Are you struggling to focus?
Wherever you go, someone (or something) is vying for your attention.
You have 42 tabs open in your browser and your phone interrupts your thoughts. I hear you. But these distractions harm your ability to focus and get important work done.
I am in the midst of my master’s thesis, and I am experimenting and observing what works best for me.
If you also have the attention of a goldfish, then check out this blog post for tips and ideas.
Finding focus: the basics
There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of finding focus.
You might already know about these simple tips and tricks, but the question is: are you putting them into practice?
Here’s a checklist for you:
- Cut your task into small chunks
- Be crystal clear about what you’re going to do
- Turn off distractions
- Put on a timer (20, 33, 50 minutes)
- Take a break and give yourself a reward
Sounds easy, right? Common sense is rarely common practice.
Below are some specific actions steps you can take. Try to implement one of them in the next 24-48 hours (otherwise, let’s face it, you probably won’t do it).
What to do:
- Delete a social media app on your phone.
Try this for a week. Observe what happens. You can always turn it back on.*
- Write down your top priorities on a piece of paper.
Don’t turn on your computer unless you know what to do.
- Keep track of your time.
A time inventory reveals what you do with your time.
I’ve noticed that I become more focused when I plan my work around the checklist and principles above. But this is just the starting point.
Ready to take your productivity to the next level?
Focus starts with small habits
Let’s be honest: you won’t change your habits and behaviour over night.
That’s why focus is best achieved by starting small habits. As the quote from the blog image says:
Start with something so easy you can’t say no to it.
If you’re struggling to find focus, make it easier to get started. Most of us suffer from procrastination problems, overachiever syndrome and overwhelm.
How to start a small habit:
- Decide on something small, but valuable.
Like meditate three minutes per day. Or go for a walk during your lunch breaks.
- Make a commitment to yourself.
Hold yourself accountable. Maybe even tell someone about it, or write it down.
- Record your results.
What difference does this small habit make in your life? Observe how you feel before and afterwards.
The power of small habits is nothing new. The Japanese call the practice of making small, contintinous improvements for kaizen. It sharpens our focus and helps us overcome our fears.
(If you want to learn more about kaizen, check out this blog post.)
Over to you
The point of this article is to help you become more focused and deliberate with your attention. It’s your most valuable resource, and you want to make the most of it.
Small changes make a big difference, so keep experimenting and do more of what works for you.
What do you do to sharpen your focus? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Want to become more focused?
I share my best tips on productivity and personal development in my latest book Smarter Growth. Click on the image above or learn more about the ebook here.
* I witnessed a boost in my productivity by deleting my Facebook app. You hate these asterisks, don’t you? I do too, I just want to see if you’re paying attention 😉