The ability to focus is a skill. How in the world do people stay on task with anything these days? It's scary how easily we are distracted. A random thought or noise and off we go into a world unrelated to our priorities. As an entrepreneur, staying focused is crucial to my productivity. If I'm not careful, hours can easily pass me by with the spark of the slightest distraction. (I'm also a huge scaredy-cat. If I hear a noise, I either believe spirits are in my presence or someone is trying to kill me.) Nevertheless, learning ways to stay on task is a vital skill that I aim to master each and every day.
WHY IS IT SO HARD TO STAY FOCUSED
It's the way our brains are programmed. It's how we tune-in to novelty. We need to be aware of when something changes or is out of the ordinary in our surroundings. There's no telling your brain not to pay attention to distractions no matter how minute it is. You can try, but it's like putting cookies in front of a 5 year-old and telling him not to eat it. Good luck.
WHY IS STAYING FOCUSED SO IMPORTANT?
If you're reading this, you probably understand that if you could stay focused then you can get more of what you want to do (or need to do) done. But here's a reason you may not have thought about.
Self-control and decision making require a lot of energy. Although these aren't physical tasks, they require an abundance of mental resources to be carried out successfully. When you're switching from task to task, you're draining your mental resources. When it comes time to focus, you find that you're less patient, more irritable, and can't remember things as well. Not only aren't you able to get a substantial amount of work done, your personal life suffers as well. Once you get home exhausted and drained, providing your undivided attention to those you love is out of the question. You simply don't have the energy for it. You do what you need to do to get by, but your heart isn't in it, and it shows.
HOW TO STAY FOCUSED
Like I said before, you can’t tell your brain not to notice distractions. You can’t choose to only be distracted when it benefits you. Like if a spirit was in the room or someone was actually trying to kill you. The answer is easy:
Like most things, it’s easier said than done. Don’t fret, here are
4 SIMPLE WAYS TO FOCUS WHEN YOU NEED TO BE PRODUCTIVE:
1. Take care of your personal needs: Go pee, grab something to eat, bring a glass of water to the party, make sure you're in comfortable clothes. When our basic needs aren't met, it's pretty hard to ignore them even when you're deep in a project. You never want to break the zone once you're in it, so be mindful of what you need ahead of time.
2. Clear your area: You may think a cluttered room is doing you no harm but sadly my dear, you're wrong. The anxiety that's slowly building up because you know you need to tidy up the living room, hinders your creativity, critical thinking skills and the ability to relax.
If it's a small mess (clothes on the floor, dishes on the counter) take a couple of minutes to straighten up. If the mess is too large and will take more than 15 minutes to clean, you may just need a professional organizer ( call me). 3rd option, you can take 2 minutes and gather everything to one area and commit to cleaning-up after your productive period is over. Miraculously, this settles the mind because you've made a decision and committed to it by taking the first step
3. Turn off communications devices AKA your cell phone (because who has a house phone or a pager anymore): If I had it my way, we would all go back to the days where we had house phones, answer machines, and people didn't expect to hear from you for another day or two. Unfortunately, I don't rule the world, so all cell phones are safe for now. But make no mistake, they are your enemy when trying to complete a task that requires deep thought or stepping into a flow or rhythm. Do yourself a favor. Silence your device. Set a timer for an hour and place your phone out of sight. You'll thank me later. You're Welcome.
4. Manage What You Focus On:
This is all about mindfulness. If you're past the age of teenage brain and you consider yourself a real adult then listen up. Being aware of where your thoughts go is important to staying focused. Once we go down a path of something that's negative or unproductive it's really hard to get back. The longer you take to say, Come back andRefocus, the more likely you will find yourself 5 pages deep on Instagram not remembering what you've been doing for the past 30 minutes. As soon as you notice you're getting off track take hold of your thoughts and remind yourself of what's important. This does take practice but it's totally worth it.
Taking control of how you spend your time gives you freedom over your life. Don't ever take your freedom for granted.
***If you live in the Atlanta area and are interested in getting your home organized I invite you to contact me.
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