In our lives today, we are busier than ever before. We think technology has streamlined many tasks but instead, we are given more tools that give us more and more to do with less time to do it. We are stressed and overwhelmed.
We have been led to believe that if we don’t multitask every minute of our day, we will not be productive. This can’t be farther from the truth. Successful people have long realized that focus is the key to being productive.
Most of what we say and do is not essential. If you can eliminate it, you’ll have more time, and more tranquility. Ask yourself at every moment, ‘Is this necessary?’ ~Marcus Aurelius
Increasing your focus means you should get up each day, looking forward to what you can achieve. Being focused means you are making progress towards what is most important to you. You will feel a greater sense of productivity and fulfillment.
Why focus is important
Why is being focused so important in today’s world? What results happen when you are focused? Does being focused make you less stress? Happier? If it’s so important, why don’t people focus more?
Being focused on one thing for a certain period of time allows you to do a better quality of work, more work gets done quicker, and your creative ideas flow easier. Being focused on one task at a time is less stressful on your mind. And being less stressed allows you being happier.
Multitasking is overrated
If you’re like many people you spend most days multitasking. You’re probably so used to multitasking that you don’t even realize when you’re doing it. After all, it’s a skill many employers look for in their employees. Many people believe multitasking saves them time. There are many reasons why multitasking is bad. It’s better to focus instead though. Focusing lets you concentrate on one task or thought at a time, helping you create a better result for each task.
Why is multitasking bad?
You have to switch from task to task. This takes time for your mind to change into the right mindset for the new task. You have to take the time to remember where you left off.
Multitasking makes it difficult to focus entirely on each task you are doing. You are thinking about emails you have to respond to when working on your marketing strategy and the phone calls you need to return even while you are thinking about the next task on your to-do list. This type of working environment doesn’t do anything but cause you stress. Instead of multitasking among several tasks, you should prioritize your tasks and break them up into workable time chunks.
Tips to improve focus
Maybe you want to focus on a single task but find yourself easily distracted. You find it difficult to focus on what you are doing because you find your mind wandering, you’re worrying about everything or maybe you just have way too many things you need to do to make a choice of just one task to start with.
Here are some valuable tips on how to improve focus.
Listen to music to help improve your focus. Really concentrate on the music. Try to focus on a single instrument.
Cut goals into small targets.
Having an end goal in mind while working on the tasks to achieve it can frustrate you because you target goal might be too big or difficult. Your results won’t be quick, and it may seem like you aren’t getting any closer to the end. Instead of working toward the ultimate end goal, break it down into smaller, more achievable goals you can reach within a few days. Then cross each smaller goal off your list as you achieve it.
Work within your body’s most comfortable time period. Maybe you work best early in the morning before sunrise. Or late at night. Work when you are most productive. For example, many authors get up early to do their writing, while artists often do their best work late at night.
Have you ever eaten a big meal for lunch when working only to feel lethargic and weighed down all afternoon? Eating a heavy meal slows you down and makes you sleepy. If you need or want to, you can go on a small juice fast on a regular basis. It will keep you alert and help keep your body in good physical condition.
Exercise your mind and body every day. Do crossword puzzles. Engage in lively discussions. Build something that’s creative. A simple 30 minute walk every day is all you need to keep your body healthy.
You may need to push yourself some when you’re feeling lazy. If you are hitting a mental roadblock, though, take some time away from the task. Do something else until you can regain your focus on the original task.
Learning to improve you focus will take time but it is worth it. Begin by implementing one or two of these tips into your day to begin changing how well you can become focused.
The strategies for becoming more focused are endless. Make lists. Remove distractions. Set up your ideal environment. You need to find what works best for your style of working.
You can increase your productivity and accomplish more in less time by using a technique called applied focus. Applied focus can help you avoid the little distractions that can derail your efforts at productivity.
How applied focus increases productivity
Applied focus is a strategy that helps you multiply your productivity. Each session is 45 minutes long, with a 15 minutes shift in focus. Or you can do 90 minutes followed by 30 minutes shift in focus. In other words, you stop focusing intentionally on your task and do something completely different in the shift focus period. During the focused session, though, you don’t allow anything to distract you (except a dire emergency). Phone calls are out, email is off, texting and Facebook are off limits.
Here are some guidelines (be sure to adjust them as necessary to fit your individual situation):
- Open only one browser or application window at a time. So if you’re writing a blog post, only your word processor or text pad is open.
- Keep your sessions timed. Don’t go past your 45 or 90 minute session, no matter how focused you are. You need the break.
- Get away from your task. Get up from your desk, walk around, get a drink or snack. Give your mind a break.
- Be prepared ahead of time. Do your research during a different applied focus session then from the writing session. That way you’re able to concentrate on the writing alone.
- Have a session set up for email, telephone and social media time.
Applied focus sessions can increase your productivity but it will take some getting used to. Start slowly by scheduling one or two sessions a day. Once you become used to the routine, you will notice an improvement in your concentration and productivity.
Learning how to focus on one task at a time takes time and commitment. In our busy lives we are pulled in many directions at one time. It’s best to begin your journey on a more focused life gradually by implementing the tips and strategies found within this blog.
Putting aside your tendency to multitask will improve your productivity as well, since you will be able to finish one task before you move on.