How to Get and Stay FocusedDec 06, 2021
We live in an age where our attention is constantly being pulled in an assortment of directions. Between email, social media, and, oh, look, a squirrel! For you to be your most productive, you're going to have to get and stay focused. Here are five ideas for you to do that.
Number one, minimize distractions.
When I write distractions, most people think of email, social media, and people. But I want you to go deeper than that. What are some other distractions that are preventing you from being as focused as you want to be? As you could be?
For example, maybe your desk is cluttered. Physical clutter is a huge deal. I always tell my clients that the only things you should have right before you are things you need to do the task at hand. If you're writing a blog post, maybe you only need your computer and some water, nothing else.
Be aware of what's around you because your brain and your eyes are constantly scanning your surroundings for things, also known as distractions. Begin to keep a log of the distractions that are affecting you. Every time you encounter a distraction, write it down. Once you know what the distractions are, you can minimize them.
Number two, be mentally ready.
To be entirely focused, you have to be mentally ready. When you're worried, stressed, anxious, you're not mentally prepared. Before you sit down to write that book or work on that project, check-in with yourself and ask, Am I mentally ready to do this task? If you're not, maybe delay it for another time.
Number three, don't exceed your limit.
We all have limits. We all know how far we can go before we're pushing the proverbial rope. Realize when you are about to reach your limit and then stop. I know this is painful to hear. I get it; no one wants to listen to this. They tell me, "I don't want to stop when I'm so close to the finish line." However, when you exceed your limit, which could change throughout the day, you're not going to be producing quality content. So don't exceed your limit.
Number four, take breaks as needed.
When I write take a break, I don't mean to push back from your computer, open up your favorite game or app, and mindlessly scroll. I mean for you to physically get up from wherever you are and take a walk outside. If it's hot, stand in the shade. If it's cold, grab a jacket. If it's raining, stand under some shelter like an overhang.
Getting up and going outside gets your blood moving and gets those creaky muscles you got from spending too much time hunched over typing at your computer or attending seemingly endless Zoom calls. And when you go outside to take your break, do not: 1) get on your phone, 2) talk to anybody, 3) think about what you're working on, 4) think about what you've worked on, 5) what went right, 6) what went wrong, or 7) what you have to work on next. Just be quiet. Be fully present for a few minutes. Then go back to work. Your focus will be replenished, and you'll be an outstanding productive person.
Number five, work on things that matter.
I understand it can be challenging to be focused when you're doing what you don't want to do. That's why I teach my ODAE exercise: Outsource, Delegate, Automate, Eliminate. Outsource those things that need to be done that you don't want to do. Delegate those things that need to be done, but you don't want to do. Automate those things that need to be done, but you don't want to do. And my favorite letter, E, eliminate those things that don't need to be done anymore. Work on what matters. Because when you're doing what you love to do, you will be the most productive version of yourself.
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