With so many distractions vying for our attention, it’s not easy to stay focused on the task at hand, let alone the bigger picture. The temptation to multitask or drift off to another topic can be enormous some days. But if we want to achieve our goals then we need to be able to stay focused on them.
The following tips will help you to not only get focused but be able to stay on track.
Having the ability to see distractions for what they are and the precious commodity of time is the first step in appreciating the need for focus. As the adage goes ‘we can’t change what we don’t acknowledge’. Make a note of the distractions you deal with each day.
2. Block the distractions
If your list of distractions includes emails, telephone calls and other interruptions, schedule a time to deal directly with them. Rather than allowing your emails and telephone to bing and ping constantly, set aside time to address them directly and close them when you are concentrating. The same rule applies when your staff constantly wander in to your office. Let them know that your office door closed means that you are focused and you should not be interrupted unless it is vital. When you have completed a task, open your office door letting them know they are welcome. You’ll be surprised at how quickly other team members will adjust.
3. Take a break
Neuroscience research tells us that the brain concentrates best in increments of less than twenty minutes. Once we pass that time our ability to really concentrate is drastically reduced. Make a point of taking even a very short break regularly and then bringing your focus back to the task at hand. This also applies when you are training others, don’t expect them to listen with full attention when you are pushing the same topic without any sort of mix up or break for long periods of time, the mind simply can’t stay on track.
4. Make it a habit
Like most things we do, repetition will soon set the pace. The more you practise focusing, the easier it will become, it’s as simple as that. Begin with short increments of time; focus for 10 minutes, then increase it to 15 minutes, etc. until you are spending most of your time in focused chunks of time. Once you are used to being focused you will see distractions clearly for what they are… productivity interrupters!
5. Begin on the right foot
If you want to be focused then you need to start the day right. Begin with a 15-30 minute session focused on your plans for the day. Again, it doesn’t take long for this to become a habit and by having a daily to-do list that you review and revise each morning, you will soon see how well you are accomplishing your daily goals and managing your time.
All of the above tips will help you to focus and remain focused, but if they’re not implemented then it is all just theory. You have to concentrate and make it happen!