How Do I Decide What to Focus On Next?

It’s only Tuesday, and you’re already snowed under.

You’ve only just barely ploughed away last week’s tasks... but the avalanche of to-do’s, messages to answer and projects to tackle just keeps coming. 

The clock is just about to hit 10 AM and you’re ready to cry. You could focus on anything. But you know that trying to focus on everything is a disaster. 

So in such a situation, what’s a girl to do? 

How do you know which things to do now, and which you can leave for later?

What should you focus on next?

The answer to the question of focus is actually a very simple one. But it requires that you ask another question first: 

What tasks are you most avoiding right now? 

Unless you’re already a proven productivity maven with a history of successfully completing everything you start ... avoidance is the most important clue to which tasks you should be focusing on. (And let’s face it, if you were that productive you wouldn’t be reading this. You’d be getting stuff done!)

The tasks you avoid are probably the tasks you perceive as the most important and the least pleasant. You may have some negative emotional associations with them in the past. You also might be afraid of what will happen if you stop procrastinating on these tasks. 

These are all signs you need to address these tasks first.

A pattern of avoiding dealing with tasks on a to-do list is usual a sign you have an overall habit of avoidance in your life.

If you avoid to-do’s on a regular basis, then probably you are also avoiding dealing with other things, such as addressing past emotional pain, confronting  relational conflicts and doing what you need to do in order to make more money.

Here’s a test to see what you might be avoiding: 

- Are you avoiding your invoices or budgeting?

- Are you avoiding responses to the people who reach out to you?

- Are you watching tons of webinars to avoid having to sell your services?

- Do you know someone who wants to help—but you keep saying ‘no’ or hiding?

If you recognize these statements, then yes, you probably have a learned mental and physical pattern of avoidance in your life. This is common and can crop up in our lives at any time. 

But the good news is that learned mental and physical patterns can be unlearned as well. 

Just as you consciously chose to avoid something over and over—and therefore learned it as a life habit—you can learn to deal with that thing immediately, each time it arises, and come to find joy in doing so!

Yes, it is possible to find pleasure in addressing things immediately. This pleasure activates new neural pathways in your brain and trains your mind to associate decisiveness with good feelings. 

The more you experience this good feeling, the more you will  want to stay on top of things so you enjoy clear-headedness, inner calm and healthy sense of being proud of yourself.

These experiences come with being someone who deals with things immediately. Not to mention noticing how everything in your life moves forward as a result. 

In order to do this, of course, you will have to be willing to walk straight into the resistance you feel and sit in the discomfort for awhile. Doing the task WILL feel frightening and uncomfortable. But these feelings will not last as you begin to experience the confidence that comes with facing what you previously thought was unfaceable. 

If you commit to facing the discomfort, it will actually dissolve very quickly into a new level of confidence and decisiveness. 

But you have to make a decision: the decision that you want to be free of your fear so much that you are willing to tackle NEXT what you are tempted to avoid the MOST. 

Any type of avoidance behavior tells you what you must focus on next. 

You already know what you’re avoiding. 

So... what will you do next?

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