4 Strategies to Sharpen Your Focus
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Boring tasks lead to distraction and procrastination and enduring them exacerbates the problem. By taking frequent breaks and doing physical activity, gives you the energy you need to maintain focus.
Work in fifteen-minute bursts. Set a timer and try to do as much as you can before it goes off. When time is up, do something physically active, then work for another fifteen minutes.
Trying to focus on something without moving tires the mind. In general, releasing excess energy throughout the day will help you stay on task.
When you need to pay attention during a call or meeting, bring a small object that you can play with, such as putty. Handling something that you can manipulate mindlessly while you listen frees up your mental energy so you can better focus.
Figure out how you learn best, then organize your workplace to play up your strengths and nullify or compensate for your weaknesses.
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The goal is not constant focus, but a short period of distraction-free time every day.
Twenty minutes a day of deep focus could be transformative.
Typically, we do mindless work first and build-up to the toughest tasks. That drains your energy and lowers your focus.
In order to focus effectively, reverse the order. Check off the tasks that require creativity or concentration first thing in the morning, and then move on to easier work.
We are truly focused for an average of only six hours per week. You want to be really diligent with what you put into those hours.
90 percent of people do their best thinking outside the office. Notice where and when you focus best, then allocate your toughest tasks for those moments.
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Two significant challenges are destroying our ability to focus.
Our biggest mistake is how we start the day. Instead of checking email on your phone, try a simple mindfulness practice when you wake up.
It can be quietly taking a few deep breaths or meditating for 20 to 30 minutes.
A common mistake is to fill your calendar with the wrong tasks.
A meeting can break your day into two pieces, each too small to do anything hard in.
Instead, take advantage of your body's natural rhythms. Focus on complex, creative tasks in the morning and schedule your meetings for the afternoon.
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... to read and respond to email. Don’t leave your email program open all day long. Alerts from incoming messages can interrupt your work flow. Instead, schedule specific blocks of time throughout the day for checking your email.
You might even try marking your calendar and setting your availability to “busy.” If necessary, turn off your cellphone and shut your office door to prevent interruptions.
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Find a place and schedule in which you will not be disturbed. Concentration and focus must be trained. Having a special time and space to do focused work, will train your brain to do it better.
To maximize productivity, prepare for deep work with deep breathing and visualizing your desired end state. Also, chunk work into 45-minute blocks and do some movement and yoga between those deep work sets.
The more successful you become, the more shiny opportunities offer themselves to you, but not all of them are good for you in the moment.
Always ask yourself, or the people around you, if the pros outweigh the cons by a large margin. If they don’t, refuse the opportunity as it will become a stressful commitment.
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Making a commitment to yourself helps keep you accountable.
Write your goals down, keep a to-do list with you, and create reminders on your phone and on your calendar.
If you’re a chronic procrastinator and simply can’t resist the temptations of things like Facebook and Youtube, it might be time to cut out temptations.
There are tools such as Rescue Time, SelfControl and Focus that will temporarily block access to distracting websites like Facebook. Less aggressive tools such as Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator and Distraction Free Youtube will allow you to have access to Facebook and Youtube but block the distracting parts of these websites (such as the newsfeed).
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Responding to emails as soon as you receive a notification gives others the impression that you’re at their beck and call. It also prevents you from reflecting on your own priorities for...
To avoid filling the email box of staff members, only CC the relevant parties. Ask your team to respond to you individually instead of using the reply-to-all button.
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The “two-minute rule” has two parts.
First, if something takes less than two minutes, do it now. Next, start building new habits for two minutes at a time. The rule for this is: When you start a new habit, it should take less than two minutes to do. The idea is to make your habits as easy to start as possible.
Think of these “two-minute habits” as gateway habits that will lead to your overarching goal.
It takes time to get into a rhythm to work on a task. Instead of constantly starting and stopping that process, it’s better to keep your rhythm going by bundling similar tasks together.
By doing this, you avoid interruptions and prevents himself from procrastinating.
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Make sure that you’re actually good at what you do.
Ask yourself if you’re willing to put in the hard work and if there is a market for you to tap into. Even if it’s just t...
Let’s say that your passion is playing the guitar. What void can you fill in that marketplace? For example, if you can repair guitars and realize that there isn’t a repair shop anywhere else around, that could be a business opportunity.
You also need to ask yourself how you can make the industry better.
Think of all the various ways that you can actually make money off your passion. This may include:
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Listening to the sounds of nature (waves crashing or a babbling brook) has been shown to boost moods and focus. They also help mask harsher, more distracting noises, such as people talking or typing
Nature sounds work best when they’re soothing sounds (flowing water or rainfall, while more jarring noises (bird calls and animal noises) can be distracting.
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Instead of relying on a tool with all the bells and whistles, find out where you’re struggling and what’s essential for you.
For example, if scheduling is taking you away from product development, then you could use a scheduling tool that uses machine learning to automate most of your scheduling needs. If you’re wasting too much time on email, then consider using a tool to help tame your inbox.
Time management is only useful when you’re aware of your limitations and don't let the system dictate your entire life.
In other words, when you don’t tread lightly (especially at first), time management can add more stress to your life.
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