Sometimes one of the hardest things to do is to stay focused on a task. This is even more true when you have a reason to avoid it; fear, discomfort, difficulty. I certainly know I face this even on small tasks. I’ve found one of the most helpful ways to work through this is the “face everything technique.”
This is a very simple technique that is relatively easy to practice. It is also brief and can be applied to many areas. Leo Babauta described this exercise in mindfulness well.
- You ask yourself what you are doing
- You ask yourself what you are avoiding
- You acknowledge and face the physical discomfort in your body
- You take action around the task
I remember a client years ago that was finding themselves watching tv all day long. When we discussed it we noted that they were watching tv because they were so anxious about opening their mail. They had some medical bills coming due and were afraid of how they would pay the bills. So instead of confronting the bills they were ignoring everything, even falling behind on their house payments and other bills.
We worked together to explore the fear and discomfort the client was avoiding. Much to their surprise the client found out it was not as intolerable as they had feared. We then discussed ways in which to break the task down into workable chunks that would help them gain control of their anxiety. Day by day their pile of bills next to their door grew smaller. Often we realize that the thing we are avoiding we already have the tools to deal with. Our anxieties and discomfort gets in the way of us remembering these tools in our tool belts.