How To Focus Your Attention When You’re Not Sure Where To Start

I regularly work with clients on this topic  in my private coaching practice. It’s difficult to be a business leader and hold that vision, as well as do all the nitty-gritty and make that vision a reality.

It involves you doing big-picture thinking and also being way down in the details at the same time.


The first thing we’re going to talk about is reverse engineering. When you know where it is that you want to get to, what that big vision is, then it can be a lot easier to reverse engineer. We know what the endpoint is, and we know where we are now.


When my clients come to me, they usually have a goal in mind. Something that they’re either not achieving or that they want to achieve and want help with.

The first thing that I do is understand what’s most important to them. Then make sure that their goal aligns with what’s most important to them.

If you don’t have a compelling values based or emotional reason to want something, it’s going to be tough to do what you need to do to achieve it.


The next step is to get clear on why it is you want that thing. Now we know what we want and where we are now.

I get my clients to break that into five chunks.

What are the five steps, the five milestones between where you are now and where you want to get to?

These are usually still very meaty chunks. So we break it into five and take that first chunk and break that into five. Now we’re starting to break down the steps into more manageable tasks.

If the chunks are small enough that they can become tasks that can be completed in about 30 minutes or so, then we’re ready to go. We’re ready to set actionables that we can track and that we keep a record of in our coaching sessions.

If they’re not, then we do the same process. Take that first chunk of the five, ignore the rest, break that down into more manageable tasks until they are small enough to complete.


If we try and do something too big, it fires the fear centre in our brain, and that will stop us from doing what it is we need to do.

Have you ever sat down to your to-do list then said, “I’ll go and put on some laundry or I need to go to the post office.”

That is a signal that the task in front of you is too big.

If you find yourself distracted, then the chunk is too big. It’s triggering your fight/flight response.

Fight/flight looks a lot like procrastination and perfectionism in our modern-day living.


1: Get clear on what it is that you want and why you want it.

2: Think about where you are now and where you want to go, the journey.

3: Break the journey into five milestones.

4: Break that first milestone into five actions. Break it down again if necessary until you get a task that you know you can do without procrastinating.

5: When you’ve finished one chunk, move on to the next chunk, and do the same process.

It can sound like a lot of work, but what happens is that you keep moving forward. That is what will focus your attention when you’re not sure where to start.

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