take some time to self-nurture and get back to center. Thanks Christine!

  • Joyce

    This article is so helpful for me right now! I have more than one major priority going on right now and I definitely get scattered with my activities. Sometimes I just go “window shopping” at a local store in order to calm myself down and renew my energy. This morning I feel much more attentive to my priority list, as if it is guiding me along the way. Thanks, Christine!

  • Teri Beckman

    Yes Christine! One of the best articles you have written. Really really helpful. I plan to re-send this out to my peeps (with your tag at the end!). I think we cannot remind ourselves of this enough. It makes such a huge huge difference. It is OK to focus. It is OK not to be a slave to email, to Google, to Facebook – to direct your precious attention and time. I want to start building this habit stronger and stronger. I love Deirdre’s idea of a note on top of the computer – “What is the task now?” It feels so good to focus in a deliberate way- big source of satisfaction. I think I also get tripped up being too tired and then my mind really drifts. Just requires more gentle steady coaxing by awareness back, or a nap! Thank you.

    • Christine Kane

      hey Teri –

      Yes. Tired and hungry can really wreck your focus! Glad you notice that. Too many people keep on keepin’ on -and end up making emotionally-based decisions in their lives because they are not operating with a full tank!

  • Wayfaring Wanderer

    Exactly what I needed to read today! Thank you. 🙂

  • Deirdre

    So many great points here. I sit down to do one thing online and get up 20 minutes later with no idea what drew me there in the first place only to realize later I never got what I needed to do done.
    I think I’m going to write “What’s your task?” or intention at the top of my screen.
    I’ve learned so much from your posts and newsletter in the past year, and just wanted to stop and say thanks for a change!

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