Whether you are working or trying to further your education or striving to achieve your goals, you must stay focused on what you are doing to be successful.
This is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks that you will face, as your busy life is full of distractions.
Distractions come in many forms - a sudden crisis that sidetracks you from your intended path of action; a new development that takes you in another direction; or the usual irritations and frustrations of everyday life.
It is up to you to take charge of what's happening around you and continually re-focus on your original goals and aspirations. You need to be like a guided missile system.
An advanced military technological innovation, the missile - once it is fired from its silo - has the ability to correct itself as it hurtles along seeking its intended target.
On board the missile is a complex computer system that measures wind velocity, atmospheric conditions and geographic barriers so that the missile can make the right contours in its course to strike at the heart of its target.
You could use the same working principle - an unwavering determination to accomplish a mission - in your life.
So, how can you stay focused on what you are doing? Here are five steps to achieve this.
1. Tune in
People often forget what their core responsibilities are. In the office, where you have to deal with the many distractions that come your way, there is a tendency to just work on the urgent matters, not the important issues.
If you are constantly fighting fires, perhaps you should ask yourself if these crises are the result of poor planning, and how they can be avoided.
Prioritise your activities effectively, handling tasks that are not urgent but important. In this way, you will be on top of things and ready to handle an urgent matter without having to worry about the pile of other tasks you also have to complete.
2. Respond, not react
In life, you need to respond to the challenges that you face instead of reacting to them. When you respond to the situation that confronts you, you take charge of the challenge. You will gravitate towards finding a practical solution to the issue that is bothering you.
Sometimes people procrastinate over something in the hope that it will go away. The problem is, it just gets bigger until it explodes. That's when you have to react, but the damage is done.
When you are faced with a crisis in your journey, the key is to address it objectively and come up with solutions - before it overwhelms you.
3. Break it down
Whatever your goals and aspirations, the sure fire way of achieving them is to break them down into little portions. When you break down your goals, you will find it easier to achieve them. It's a bit like climbing a ladder - one step at a time.
It is important too, that as you attain the little targets that you set for yourself, to celebrate the minor success of achieving them so that you will feel motivated and inspired to continue in your quest.
Sometimes, you fail but there is no need to be disheartened. Try to look objectively at your failure and see what you can learn from it to do better next time.
4. Keep your values
There have been many recent cases of leaders of large corporations compromising their ethics to achieving their goals.
Your code of ethics and value system make you what you are and who you become. In your quest for success, are you cutting corners or compromising your integrity?
Ask yourself if the way you get things done is based on strong principles, such as fair play and social responsibility. In achieving your goals, be wary of how your actions might affect others.
5. Seize the day
Carpe diem is a phrase from a Latin work by the Roman poet Horace. It means "harvest the day" or "seize the day". In other words, don't waste the moment; enjoy life while you can.
In your journey towards achieving what you want, you are bound to have "bad days" when you feel that you have reached a dead-end and there is no more spark in you to proceed further.
When the going gets tough, think about the real reason why you embarked on your journey. In the navy, there is a saying: "You cannot change the course of the wind, but you can adjust the sail of your ship to go where you want."
As long as you are clear about what you still want, the winds of uncertainty may blow for a while but they will not push you off course. Motivate yourself by focusing on a mental picture of your success.