Focus, Focus, Focus

Distractions can be such a drain on productivity. They tend to arise when your focus drifts a little and, if you are not careful, before you know it hours disappear and you are left wondering why you haven’t done what you set out to do.

After succumbing to distractions too many times I decided to work out a technique to help me thwart them in an instant. Check it out below.

Step 1. Write down all of your distractions

Identifying what distracts you can be very empowering and there is no better way to do it than to write them down when they arise. Distractions come in many forms; it could be cleaning the house, washing the car, watching TV, scrolling through your Facebook feed, etc…distractions can even be thoughts. Letting your mind wonder, day dreaming and general procrastination are all forms of distractions that we let get in the road of what we really want to achieve.

Next time you feel the pull of a distraction, take out a note pad and start writing. Firstly, write down what is distracting you. Next, write down how this distraction is going to help you achieve what your goal is. Write down how this distraction is going to help you in the short, medium and long term.

This exercise will only take a few minutes, but its power lies in the clarity it gives you.

Another exercise you can do is to write down all of the things that have distracted you in the past. By spending the time to do this properly you will identify the key distractions in your life. By identifying your distractions you are more likely to recognise them when they next arise. You can also write down the times of the day, or particular circumstances that each distraction arises.

With this knowledge in hand you are in a much stronger position to deal with distractions as you can strategise and prepare your mind to deal with them when they pop up. It can also help you decide the best time and location to do a particular task – one where distractions will be at a minimum.

Step 2. Understand that focus is power

Focus is power. Let me say that again…Focus is power.

You cannot stop a mind that is intensely focused from doing what it wants to do. Being able to say to say ‘I’m doing this and nothing else, nobody is going to stop me, and nothing will get in my way’ is real power.

Successful people focus on what they want and nothing else. That is where they get their power from, and it is what they do every day.

Step 3. One thing at a time

Despite all that is said about multi-tasking, the brain can really only focus on one task at a time. If you are doing a number of tasks at once, neither task is actually getting the true focus it deserves.

Commit to focusing on one task at a time and commit fully.

There is power in focus, but there is even more power in focusing on one thing at a time.

Step 4. Give your full unbroken attention to that one thing

Yes, it can be hard to focus, but if you are going to focus then commit to giving that one task your undivided attention.

If you are willing to spend you time on something, then it should be worth doing. And, as the old adage goes, ‘If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well’.

Understand that this may be difficult at the beginning, but the more you practice the easy it will be to give each task your utmost attention.

If you are like me then it’s likely that you want to achieve real success in your life. Take the long term view here and think about what your life will be like if you give each task your undivided attention. Think about one week ahead, one month, one year, five years…even 10 years ahead. Imagine the difference in the quality of your life if you start to give the important tasks in your life your undivided attention.

You will begin to see the benefits immediately, project that forward a few years and difference in your life will be unfathomable.

Get off Facebook, turn the notifications off, leave your email alone…focus on the task at hand and give it everything you have.

Step 5. Accept that you cannot focus all day long

The mind cannot focus all day long. Understand this and apply it to your life.

Set you day up into blocks of 30 minutes to one hour long. Structure your day to suit your life.

For example, setting you day into six blocks of 40 minute periods where you focus on only one task will be much more productive and easy to do than wanting to work all day long.

Give your mind regular breaks. Meditate, listen to soothing music, do brain exercises…whatever suits you. The key is to understand how your mind works, and use it, care for it and you will reap the benefits. 

Understand that your focused time is more important than anything else. Do not pick up the phone, do not let distractions get in the way.

Once you apply this to your daily life you will see results quicker than you could have imagined. Be strict with yourself, this is important, this is the difference between succeeding or failing.

Your brain is much smarter than you think it is. If you focus on a task with your undivided attention, your brain will implicitly know that the task is important and will set about giving you all the resources it can to achieve the task at hand.

What if I fail you ask? Everything. Nothing big is ever achieved without some failure along the way. Learn from it and move on. It’s okay to fail, it’s okay not to achieve at the level you want to.

Dedicate yourself to learning how to have real focus, learning how to focus on one task at a time and learning how to make failure a key path on your road to success.

Do this and you will become unstoppable.