27 Oct How to Improve Your Focus
Your focus determines your fate.
The battle for our focus is a daily one, if not a minute-by-minute one. Distractions run rampant all around us. Other people vye for our attention. And for those of you reading this who are like me with ADHD or ADD, the internal game of “squirrel!” is constant.
The bad news is that our focus will always be under attack.
The good news is that we 100% control what we give our focus to. Even if distracted, we have the ability to be intentional with how we reset our focus back to what we want.
Without a Championship focus, we can’t create Championship results. So how can we improve our control of our focus?
1. Cut down distractions
I get it, they’re everywhere. Many distractions we have zero control of, but a lot? We 100% do.
- Turn off social media & mobile email notifications and instead set specific times during the day you’ll check them.
- Schedule time in your calendar for “closed door” work – no one enters your office and you can actually focus on getting stuff done.
- Block off time in your calendar for important tasks: working out, that work project, date night with a spouse. Instead of just “going through” the week, plan time for what you say matters.
2. Quit trying to multitask
Multitasking doesn’t work. Period. As much as we want to believe it does, bouncing from project to project to project, we lose our effectiveness the more we try to bounce between projects.
Research shows that we lose upwards of a half hour every time we get distracted and try to bounce between projects.
Instead of trying to multitask, set timers for 20-30 minute work windows where you focus exclusively on one project.
If you have 3 active projects on your plate, set time for project 1 for 30 minutes. Work solely on it. Take a short break. Then work on project 2.
Bouncing back and forth between each isn’t actually helping you make ground on each.
3. Practice meditation
I was never someone who liked meditation. I struggled to silence my thoughts. I thought it was overrated in helping calm the mind – until I started practicing it in short 30-60 second bursts.
Anytime I felt my mind overwhelmed and struggled to concentrate on a project I needed to work on, I would push away from my desk, close my eyes, and practice clearing my mind by focusing only on my breathing for roughly a minute.
I set a timer so when the alarm went off, I could refocus on the project at hand.
It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t instantaneous, but it did start to help me “reset” when my mind was overwhelmed.
4. Schedule breaks
One of the most effective work methods is the “Pomodoro Technique,” which involves working in 20-minute blocks.
Start a task. Set a timer for 20 minutes. And when the alarm goes off, get up from your desk and take a short break.
This technique is designed to help us give hyper-focus to a specific project in a small window instead of (what a lot of us do) sit at our computer for hours on end and expect to get something done.
5. Set daily targets
How do you eat an elephant?
The same way you do a donut – one bite a time. Regardless of how big the goal you are chasing is, the best way to reach it is by setting tiny, daily targets to reach each day.
For example, when I wrote my book, my goal was not on the entire book but on simply writing 500 words every day.
Maybe that seems big to you. Try writing 200 words every day, it’s like a sorta-long Facebook post.
Start small. Take one step today.
Setting small targets each day gives you a manageable target to reach that will simultaneously keep you motivated, while also continually moving you toward your goal.
6. Get your sleep
There’s only so much coffee. The better our rest is, the better our focus is. Finding a way to get 7-9 hours of solid sleep is a great way to improve your focus because it helps refresh your entire body.
7. Have a plan (use a journal)
What you don’t write down, you discount. Using a small daily planner is an effective tool in helping hone our focus onto the right tasks because we write it down and then visibly reference back to it throughout the day.
Need help finding a great starter journal? Stay tuned, I can’t wait to tell you about this new one I’ve been using for the last year.
The better our focus, the better our forward momentum.
If we train ourselves to block out distractions, then we increase our chances of doing the right work that moves us toward our goals. If we don’t, then we find ourselves in a constant game of busy without ever getting anywhere (think hamster on a wheel).
What do you use to tighten your focus onto the work that matters most to you? Comment below and let me know!