Clearing the Space – A Focusing Tool

During extremely busy times, times of emotional turmoil and major change, you may also find it difficult to focus on what you’re doing because your mind is cluttered with all the other stuff that’s going on. This is a process that I use with my private clients to create focus. I learned this in Coaching School and it goes something like this:

At the top of each private coaching session, I use a process called “Clearing the Space.” Very simply, you set each item aside one at a time by using this 4-step process:

  1. Identify what’s going on – give it a title or a name, don’t go into all the gory details. “What’s going on in the background is the fight with my partner this morning.”
  2. Identify the emotions that are connected with that thing – just use a word or two for each emotion, leaving out all the justification for the emotion. “The emotions connected to this are anger, frustration and sadness.” The tendency is to explain each emotion — anger, because… You want to leave out the “because” and everything that follows it.
  3. State your intention powerfully and in the present tense. “I am setting aside my anger, frustration and sadness so I can focus on writing this blog entry.” Notice, we’re not setting aside the fight or whatever, we are only setting aside the emotions. If you find those emotions to be stubborn, you can reassure yourself that you will come back to pay attention to them when you are done with this. “I’ll give you the attention you’re due after I finish writing this blog.”
  4. Give yourself a moment to set it aside with a deep breath or a visualization of placing that stuff in a closet and closing the door. Really allow yourself to set each thing aside before going on to the next item.

It is really important to leave out the details. The more you think and speak about the details of what’s going on, the more you bring up the issue.  And that’s counter-productive, since the purpose is to set it aside. It is also helpful to do this process out loud. The whole thing takes about a minute and most people report feeling more grounded, focused and energized.

Try it and let me know how you do!