One of the keys to doing great work is to know when to take a break. When you start to feel distracted, take a break, and then reassess and refocus yourself. It doesn't just act as a reward--a short break can help your mind become clearer.
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Distractions can be internal as well as external, so start by looking within. If you're all over the place, ask yourself
This is a simple thing, but the rewards are great if you can pull it off:
You're literally giving yourself time and energy.
If you're working on a complex task, it takes an average of 90 minutes to accomplish anything worthwhile--and about 30 minutes just to get your mind on the task.
Once you are in the flow, set a concentrated period of time--and when the time runs out, stop. It's easier to stay focused when you have an end in sight.
Some of the biggest sources of distraction come from email, social media, and cell phones. If you want real focus, take yourself offline until you've accomplished what you need to do.
Once you have your internal priorities sorted out, look at more external causes.
When you can identify the cause, you can fix the effect.
If your office or workspace is dirty, disorganized, or cluttered, invest some time in clearing it out so you can focus.
All successful leaders are great planners; they make lists for every major and minor objective.
When a task comes your way
There is a saying that every 10 minutes you spend on planning saves an hour in execution.
Especially when distractions are high, make tasks smaller and break down your large projects into smaller tasks to help you concentrate and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
One of the best ways to tune everything out is to tune in to music. When everything around you is distracting, put on your headphones--find something that can serve as background music rather than music that holds your full attention. Music can help you concentrate, and the headphones signal others that you're not available to chat.
Have you ever heard someone say, "I wish I had that kind of willpower ," when her friend orders the salad instead of the chicken? It's as if they are convinced some people were born with self control . But self discipline is a learned skill, not an innate characteristic.
There's no evidence that increased leisure time equates to increased self-discipline. In fact, it doesn't matter how much time you have but what you choose to do with your time, matters.
Similar to building physical muscle, your mental muscle requires intentional exercise. Over time, your self-discipline muscles can be built.
The brain has an amazing way of connecting dots and ensuring we make the best use of all the knowledge we have.
When you are out of ideas, expand your range of knowledge by speaking with others and reading extensively on other topics.
This way, you give your brain more dots to connect and are more likely to come up with an idea.
You have an estimated 70,000 thoughts per day. That's 70,000 chances to build yourself up or tear yourself down.
If you call yourself names, doubt your abilities and second-guess your decisions, you'll harm your performance (and most likely you'll also be risking your physical and psychological health). But the good news is, you can change the way you think.
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