Important work requires your full attention, and sometimes important work requires you to act quickly in order to make an impact. To be fully present and committed to the work in front of you, fight the urge to overanalyze or ruminate on other thoughts. Here are three ways to help you clear your thoughts and focus on the task at hand:
1. Write down lingering thoughts, and forget about those thoughts for the time being.
If you need to focus on a task and you are thinking about something else, write down that other thought and put that other thought aside. Write it down on a piece of paper, and place the paper in the top drawer of your desk. Or type your thought as a note on your phone, and then put the phone down (and preferably out of your line of sight). You have recorded your thought, so try to put yourself at ease knowing that you won’t forget it. You can return to it at a later time.
2. Remind yourself that thinking about the past will not change what has already happened. It is only a distraction.
Nothing happens when you think. Thinking is not acting. Also, thinking about the past means that the situation already occurred. You may dislike the outcome, but thinking about the past does nothing to change the situation.
If you want to learn from the past situation, dedicate time in the future to focus on lessons learned to allow yourself to be fully present and focus on the task at hand.
3. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable about past imperfections.
Because some things cannot be changed, start getting used to feeling uncomfortable. Embrace reality, and recognize that not everything will go perfectly. It is okay if something does not go exactly as planned. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Knowing that it is okay to feel a sense of discomfort can help you quickly overcome lingering thoughts and focus on the present.
Making an impact sometimes requires you to think and act quickly. Being fast requires you to tackle the issue with a clear head. Write down other, lingering thoughts so that you can return to those thoughts later, remember that thinking about past situations will not change things and start being comfortable with feeling a sense of discomfort.