Conferences, meetings, and the never-ending email chains – all crave our time and attention.
It’s rather surprising that our brains were designed this way, to get distracted easily! You see, distraction tells our brain that it has to shift its focus in that instant. As if something dangerous might be coming along, thus, SNAP and our focus shifts..! This reaction of the brain is automatic. And it is next to impossible to change that mechanism that mother nature was kind enough to give us. We can’t afford our focus to go out of the window. That’s why we need to learn more about brain power, and its capacity. We also can improve the distribution of its forces and increase our productivity.
If you think that multitasking is a good idea, then also keep in mind that it reduces mental capacity and focus. We make silly mistakes, we get stuck on things, we miss signals and freak out where we shouldn’t. Moreover, the more tasks we are struggling with, the more we feel an emotional burnout. So, the goal here is to learn to concentrate on one task for at least for 25 minutes without distractions.
Don’t know about you, fellow HavingTimer, but I get distracted easily. My mind reminds me of that bumble bee that never stops buzzing flying from one flower to another. That is why I would sometimes struggle to complete something within the time frame that I set to myself. To summarize, try these 4 tips to help you stay more focused and productive.
The Power of Focus: 4 Useful Tricks You Should Try
1. Creative Part of The Task Should Go First
Before we get to more advanced tasks we get caught up with the simple ones… And that drains our energy supply and reduces our vital focus. As a result, an hour later we have less capability to perform to the fullest extent than at the beginning of the day. Each completed task drains our brain capacity.
To work more effectively, try to perform your tasks in the opposite direction. Start with most difficult ones that need most of your attention. Then move on to simpler tasks that you can do almost without thinking (scheduling, checking your daily mail, etc.).
2. Find Your Peak Performance Time
Many people have better focus either early in the morning or later in the evening. Think about the most productive time of the day when your performance is at its best. Identify that most productive time of the day. Then plan your schedule handling challenging tasks swiftly during that opportune window. Reduce distractions and stay on that important task during your peak performance. Measure time that you spend on that task until your first distraction. Then keep increasing the time spent on most important tasks every day.
3. Train Your Mind as If It Was a Muscle and Measure Your Time Spent On Tasks Consciously
When multitasking becomes a norm, the brain quickly adapts to it. Yes, we lose the ability to focus and being constantly distracted might turn into a habit. So, we have to train our minds with the same dedication as we train our muscles at the gym.
So let’s turn off the unnecessary distractions and focus on a single task. On step at a time. Let’s start with something simple. Let’s try for 10 minutes to focus on one task that you know needs to be finished today. Then let’s increase this time of concentration on a task gradually. If it comes to your attention that your mind starts to wander off – gain your awareness and ground it by returning to your task immediately. At first, this could be tricky but you will get better at it.
4. Focus on Things That You Can Control
We have our worries and they bring distractions reducing our focus. Some of those worries are about the things that are within our control. And those things have to get done and solved. With worries that can get managed, write them down and break them up into actions. Then focus on those actions. When you list your worries with actions attached – your mind receives a signal that those worries are being dealt with. Hence, the overwhelming feeling like everything spans pout of control dissipates.
Often times we worry about things that we can’t control. And those things steal our focus without bringing any feeling of being able to do anything about them. Never spend your precious brain capacity and focus on things that are not within your control. Identify those things and tell yourself that you cannot do anything about them. Instead, you will concentrate on something else that is within your control.
Remember, always concentrate on things that you can control.
Photo by Margarita Kareva