On a poster I once saw there contained a beautiful diagram explaining how one can stay focused in an age of endless distraction. To become a superman in productivity focus is imperative. There are 7 different ways that will help you focus better whether you’re a YouTube addict or can’t seem to peel yourself off Facebook.
1. Take time to reflect and review
The first step is to take time and look over your future plans and current accomplishments. After waking up the first thing to do is ask yourself what are the things you want to work on today. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate list, but make sure you set some mental intentions to accomplish a list of tasks which you are most excited about.
At the end of the day, do the same things you did in the morning ¬- but this time intend things for tomorrow. Ask yourself what you need to focus on tomorrow so you can set a mental reminder and keep today’s momentum going if you’re in the middle of a task. Also reflect on what you did today, and see how you can improve/change on the things that went wrong.
2. Manage your email lists (Areas of contact)
It is important to disconnect yourself from social distractions and don’t be checking your emails constantly. Set a time; let’s say between 10-1, where you are allowed to check your emails and other messages. Do this maybe 2 – 3 times a day and you will find yourself with more time. Also turn off all forms of alerts such as Facebook dings and even email alerts.
3. Create rituals and habits
Habits die hard. If you ingrain something into your psyche for long enough, it’ll stay between the lines of conscious/subconscious and you will do it without even thinking about it. Your body will also start adjusting to it too. For example, if you go to bed every day at 11 pm, your body clock will adjust and you will start to feel tired around 11 pm, and you’ll fall asleep quicker.
Have evening rituals for your bedtime, dinner time, shower, meditations and whatever else you do on a constant basis. Turn them into habits and set certain times to do them. This may sound too strict and routine, but if you have trouble focusing – then these will put you on the right path.
4. Improve your working style
It is imperative that the way you work is efficient and productive. When there are too many distractions, it’s sometimes very hard to stay concentrated on the task. If you are regularly doing work on a computer, try moving that work onto a note pad, or disconnect from the internet.
Sometimes I find that once I go on the internet, it pulls you in and takes you on a comatose ride until you snap yourself out. It’s a trance machine. Another point to mention is that it’s also important to take breaks and work in bursts. This will greatly increase your quality of work and also how much you can produce.
5. Have a clear space
It is important to continually unclutter and clear your working space. What you ultimately want is nothing but the tools you need to work, and the resources you need. So if you work on the computer, all you would need is just a computer, mouse and keyboard on your desk, and any additional information. Nothing else. This also applies to other tasks as well. If you reading, you just need a book. Do one thing at a time.
6. Take technology detoxes
Every now and then disconnect from technology. Disengage from the online world and stay away of being in the ‘loop’. Don’t watch TV, don’t go on Facebook and don’t even check your mobile. Turn it off. Instead, go spend time with your friends and family, read a book, meditate, go for a walk or even create something creatively; paint, sing, dance, draw etc.
7. Last resort
If none of these can help you focus, then you need some drastic changes. These may not be easy at first, but they’re worthwhile in the long run.
Buy an internet web block for your home to block you from going on certain websites (Facebook, YouTube) and get someone else to remember the password. This is so you can’t mindlessly browse the web as I mentioned earlier. If your problem is less distractions but more focus, then set up a little cubicle and only use that area to work. Even if you’re at home, make sure you can’t see anything that can be distracting by putting up room barriers. These are cheap and you can get them at any department store.
Now you can go on and do great work. Always remember that whatever you’re focusing it, make sure you’re passionate about it as this is a great way to stay focused. Being interested in the subject will make your focus unbreakable.