Does focus elude you? Do you multi-task at the cost of focusing on your more important projects? Have you ever wished that you could have laser-like focus?
Well, as we all know, there is medicine for this type of need. But I think even people who take focus-enhancing medicine will attest that unless you have a good process and discipline, you’re still not going to have great success with just a pill.
Here’s how you can achieve laser-like focus using the strength of your mind.
Plan your day. This will allow your mind to be free from worry because you’ll know that you’ve scheduled your most important tasks according to priority.
Clear your desk and do it quickly. Don’t get caught up. Just remove distractions and leave the sorting for later.
Close all unrelated computer programs and eliminate noises. No TV, radio or any device that will ruin your focus. Consider getting noise canceling headphones if you work around noise. The caveat is if you are doing physical work that doesn’t require mental concentration, then use music for energy if it helps you.
Also, don’t answer the phone. That’s what voicemail is for!
Set Visual Reminders
Some people are very visually oriented and creating visual explanations helps them more. If that is you, then create some type of visual reminder of the task you are working on. It can be a little yellow sticky note right on your computer monitor or a big poster in bold red letters.
That works well for me. I highly recommend it even if it feels silly. You can also use it as a muse if your work is creative-based.
Create a Hook to Super Charge Your Interest
Many times, we have to work on things that we aren’t excited about. If that is the case, then just buck up and find a way to get interested. Focus on the benefits of completing your work. That’s why you’re doing it, right?
Tell yourself that you like it. It can help to even be silly about it. Find ways to make it fun or sexy. Find ways to make it exciting.
If you’re already working on something you’re passionate about, then focus on that and exaggerate your excitement.
Chunk the work into pieces. Plan it out on paper and use timers to stay on schedule.
Take Frequent Mini Breaks
Get up and go to a different location to stretch. Close your eyes and take 10 deep breaths. Check your progress against your daily plan. Do this when you start to feel stuck, frustrated or when you just need a break. You’ll come back rejuvenated and with better focus
Stay on task but don’t be harsh, critical, and stressed. This will block creativity and productivity.
Be relaxed in your approach to your work.
Commit to this: “It’s ok if it’s not perfect. It’s even OK if I fail. As long as I try and keep making forward progress.”
Be disciplined in a firm way, but without harsh judgment and pressure. Supervise yourself, watch out for procrastination tendencies, and gently bring yourself back to the task if you find yourself losing focus.
What are your secrets for staying focused? When was the last time you had great success with focusing on one thing versus trying to multi-task?
Written by K. Stone, author of Life Learning Today, a blog about daily life improvements.