How to Keep Focused in Four Simple Steps
Keeping focused is a critical ingredient for achieving goals, especially today when there is a myriad of distractions all around us. Furthermore, the energy of our minds is attention. This means, where you place your focus will determine where you expend your energy and the results you get. If you are a master of distraction or you succumb to the interesting rather than important tasks, you must find new ways to avoid this time wasting habit. Moreover, it is critical to your future success and achievement in all areas of your life.
Your focus determines your results
Definition of FOCUS – ‘the centre of interest or activity’ (noun)
We live in a digitally driven world where notifications come swooshing across our screens. Moreover, the frequent sound of a ‘ping’ interrupts our train of thought as our brain is attuned to distractions and novel events. Furthermore, there is a possibility of exciting news, a new opportunity or an interesting fact or story in our notifications from social media platforms. Finally, there are exciting apps on our mobile gadgets, intended to help us get more done, yet in reality, distracting us even more.
Another focus puller is our gadgets, such as watches that operate as mini-computers. Not only can we hear them, but we can see them light up on our wrist. As a result, we are willing hostages driven to continually check emails and alerts.
Your attention span is around eight seconds
While mobile phones and devices have significant benefits, especially helpful when running a business or needing to contact someone, it is all too easy to use phones as an excuse or diversion from those seemingly hard tasks. Furthermore, checking phones and spending time on non-essential past-times becomes a poor habit. Habits are often hard to change, partly because they are run in our subconscious mind. They are beneath our conscious awareness.Furthermore recent and ongoing research has highlighted the dangers of being too plugged into gadgets. Many people are becoming addicted to their phones, and there is even a name for this phone addiction - Nomophobia. Click To Tweet
Humans tend to move towards pleasure and away from pain or tedious tasks
Your brain is motivated towards pleasure and away from pain. What this means is the perceived anticipation of what the ping or notification might mean for you, pulls you towards checking. In anticipation, it releases a shot of dopamine which creates an urge to recheck your phone or mobile device. As a result, your brain starts craving more. Consequently, you form a hard to break habit.
How to keep focused is a crucial question you need to keep at the forefront of your mind on a daily basis.
How to Keep Focused In Four Steps
- Take five minutes to plan your day. Yes, you say, that is obvious. While it is obvious, most people don’t do this first. Write down 1 – 3 tasks that are important to do today. You can even make one or two non-negotiable items. Put this piece of paper where you can see it, remove all distractions (yes, turn your phone off or put it out of sight and sound) and commit to getting going. Write down this question. ‘Am I focusing on what is important right now – or what is interesting?’ Place it where you can see it and read it frequently. By sighting it often will help you keep your mind and your attention on what matters most.
- Set a clear intention before you start work on that critical project. The energy of the mind is attention and where you focus is where you are placing your attention, your energy. And what you focus on, grows. When you steer your mind toward what you want, you are in charge. Take a moment to imagine yourself having completed this task and feel how great you will feel. Tapping into how you feel helps your brain create chemicals that match a positive and momentum fuelling feeling. Do this often, and you create a positive internal state that acts as insulation to today’s distraction and stressful world. You also have learned one step on how to keep focused.
Chunking your time helps manage your tasks more effectively and is a great way to keep focused
- Chunk your time and manage your time around the task you are doing. I create thirty-minute blocks and like an athlete, have a warm-up, race and cool down. Next,I spend two minutes preparing what I need, ensuring I remove distractions. Then, it’s twenty-five minutes entirely focused on doing the task – like race mode. Finally, a couple of minutes to cool down. I stop and breathe, drink water and re-focus. The Pomodoro technique is one I recommend. You can download a chrome extension rather than using your phone as a timer! Brilliant.
- Lastly, at the end of the day ask yourself ‘Did I do my best to keep focused on what was important today?‘ Give yourself a score out of ten and keep a tally every day. If you didn’t get a high score, review and reflect what happened. Ask yourself what you can do differently tomorrow to ensure you do keep on track. Furthermore, make a plan and act on it. Finally, task done, you can reward yourself with a few minutes connecting with your mobile device. Using it as a reward is a great way to keep your usage in check and prevent wasting time on non-essential things!
Mandy Napier is a Global High Performance Mindset Coach who is dedicated to supporting high achievers fulfil their potential and achieve extraordinary results professionally and personally. Transformations are the norm, and results guarantee
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