In order to develop the ability to stay focused, it is important to know what it is and why is it important. Focus forms an impeccable part of our lives without which success is impossible. Be it working on a large important project or appearing for an examination at your university, being focused can work wonders. It not only helps us perform an activity, but also enjoy the entirety of the process.
The Importance of Staying Focused
What Does It Mean?
The concept of staying focused is to have a clear idea of your objectives and goals while working dedicatedly towards achieving them. Being focused in the moment allows you to center all your attention and concentration on one activity that you are trying to complete. You tend to keep all other unimportant chores aside and focus your undivided attention on the task. Only in this state you can reach flow and maximum productivity.
The ability to remain focused is one of the most important qualities that must be possessed by a person. Nevertheless, people often tend to lack the absolute power of concentration. The best way to attain complete focus is to train your mind for the cause. Being focused helps you on several levels. It allows you control your thoughts, improves your memory and the ability to study, gain inner peace, strengthen your intuition and to work more efficiently.
The Difficulties of Being Focused
There are times when we find it difficult to focus on a certain task. For one, we live in a world congested with information and input. The next great distraction is just a tap of your finger away. With so much happening around us, it becomes quite difficult to remain focused on a task and not get distracted. Technology has definitely helped improve human productivity, but has, ironically become one of the greatest hindrances as well. Further, we live an a world full of opportunities. Never in history, we had more options for how to live our life, what projects to pursue and what hobbies to live.
Ways to Stay Focused in a World of Distractions
In order to be productive you need to organize your mind, your environment and your systems in a simple manner that support your focus. Here is how.
Plan Out Your Day the Previous Night
Prior planning is extremely important when it comes to focusing on your task for a day. A few basic decisions can work wonders. What are your immediate tasks for tomorrow? Which task would you tend to the first thing you begin working the next day? It is easier to concentrate and focus on a task when you have it sorted on a prior basis. This is like setting a budget when you spend money. You can decide on a budget in the beginning of the month and stick to it right till the end so that you have a handsome amount of savings left.
Tend to the Most Important and Difficult Things First
Be at office or otherwise, certain things are bound to be more difficult than the rest. Nevertheless, fretting these tasks will not help in the long run. Difficult works are evidently not going to become easier with time. However, performing these tasks right when you enter the office will give you a boost in motivation and productivity. For many people, the brain is at its sharpest during the early hours of the day. This works as an added benefit when it comes to tackling difficult jobs. Related to this is an easy to implement princible: Do not make checking your inbox the first thing you do in the morning. Get something important of your list or do something for your health and wellbeing.
Keep everything, which is not relevant today out of sight.
The key to absolute focus is to keep all irrelevant things out of sight. Things that are not important are usually a cause of distraction during work hours. There are situations that need your immediate attention, while there are ones that do not. Stop fiddling with your cellphone every 10 minutes when you are in the middle of a project or refrain from talking to your colleagues while performing an urgent task. This will help you retain your focus on the work alone. Eliminate distractions to ensure that you have higher productivity.
Organize your next actions for minimal mental distraction.
Beyond the imediate task, organize your to-dos and next actions in a system you trust. Get the stuff off your mind so that your mind can focus on what you are doing and does not have to remember and think about all the things you might be wanting to do in the future. Build a systems for your tasks that only shows you your agenda for today and organizes everything else in a simple manner. A tickler file for example offers you daily folders to get organized in the short and mid-term and monthly folders for simplified the long-term planning.
Remind Yourself of Your Goals
Creating a vision is important. It acts as daily reminder of what you are working towards and what you wish to achieve. Apart from this, knowing the reason behind those set goals is even a greater motivator. It is essential to have a clear vision and focus on achieving the best of results.
The Inversion Technique
In most cases, we are busy wondering about ways in which we can become more productive throughout the day. We waste valuable time researching rather than acting at the right time. Inversion can be a great way to get out of this. Inversion is a mental model with the ability to think backwards. Since negative thoughts arise more easily to human beings, figuring out things that can distract you from work somehow becomes the best way to eliminate them. Once you figure out the reasons, you can avoid them successfully.
Keep Up and Regenerate Your Energy
If your feel your energy fading in between your work sessions, take a quick short break to refresh your mind. Working for a long stretch of time can break your focus and make you feel lethargic. Usually after a short break you tend to come back with a lot more vigour and a much sharper mental focus. Brief retreats from work also give you enough time to regenerate and refresh your mind.
To sum it up
Focus and concentration are the driving forces behind the success of an individual. However, it cannot be acquired over night and requires proper training of your mind and systems to organize yourself. In a world of distractions, a focused mind can always keep you afloat.