Focusing can be hard, and to be honest each person has their own way of achieving it. The primary reason for that is because what distracts you may not distract me. However, below are 5 tips to help you increase your focus. These 5 things distract just about everybody – so they should be helpful for you.
If you implement these in your life you’re going to find you can get more done in less time.
There are a couple posts you need to read, if you haven’t already, before starting into this one. They are the foundation of this post.
PUT THE BLINDERS ON
Just like that horse, we need to put the blinders on sometimes! You might remember from this post that the reason they put the blinders on the horses is because it helps them focus. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:
Many racehorse trainers believe these keep the horse focused on what is in front of him, encouraging him to pay attention to the race rather than other distractions, such as crowds.
Well, it can work the same for us! However, don’t go out looking for actual blinders to wear. Take your hands, place them on the sides of your face, and use them as blinders. Do this while you’re reading – you’ll notice a ridiculous improvement on focus, comprehension, and retention!
So remember, there are times you need to put those blinders on!
Lyric-free music can be a good way of focusing. I personally have downloaded the entire album called Perfect Blue by Sungha Jung – in fact I’m listening to it right now. It’s 100% lyric-free acoustic music. He covers songs like Billie Jean and Livin’ On a Prayer! The reason this seems to work so well is because there is nothing really bidding for your attention and the music itself actually gets you into a groove.
One other thing it tends to do is make it easier to move from task to task. Generally speaking I think this is because you have a rhythm that you can keep – something to keep you at a steady pace.
Also, if you find any other great albums – add them to the comments for me!
TURN OFF THOSE NOTIFICATIONS
We get notifications from everywhere these days! Facebook, Twitter, email, IM, and just about any other application you can think of on your machine. However, these are production killers! Every notification takes you away from something you were focusing on and now if you want to get back to it you’ll need to refocus. This could cost you a lot of valuable time.
Instead, go into Outlook and turn off the notifications, log out of Facebook and Twitter, and turn off the notifications from your IM client. I know – it feels like you’re dying right now doesn’t it? Like you’ve lost all contact with the outside world! Well, at some level, that’s exactly what we’re trying to do. Having all of those notifications literally means you’re interrupted every few seconds sometimes. This goes against everything when it comes to getting your focus on.
TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONE
- Place it on vibrate or silent during focus time.
- Turn off notifications.
- Turn it upside down.
Now, I’m sure there are a lot more, so place them in the comments if you can think of them, but that was the top 3 I came up with!
If you can do all three of those things you’re going to be successful in keeping that cell phone from being a distraction!
PLAN YOUR DAY
This is a huge one! Planning eliminates confusion. My pastor once told me that I should sit down every night and write down all the things I need to do for the next day – and if I do it – it works! Listen, planning is above all the most important. If you will sit down and spend 15 minutes planning the list of tasks you need to perform you will perform them with greater efficiency.
Primarily because you don’t have to remember them anymore. But secondly because they are listed in order. It’s something you can work from. You can grab an item off the list, moving top to bottom, and you can just get them done. You don’t have to try and prioritize them on the fly or remember something in between – you already took that time up front.
Sure, it may take 30 minutes, or even an hour, but that time is much less than what would have been needed to manage distractions and confusion. Believe me, if you implement this one you will be much more productive!
I hope this post has been as helpful to you as it was to me writing it. Don’t forget to leave me your feedback – your thoughts – in the comments below. And if you liked what you read, go ahead and hit Like, Tweet it if you want, and you can even G+ it for your friends to read too!
Small successes, consistently, and daily, lead to huge accomplishments.