In the current climate of social media distractions and too many 'things to do' a recent survey from Mircosoft has found that humans are now even less focussed than the average Goldfish with an attention span of less than 8 seconds!
Bearing this in mind, it's amazing we actually ever get anything done, so here is my take on Focus and how we can train our brains to build our focus and be more productive when it comes to tasks which need our Focus
There are 3 main steps to better focus and being more productive in the valuable time we have.
1) Spend time to Prepare
Whatever it is we wish to focus on, the first step is to be in the right frame of mind and set the right environment.
Simple preparation could include preparing our bodies and minds by having a 2 minute breathing session - or a cup of something warm and yummy - after the morning rush and before we actually sit down to 'do'. It is also important to plan our environment, for example by having a comfy chair, a tidy desk and the temperature at a comfortable level.
It is also worth preparing our calendar, so we know how long we have and do our best to make sure nothing will interrupt us.
2) Plan Your Focus Session
It is important to understand what, exactly, to focus on during the allocated time slot? What is the aim and how will we know when we've been successful? Setting a mini-goal for what we want to achieve in the next hour, for example, is always a great way to help focus the mind.
It is also worth thinking about what is worthy of our distraction? For example, getting distracted by a call from the school saying the kids are sick is a worthy distraction and - although annoying - isn't something we can ignore.
But social media notifications or e-mails pinging in the background could be a distraction which would pull us off course and lose focus unnecessarily, therefore think about whether turning off phones and wifi could be an option for an allocated amount of time.
3) Build in Regular Breaks
Instead of succumbing to distraction build in plenty of breaks. If we have an alarm clock at the ready to give ourselves 10 minutes every hour to deal with all the distractions of everyday life before returning to an uninterrupted focus session, we will feel less of a desire to constantly check what's happening during the time we are supposed to be focussing on our goals.
Booking time out in our daily diary specifically to focus on our goal - along with scheduled breaks or short intervals of time to do other tasks - can also help us mentally focus on the job in hand rather than get booked up by others or get distracted by other tasks.
These 3 simple steps, despite being straightforward and - let's face it - pretty obvious, are incredibly hard to actually do. It takes dedication to get into the habit of actually planning and allocating specific timeslots to simply focus on one thing. However, once we've done it once or twice we realise just how effective it can be and how much easier it makes actually getting results.
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With thanks to Dominique-Alana Photography for the image.