Staying focused when overwhelmed

My list of goals and things to do keeps growing and I want so badly to hit the ground running and tackle what I keep procrastinating. I find myself feeling so overwhelmed by what needs to be done that I end up lying down and doing nothing and feeling stressed about it. This happened recently and after a day and a half of laying around I realized I needed to simplify how I was looking at what work needed to be completed.

If you have that same feeling of being overwhelmed by all of the things that you need and want to do in one day pick 1-2 small things on your list that you know you can complete today and let those be your only focus. You don’t need to finish everything on your list at once. We can be so distracted by the desire to multitask and complete many things at once that we end up with limited to no focus. By staying on task with 1 or 2 small things you will find a sense of accomplishment and encouragement to tackle more tomorrow.

In yoga there is the term drishti which translates to gaze. The gaze of your eyes is an important part of learning to stay focused. Drishti is also extremely helpful when practicing balancing asanas (yoga postures). It begins to bring us to a place where we are able to have ekagraha, one pointed focus. When our eyes begin to wander so does our mind. If our list of things to do is so long that our mind keeps wandering it is hard to stay focused and get anything done. So begin to simplify and move away from multitasking to a one-pointed-focus.

If your one pointed focus is to complete a presentation, writing a document, or resting in bed, let that be all of your focus. So rather than laying down and feeling stressed about letting yourself rest, tell yourself that is what the focus is for the moment. Being in stillness can be extremely powerful in rejuvenating and preparing the body and mind. Take time to sit in meditation and savor the moments of non-doing.

Live Light Practice:

What is one thing you want to focus on for the next 3 hours? Let that be where all of your attention goes and each time your mind tries to pull you in a different direction take a breath and get back on track. Your mind will come up with many clever ways to distract you so be compassionate and aware rather than judging yourself for shifting your attention somewhere else for a moment. After exploring this approach a few times you will find the times of rest being more restful and the times of action being more efficient and successfully completed.