One may start the day with the best of intentions, but it will not be long before you face the inevitable distractions that come at high speed and from all directions! Every generation thinks that they are living in the most challenging times, yet it would seem there are more opportunities at present to lose focus than at any time in history. I believe this to be true, yet I understand that everyone has challenges with handling the host of distractions available today.
At present, there are distractions that we can readily identify as well as many that seem to appear from out of nowhere. How can one make sure they push through the madness and retain some focus throughout the day?
Here are a few suggestions:
Take control of your work environment: Before beginning on a project or activity, make sure you have dealt with the known possible distractions. I find that a tidy, minimalist, and clutter-free workspace helps me to focus on the task at hand. Go on a discovery mission to find what helps you to work in a manner that avoids as many distractions as possible. You do not have to mimic someone else’s design, but you must find the environment that enables you to focus on and finish your task.
Plan your work ahead of time: Either the night before or first thing in the morning, map out the day. Deciding what you will work on for the day is one sure way to stay focused and to guard against distractions.
Take frequent breaks: When I begin working through the items/actions on my list, I set a timer and start working. At the end of the allotted time, I take a five to ten-minute break. You must build in intervals of rest. During the rest period, I walk around, drink a cup of coffee, stretch, use the restroom, or any number of other things, and then at the end of the break, I am on to the next task. No one can work non-stop without taking a break. Do not think you are more efficient by working straight through. It will catch up with you!
Turn off electronic notifications: It was a little later in my productivity journey until I saw the importance of turning off all the pings, rings, and noises, and I immediately noticed a significant distraction eliminated. I trained my mind to realize that I was not turning the notifications off forever, just for a short period to focus on the immediate action. I highly recommend you give working in a “notification-free” zone a try.
Set a deadline: Having an allotment of time to work on an activity is why I set a timer. I have twenty, twenty-five, or thirty minutes to work on the current task. Therefore I will focus until I reach the end of the allotted time. The deadline may be an arbitrary one that you set yourself, but you are training your brain to understand that for a certain amount of time, you will be focussed on the item you are working on and then you can take some time off for fun and relaxation.
Never forget the power of focus. Whatever you focus on will grow. You can see this play out every day. Negative folks concentrate on negativity, and before long, they become more negative. Focus on getting better, and you will get better! To live a focused life, you must eliminate as many distractions as possible.
What ways have you discovered to increase your focus? Would you share your tips for handling distractions? I would love to hear from you.