It’s been said that one of the biggest challenges that we face today is the ability to stay focused.
In today’s fast-paced, technology-filled world where information is coming at us from all sides, our senses are constantly working overtime to process everything. Staying focused, in many ways, has never been more difficult.
But as we all know, focus is important—no matter how elusive it might be. It’s the only way to get things done, to be productive, and to move forward—both in our personal lives and careers as well. And if you’re hoping to accomplish an important task, being able to give it your undivided attention is a must!
If you are looking to be more productive, then working to improve your focus is the first place to start. Let’s take a look at six things you can do that will help you with being focused, motivated, and on-track for success!
1. Eliminate Distractions
Perhaps the biggest problem that we have when it comes to staying focused is the distractions that present themselves. While it isn’t possible to completely banish all disruptions, it is possible and necessary to eliminate the distractions that you can. Try to create a distraction-free zone where you can go when you need to get things done. This could mean carving out a space in your home, where you retreat to finish up important tasks—or claiming a cozy corner of the coffee shop. Whatever it takes for you to stay focused and reduce interruptions!
2. Focus on One Thing
Multitasking is often seen as a good thing, but studies have shown that it can end up costing valuable time. We all know that sometimes multitasking is necessary, but oftentimes, we simply multitask because it feels good. “Your brain’s reward circuit lights up when you multitask,” says David Rock, co-founder of the NeurLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work. Constantly switching from one task to another requires our brain to repeatedly readjust and concentrate. The result is lost time. Instead of attempting to do everything at once, take time to focus—especially on those projects that demand your full attention.
3. Train Your Mind
When we multitask, it trains our brain to lose the ability to focus. But the good news is that like a muscle, your mind can be retrained to concentrate again. Practice focusing by eliminating distractions and committing to a single task. Start small, just a few minutes at a time, and gradually work up to larger chunks of time. If you find your mind wandering, redirect it to the task at hand. As David Rock says, “It’s just like getting fit. You have to build the muscle to be focused.”
4. Make a List
Making to-do lists or jotting things down in a day planner is a tried and proven way of staying on-track and focused. Lists can help you to track your progress, and can improve your productivity as well. They’ll also free up your mind to focus on the task at hand. Instead of constantly having to remind yourself of upcoming projects—you’ll be able to see, at a glance, exactly what you have to do.
5. Declutter Your Space
Decluttering your space can improve concentration as well. If your desk and office space is clear, you’ll be able to think more clearly and will be less distracted by things that are in your line of sight—helping you to focus and be more productive.
6. Take Care of Yourself
Don’t forget about your health! Taking care of yourself can promote brain health which can improve your focus and enable you to get your work done. Sleep, diet, and exercise all play an important role in your ability to focus. If you are tired or hungry, your mind will be less willing to cooperate. Eating healthily will help to increase your energy, while exercising of course offers a number of benefits—including sharpened focus. According to Dr. John Ratey, author of Spark – The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, exercise can raise focus for two to three hours afterward. Adequate sleep is also important and necessary for focus.
While we all want to fit as much as possible into the day, it’s important to recognize that productivity is the result of carefully managing time, focus, and energy—and not about desperately fitting as much as possible in. By using the above tips and techniques; you’ll be able to focus more clearly which, in turn, will improve your productivity. Finally, keep in mind that there’s nothing that can help improve productivity quite like motivation. When you’re passionate about your work, it shows, and you’ll find that focus and productivity will come naturally as well.
How do you focus? What distractions are you working to eliminate? Let us know in the comments below!
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