Are you struggling to stay focused and productive during the day? Are distractions getting in the way of your goals? It’s time to put those distractions to rest and develop unbreakable focus.
First, Understand the Importance of Focus
It’s not an easy feat to stay successful in today’s economy, and the one thing that separates you from living your best life is a lack of consistent focused action.
“Your happiness is determined by how you allocate your attention.”
Focus is so important in our lives because it maximize our productivity, the quality of our work and even our happiness, as Paul Dolan aptly puts it.
I used to leave 50 tabs open in my browser, unintentionally keeping up with all the news and what’s happening in my social app when I should use that energy to keep up with important tasks at hand.
There are lots of young, educated, and skilled people who are underperforming in life because of lack of consistent focus.
Unfortunately, the world is filled with constant distractions, and if you want to achieve your goals, understanding the importance of focus is not something you can thrust aside.
Without focus, your mind easily wanders, and you might find yourself in a cycle of unproductive circumstances.
That being said, I’ve compiled six power moves (most of which I use every day) that will help you achieve strong levels of focus and crush any distractions that come your way.
Take Self-Care Seriously for Optimal Performance
There’s nothing as powerful as starting with the basics.
This might be common but It’s necessary, your focus will suffer if you’re tired, don’t get proper nutrition, exercise, and enough sleep.
Personally, I find adequate sleep the key productivity tool, then proper diet.
Taking care of yourself is crucial for maintaining optimal performance and focus.
As a young woman trying to navigate through life’s challenges, it’s important to prioritize self-care practices that support your well-being.
This can include simple activities such as getting enough sleep, eating nourishing meals, and staying hydrated.
Also, adding exercise into your routine will improve your physical health, and also boost your mental clarity and focus.
More importantly, take regular breaks throughout the day to rest and recharge. Engage in activities that bring you joy and help you relax, whether it’s taking a walk in nature, or practicing a hobby.
Take note of Common Distractions That Hinder Productivity
Jot down everything in one spot: things that stress you. Taking a look at your surroundings and what distracts you.
Distractions are ultimate productivity killers. From social media notifications to chatty coworkers, there are countless things that can divert your attention from the task at hand.
One of the most common distractions is our own smartphones.
You may start with the intention of quickly checking a message, but before you know it, you’ve wasted valuable minutes scrolling through social media.
Another major culprit is multitasking. While you may think you’re being efficient by juggling multiple tasks, studies have shown that multitasking actually leads to decreased productivity and lower quality work.
Additionally, office noise, meetings, and email notifications can all disrupt our concentration and make it difficult to stay focused.
Try to minimize all possible distractions—noise canceling headphones, ‘do not disturb’ sign, and turning off notifications, to name a few.
Practical Strategies to Increase Concentration and Improve Focus
When it comes to improving your focus and concentration, practical strategies can make a world of difference.
I’ve noticed whenever I work longer hours for several months I reach a point where I fall into a productivity slump, and get less done.
I always thought if I push through, and work even harder, and work harder I might overcome it.
Only when it often leads to poor decision-making, circular thinking, and eventually burnout.
My personal journey to discover a better way led me to Sean McCabe’s book “Overlap,” where he introduces the whiteboard technique as a means to enhance concentration.
One particular method he recommends is the “90 Minutes Focus Technique.”
The 90 Minutes Focus Technique
So, what exactly is this 90-minute focus method? It’s a straightforward concept: dedicate a full 90 minutes of your undivided attention to a single task.
Use the Whiteboard
During these 90-minute sessions, it’s common for distracting thoughts like “grab a snack,” “reply to a text,” or “check your emails” attempt to lure you away from your focus.
That’s where the whiteboard (or a notebook) comes into play. Whenever intrusive thought arises, simply jot it down on the whiteboard.
The items on the whiteboard are the things you’re not committed to do during this concentrated period.
And if these thoughts come back to haunt you, jot it down again. The whiteboard or your notebook serves as a repository for these distractions, effectively taking them out of your mind. That gives you awareness and control over your thoughts.
But what happens to those recorded thoughts once your work is complete? The answer is simple: nothing.
The act of noting down these distractions makes you aware of what tried to divert your focus, and you can be proud that you didn’t succumb to them.
This technique empowers you to maintain a laser focus on a single task during your dedicated work periods.
Who can Use This method?
If you’re someone who is easily distracted by random thoughts or other pending tasks, this technique can be a game-changer, it can improve your ability to concentrate with unwavering determination.
For example, if your task involves working on project X for an hour, and you find the temptation to engage in something else, jot it down on the whiteboard or a piece of paper in plain sight.
This item may be something you want to attend to later, something you can review after your focused work session concludes.
Writing it down is like telling your brain, “Thanks for the reminder, it’s recorded, so we won’t forget it. But for now, let’s focus on the task at hand.”
Mindfulness Techniques for Stress Reduction
Stress is inevitable. But adding mindfulness techniques into your daily routine, you can reduce some of that stress and increase your focus.
Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present and aware of the current moment without judgement.
It allows you to calm your mind, relieve stress, and regain control over your thoughts and emotions.
One simple technique is deep breathing. Take a few moments throughout the day to focus on your breath, inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth.
Another effective technique is body scanning. Close your eyes and slowly bring your attention to different parts of your body, noticing any sensations or tension.
Mindfulness is a technique that’s worth incorporating into your daily life, you can reduce stress and enhance your focus, increase productivity and a greater sense of well-being.
Create a Productive Work Environment
To develop unbreakable levels of focus, creating a productive work environment is key.
- Start by decluttering your workspace and organizing your materials. A clean and organized space promotes clarity of mind and minimizes distractions. Next, consider the lighting in your workspace.
- Natural light is ideal, but if that’s not possible, invest in good-quality artificial lighting that doesn’t strain your eyes.
- Personalize your space with inspiring elements such as plants or artwork that bring you joy and motivation.
- Finally, set boundaries with your colleagues to minimize interruptions. Let them know when you need uninterrupted time to focus and find strategies to minimize office noise.
A productive work environment helps you set yourself up for success and be better equipped to maintain strong focus throughout the day.
Setting Goals and Priorities to Maintain Momentum
This is similar to improving your focus, but when you’re dealing with long term goals, it’s a whole hassle.
If you find out, for example, you can string together 2 to 4 months of eating healthy, regular workouts, working, studying a lot, sleeping well and avoiding generally bad habits and then the next 3 months or so, you just stop caring until you have another surge of motivation that makes you invested again.
How can you be more consistent?
Chances are you always find motivation again at some point, but then you lose so much time in the time in between where you just don’t invest in your goals and go full stop?
How to Cope
The question is, are they the right goals? If you are a high energy person like me with a shiny object streak, it’s easy to spend months dedicated to a goal.
But then it trails off because in reality you never truly understood why you were dedicating so much time to it.
It’s a common pitfall, but it’s often an indicator that the goals you’ve set might not be the right ones.
The ‘why’ is the driving force. I usually take this as a sign to re-evaluate my goals. You’re either not setting the right goals or not accurately defining why you’re doing something.
If that’s the case then you might need a recheck.
But what if you are 100% clear on your why, and you have a goal that you believe in, but you still find your motivation fluctuating like rolling hills, then I’ll say it’s just normal.
We live in an environment that’s constantly changing. Sometimes work or family or something changes priorities temporarily. If you end up back on track after a lull then you are still progressing.
Just make sure you write down the why and always go back to it.
In addition to setting goals, It’s hard sometimes when your “why” isn’t as clear cut as for example making X and Y amount of money. Your goals could be more like “I’m going to read this book/amount of pages per day to become more knowledgeable in my field/developed person.”
Of course, reading is definitely an honorable goal that impacts your life in many ways and how you view the world, but it can feel a bit evasive at times.
Assuming what’s going to happen if you don’t read the 10-15-pages daily goal you set for myself? Nothing directly.
But it will have repercussions in the long run if you stop reading altogether.
And it’s understandable that sometimes, that daily goal can feel like too much work for the marginal benefit/result of it.
But that’s it, If you can find a way to constantly remind yourself of the long-term results of your goals and why you are pursuing them;
You’re on the right track.