How To Focus On The Things You Can Control: 5 Tips To Tackle

We live in a world that gets chaotic sometimes. In that case, it’s critical you understand how to focus on the things you can control. 

It would be nice if the world can work on our behalf and our self-interests. Unfortunately, we cannot do that as individuals.

Whether you’re going through personal struggles or building a business right now, there are things you can take charge of. In this article, I will go over five tips you can do to take charge of your situation.


  1. Focus On The Internal- NOT External Factors
  2. Focus On The Now (Today)
  3. Write Out A List Each Day
  4. Stop Following The News
  5. Change Your Attitude From “I Can’t” To “How Can I?”
  6. Utilize Your Time Wisely
How to focus on the things you can control: This article explains five steps you can take to focus on what you can control.

Focus on the internal- NOT external factors

Too many people focus too much on things they cannot control. When we talk about external factors, it can be other people, how they grew up, current events, and so on. These external causes can lead to anger, frustration, and disappointment in what surrounds them.

I used to be that way for a long time- until a few years ago. I realize now that it didn’t make my life much better focusing on things I could not control.

For instance, I would pay attention to the news a lot. I had wished governments and major organizations would do more to stop the terrible things that took place.

How to focus on the things you can control: There are things in business you have control over, such as internal factors.

On another point: it’s best to focus on things you can do to create your own freedom. Great workplace culture is something you can control if you run a business.

I understand now that I have no influence as a single person, which brings me to a reality check: There will always be pain and injustice taking place around the world.

Unless you’re the world’s emperor, you have no say in changing how the world functions. Moreover, you have to shift your attention from external to internal factors.

How To Focus On The Things You Can Control: 5 Tips

How to focus on the things you can control

As an individual, you cannot control external factors in your favor. By focusing on what you can control within, you can make better choices. Let’s discuss the following points.

Focus on the now (today)

Some people get too caught up in the past or think far too ahead in the future. When that happens, we get distracted and feel unhappy.

Too much of it is not good, which is why we need to focus on the present. Focusing on the “now” can help determine better outcomes.

Instead of fantasizing about them, why not just take action and turn them into a reality? Go ahead and start “doing” rather than saying you will do something.

How to focus on the things you can control: By doing what you can now, you can get where you want to go.

Having the dream house

If you think a lot about the dream house you’ve ever wanted, you need to put time and effort into making it happen. For instance, you may need a certain amount of money to make an eventual down payment. 

Instead of fantasizing about it, focus on what you can do today to achieve that outcome. Taking those little steps here and there can turn into good outcomes later on down the road.

Write out a list each day

I recommend writing out lists, which are part of my daily routine. There are two types of lists to write:

  1. Weekly list
  • Write out your top priorities for the week
  • For example- Your most important tasks (MITS) and personal tasks 
  1. Daily list
  • Write out your MITS each day- ranges from one-three tasks that need to get done on a given day
  • If you have time: Write out other things you can do as well

These are my simple lists to write out. If you would like to see examples of some, check out the attachments below of what I do on a weekly/daily basis.

Why you shouldn’t focus on the things you can’t control?

Focusing on external factors does not change outcomes the way we prefer. Spending time on things we cannot control takes away valuable time from producing outcomes we can do to improve the quality of our lives.

Stop following the news

Most media coverage today is NOT objective- it’s very biased and one-sided.

The news people consume today is not accurate as it may have been years ago. In that case, you can’t always trust what you see on TV or on the internet.

Most mainstream news organizations partner up with major corporations. When that happens, they’re paid to tell specific perspectives on the issues. In some cases, they can be biased and misleading at times.

Most news organizations want to make money like any other business. So the typical outcome is to get as much viewership as possible. If that’s getting more eyeballs glued to a TV (or click-baiting online), they’ll do what it takes to succeed.

Instead of being informed of the news, you’re being conformed. The idea is that you should accept a viewpoint as it stands, rather than making a decision yourself.

How to focus on the things you can control: Most news coverage today is doom and gloom, which can be misleading and inaccurate sometimes.

A relevant article from

Read next on “How To Spend Less Time On The Internet: 9 Tips To Practice, to manage your time better offline.

Apply the same idea to social media 

When going to social media, what you see there can not be trustworthy. It seems to always be doom and gloom for every other news post you review.

So here’s a challenge I have for those who want to make a difference. Avoid watching any news for at least 30 days, and see if things have gotten worse over time.

When I did that, things did not change much around me. The sky didn’t fall, so I was like, “Things are not as bad as I see on TV.”

After doing that challenge myself, I felt much better and didn’t notice any differences in living life in general. If you take on this challenge, I think you might experience the same feelings as well.

How to focus on the things you can control: Following what’s on social media is the same thing as watching the news.

Change your attitude from “I can’t” to “How can I”?

A key part of controlling your situation is your attitude. Instead of saying “Well, I can’t do that.” “How can I do that?”.

There’s a big difference between can vs cannot. Let’s break down some examples of what you can do differently.

  • “I can’t edit videos. I’m no good at it.”


  “I can’t do it “YET”, but I’m willing to learn how to master the skill.

  • “I can’t afford to hire people to work in my business.”


  “How can I afford to hire and delegate tasks to others?”

Making these simple changes in your language can make a big difference. It can completely change the way you think in these situations.

You can go from a negative attitude to a positive one.

Utilize your time wisely

As mentioned before, time is your most valuable asset. So it’s important to be mindful of how you use your time. 

Here are some things you can do now:

  • Practice time blocking to work on your MITS (primarily the first thing you should do each day)
  • Monitoring your time on your phone and social media
How to focus on the things you can control: When you’re short on time, it’s important to use it to your advantage whenever possible.

Especially when it comes down to your phone and social media usage, they are the biggest productivity killers if not used wisely. So when prioritizing your tasks, be sure to set limits on using them.

When it comes to time limits between these two things, I break them down as follows:

  • Phone: Less than 2 hours a day
  • Social media: No more than 30 minutes spent on a social media network

A relevant article from

Read next on “How To Spend Less Time On The Phone: 7 Tips To Try“, to learn how to spend less time using your cell phone. It can help if you’re finding it to be a productivity killer.

Final Words

The world is a chaotic place- it’s one that you alone cannot control. Focusing on the external will not change your life for the better.

Instead, it’s best to focus on internal factors. Whether that’s changing your mindset or taking that initiative to “do” rather than “saying”, those are things you can change immediately.

These five tips can help you navigate to controlling your situation. If you can change that mindset, things can work out for the better. 

Your Turn: How will you focus on the things that matter most?

I would like to get your thoughts on this topic. Do you spend too much time focusing on things you cannot control?

If so, is it holding you back? What can you do differently to change things for the better?

Will you start holding yourself accountable for the actions you take? What can you do about it starting today?

Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below. I look forward to reading your responses, and I’ll gladly respond promptly.

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Eric is the owner and chief editor of 

He takes great pride in helping people manage their time and grow their businesses. 

Eric is a firm believer in financial and time freedom, as he believes in financial independence and taking ownership of your time. 

“Time is your most important asset. It can be your best friend or worst enemy. How you use your time can shape the future you desire to have.” 

In his leisure time, Eric loves to write and read whenever possible. He enjoys going for long walks outdoors while doing in-home workout videos every week. 

You can also connect with Eric via LinkedIn.

Self Photo 2019: Here's a picture at a building in downtown Chicago.

2 thoughts on “How To Focus On The Things You Can Control: 5 Tips To Tackle”

  1. It is so true what you say. People do tend to focus on the wrong things like internal instead of external or the past and future instead of today. 

    The world is definitely a very busy and chaotic place to be in. We have to train ourselves very carefully to use our time more wisely. 

    It is so easy to get started on something with good intentions and then get sidetracked, instead of sticking to the task at hand. 

    • Hi Michel,

      We live in a world where the majority of people will focus on things they cannot control. It’s sad some of them don’t realize that it won’t help improve their lives.

      Instead of focusing on external factors, we need to turn toward things we have control over. When we start doing that, the sooner we can improve the quality of our lives.

      The same holds true for those who start a new project, but shortly afterward, they get distracted and give up on it. So I’m with you that it should change at some point.

      Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts- they’re much appreciated.


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