5 Whys

I’m not sure what this has to do directly with focus and attention, but I thought I’d post it anyway. Scatterbrained or not, I was always a great problem solver. Part of my strength, I think, is not accepting one cause (which may be a symptom). One tool that helps tremendously in getting to a root cause of a problem is to ask why 5 times.

So very simply, lets say your car runs out of gas.
1) Why did I run out of gas? I forgot to fill up. (duh, right?)
2) Why did I forget to fill up? I was in a hurry and didn’t notice. (hmmm ok)
3) Why was I in a hurry? I woke up late.
4) Why did I wake up late? I went to bed very late.
5) Why did I go to bed late? I was out partying…

That’s a very simple example. In practice, you probably won’t use it on such examples, rather in that case you can say to prevent running out of gas when I’m late, let me never go under 1/4 full. So rather than saying the partying caused me to run out of gas (which it did), I would say that carelessness did.

I did kinda sorta put this exercise on myself and challenges I faced and signs that would not normally be brought to light kept bubbling up to the top. Like focus, concentration, and attention.

Try putting 5 whys to work for you.

Be Mindful and Deliberate

One tip that’s central to most advice out there is to me mindful of your actions. This applies to focus, habits, healthy living, and much more. Of course at the risk of sounding like Yogi Berra, it’s hard to be mindful if you don’t know what to be mindful of.

Lately I’ve been paying special attention to what I’m doing at the moment. What am I doing? Am I wasting time? Am I focused? What should I be focusing on?

It seems to be helping me quite a bit. My goal, of course, is to have it all come naturally.