If I could read that thought bubble above your head, I’ll bet it would say something like:

I wish I could get focused or feel like I’m getting something accomplished.

  • Do you dread opening email or checking messages after an hour of being “off the grid”?
  • Are you getting up earlier and working later just to keep up?
  • Do you feel more like a human doing than a human being?

Clarity is a ChoiceStop. Hit the pause button.

In my last post, I talked about a search for clarity is a search for truth. Over the years I’ve collected many tools to discover what’s true for me. Choose to do at least one of the following things to gain greater clarity in your life:

C – Confront your frustrations or distractions by giving them a name. Grab a pad of Post-It notes and write one idea per note of all the things competing for your attention. Once you have a hefty stack and the ideas have slowed down, sort those notes by affinity or likeness. Now that you can see what’s on your mind to organize and prioritize your next actions.

L – Listen to the voice inside your head. When we give ourselves the luxury of slowing down for a few minutes, the answers are often just below the surface, waiting for a voice. Write “What is the most important thing I should be focused on today?” at the top of a page, then number it 1-20. Write 20 answers to the question in rapid fire, without over thinking it. Don’t stop until you have 20 answers. You will recognize the best choice by the way it makes you feel when you see it in black and white.

A – Acceptance is the first step to successful action. “Shoulda, woulda, coulda” thoughts keep us stuck in a cycle of reaction or inaction. Trade those victim thoughts for victor thoughts of things you can do to move forward, even if it’s a small step. Go ahead; identify a next action you can take.

R – Recognize your limitations. Most of us underestimate the amount of time it will take to perform a task or complete an assignment. We fail to account for interruptions, road blocks and competing priorities. Block time on your calendar for the things on your to do list, then add at least 30% more time than you think you will need.

I – Initiate conversation with others. Life is complex and no one person has all the answers. Get input from others and invite different opinions. It takes more time to do things over than it does to have the conversation in the first place and learning from others builds better relationships in the process.

T – Tell yourself the truth. Sometimes a lack of clarity is fear in disguise. What is the story you are telling yourself about your job, your life, and your relationships? Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations, poses the question, “What are you pretending not to know?”

Y – Your body doesn’t lie. Are your shoulders attached to your ear lobes? Do you have a knot in your stomach or a lump in your throat? Did that last thought or comment fuel some energy and enthusiasm for a new idea or direction? Pay attention to things that fuel your energy or pull the plug. Learn to trust your gut.

Clarity and focus are a choice. Exercise your power to choose.