A few weeks ago I wrote about the danger of being obsessed. There I wrote that there are three states we can possibly be in: lacking focus, being focused, and being obsessed. The best state is being focused but there is always the danger of falling to either lacking focus or being obsessed states.

Having discussed the topic of obsession, here I’d like to go back to the topic of focus. Focus is essential to achieve anything we want in life. In fact, not only should we have focus, we should have it at every level of our life.

Looking at my life, sometimes I wondered why my progress was slow while I thought that I was already focused on my goals. Only later did I realize that there are different levels of focus. I may have focused on one or two levels, but if I do not focus on the other levels then the results won’t be optimal.

So what are the different levels of focus? In my opinion, there are five levels of mental focus based on the time frame:

  1. Lifetime
  2. Yearly
  3. Weekly
  4. Daily
  5. Currently

Of course, you can add other levels like quarterly or monthly if they work for you, but for me these five levels are enough since having too many levels is confusing.

If you want to succeed, you should be focused at all five levels. Lacking focus at any of them will decrease the performance of the rest. In addition, you should also be careful not to be obsessed. The art of maintaining the balance without falling to the lacking focus or being obsessed states is an art that will take time to master.

How to Focus at All Five Levels

Let’s look at the five levels of focus and see how to focus at each of them:

1. Lifetime

Being focused at the lifetime level means that you should have a purpose for your life. What is your life purpose? Have you followed it?

Finding your life purpose is perhaps the most difficult thing to do in all five levels, but it is also the most rewarding. It sets the directions of the other levels. If you have this level wrong, you may end up making many wrong decisions in your life.

Here are some things you can do to find your life purpose:

  1. Find what matters to you
    This is the starting point to finding your life purpose. There is one question that can help you find what matters to you:
    “What is the thing that you care so much about that you are willing to do it for free?”
  2. Explore your passions
    I believe everyone has multiple passions that are waiting to be explored. Don’t limit yourself to only one passion. Build your portfolio of passions.
  3. Find the intersection between your passions and the things that matter to you
    The intersections between the things you are passionate about and the things you care about are clear signs of what your life purpose could be.
  4. Make a mission statement
    After you have an idea of what your life purpose is, you should write it in a mission statement. Ideally, it should be a one-liner: ten words or less.
  5. Keep refining
    Finding your life purpose is not something you can do in one day or even one year. Just start with what you have and keep refining it. Over time, the direction of your life will be clearer and clearer.

2. Yearly

After dealing with the lifetime level, you should then go down to the yearly level. Here you should have a goal for the year related to your life purpose. Your goal should be both specific and measurable. To ensure that you are focused at the yearly level, you should have only one goal for the year (or two if you must).

One thing to remember is your yearly goal should be related to your life mission. Otherwise, there is a missing link between the lifetime and yearly levels.

3. Weekly

To have focus at weekly level, you should set a goal for the week ahead. What do you want to achieve in the following week to help you achieve your yearly goal?

4. Daily

The next level is daily in which you set your goals for the day. What are the things that you want to achieve today? You can start by setting your Most Important Task (MIT) for the day. Your MIT should be the thing that will make the most difference if you accomplish it today.

Here is a question to help you set your MIT:

“If I can only finish one task today, what will that be?”

You can then set other goals using a variant of the same question:

“If I can only finish one more task today, what will that be?”

By asking this question repeatedly you will get a list of the tasks based on priority.

5. Currently

After setting your goals for the day, the next level is the present. To get optimum result, you should be focused in whatever you are doing. It means that:

  1. You should not multitask
  2. You should prevent distraction
  3. You should use ultradian sprint to accomplish as much as possible within the working session

Where is Your Weakness?

Being focused at all five levels is important to get the most out of your life. I realize this when I look at my own life. I’m focused at some levels but not at the others and as a result I do not get the results I want. Understanding these five levels help me see the levels which need improvement. In my case, my weakness is the weekly and currently levels. While there is still room for improvements at the other levels, those two levels are where I lack most.

There is one thing to remember though: while being focused at all levels is good, we should stay flexible if we want to avoid falling to being obsessed state. Perhaps you have set some goals for the day, but you should be flexible enough to adapt to changes that happen during the day. Your heart is often the best guide since it somehow knows what is right.

Please use your real name and note that I reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

66 Responses so far.

  1. Alex says:

    Great article! I was searching on Google for ‘how to focus’ and this was ranked #1. I all too often get distracted with trivial things and find that even after long hours of working haven’t accomplished nearly as much as I would have liked. I will certainly be following some of your advice and breaking down my goals into different time frames. RSS feed added!

  2. John says:

    Not sure if this is a focus issue for the author, but shouldn’t the title be “…You might not BE aware of” The BE is missing.

  3. This is tremendously fantastic we live in the world
    where our people are just hard dying non optimistic
    and the bible rightly put it that the heart of men are decietfully wicked who can know it,men you got to know that our world is like market never mind the noise in the market but mind your goal.I admires
    your explanation of life focus which entails portfolio of passion.Like Christ on the cross of calvary forgive and forget.Like paul the Apostle learn to overlook all life affliction and challenges

  4. Atish says:

    Great article! Thanks for it!

  5. Something to consider. I’d like to think I’ve got the first one covered but I suppose it probably starts with current and then lifetime.

  6. satnam gill says:

    Reading what you’ve wrote has honestly opened my mind. I only wish i had typed in mental focus on google a heck of alot earlier.


  7. dwavers@yahoo.com says:

    This is so priceless, may God prosper you&your generation

  8. Zoyany says:

    I found the very rich materials for me and my friends working preparation to achieve our goal from this site. We implement in the real game and bossiness as well. Thanks very much. All the best

  9. Thomas says:

    I believe that this explains cleary on how to be focused in life ,in a way that a person can understand easily and in a summary form.
    So i would like to thank the author for this and I am going to apply them to my life.

  10. Rihana says:

    amazing amazing amazing!!!I luv dis article.yes focus focus and focus………….:)

  11. Lawrence says:

    I really hope this article will make a difference on me. I have lost much time during my holiday.

  12. harold najashi says:

    you cannot learn how to focus if you don’t know how to avoid distraction…

  13. Maria says:

    Absolutely lovely:)