Discipline? Rigidity? Flexible Focus? Find Your Sweet Spot


Discipline helps you stay on track.

When does discipline fall over into rigidity? And how about flexible focus? When is it too flexible?

These are questions of balance and involve developing and fine-tuning your time skills, not to mention your self-knowledge.

So, let’s step back for a moment. Picture yourself planning time to dive into a project that you love working on.

You look forward to it, the way you might look forward to starting a race that you’ve spent months training for. Immersing yourself in the work, you feel strong and productive. Your focus and concentration have a feeling of flow and it’s not hard to stay on track. Confidence grows, as does your sense of satisfaction.

Sometimes discipline is required to stay on track. It comes into play when interruptions interfere, or when you hit snags in your project and are tempted to put it down before you’d planned to. It’s not fun and the flow isn’t there any longer.

Discipline vs. Rigidity

So discipline is helpful in these situations. I think of it as a practical, adult voice that calls you back to the task at hand.

Rigidity is another matter entirely.  This voice is urgent and usually has a critical edge. Sparks fly, patience frays and ultimately, both your plans and other parts of your life suffer. Relationships can be the first casualty when you become overly rigid. And your body may complain bitterly, too.

It’s important to recognize this when it’s happening. And then you can enlist a time tool that I call flexible focus. It helps you stay on track and use discipline rather than rigidity to do so.

Flexible focus in your daily decisions.

Here are 2 steps to use flexible focus to strengthen your discipline and avoid the pitfalls of rigidity:

Step #1: Plan your day the night before, giving each priority its fair share of time.

Some people mistake planning with rigidity. But realistic planning actually helps you protect the flow of your day.

  • A well-planned schedule helps you address priority tasks while reducing stress. This is especially true when you build in a little flex time.
  • And when you are working on a longer-term project, dividing it into daily increments keeps it manageable.

Your planning helps you stay on track without falling into rigidity. You’ll be more rested and will retain your perspective more easily. This allows you to respond to interruptions and other changes with resilience and good humor. Those around you will thank you.

Step #2: Make a list of your top priorities and then commit to balance.

I think of rigidity as focus that has lost its balance. This can happen to anyone, but when you consciously broaden your perspective, you can breathe easy.

So, ask yourself, what are your central commitments? Jot them down, and then clarify boundaries for each in advance. You might decide, “My weekend plans take priority over finishing up that report.” Then, if you are tempted to cancel a special get-together in order to review your project for the fifth time, an inner warning bell can help you readjust your perspective.

Flexible focus is a skill you can build. 

In order to build this skill, self-knowledge and self-reference are your best allies. Keep checking in with yourself to find your “sweet spot” of balance, as you flex here, and hold firm there. Assess your results with friendly objectivity.

With practice, you’ll use both your focus and flexibility to maintain discipline, avoid rigidity, and skillfully navigate the completion of your plans and projects.

And this helps, too…

Time is pure potential. You decide how to use it; and once you do, it’s gone.  That’s why it’s so important to build on your best time choices.

If you feel like your time slips through your fingers, then you’ll want to claim your copy of my complimentary “Daily Choices Template:  Proven Strategies for Tracking Your Best Time Choices Today, Tomorrow & All Year!” There’s no time like the present – to start moving toward the future you envision for yourself.

Let’s explore time together …

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