I’m challenging you to read this short post without getting distracted.
Let’s talk about FOCUS.
Focus is your ability to pay attention on one thing and ignoring all distractions.
Lack of focus can derail you from achieving your goal. Instead of spending your energy on a single goal, you divide it into different tasks for different goals.
If you have 10 goals, you can only give 10% of your energy for each but if you focus on one goal, you have 100% energy to spend on it.
Age of Distraction
I‘m calling it The Age of Distraction because of the plethora of distractions brought about by technology.
Today’s devices were created for us to save time. Ironically, though, the more time we save, the more we get distracted.
In the early days, if we want to connect with others, we’d have to do it via snail mail which takes weeks or months. Today, with the click of a button, we can send a message to someone in a second! However… Even if we only want to connect with a particular person, we end up connecting with several others and/or scrolling on social media.
Let’s not blame technology alone, it’s still up to you and me to know how to FOCUS.
How to Focus
1. Identify all distractions
Know what’s keeping you from focusing. Is it your phone notifications or talkative teammate?
2. Get rid of distractions
When your phone beeps, there’s this tendency to check what it’s all about. There’s a need to be constantly updated for fear of missing out on the latest social media trend.
3. Write a weekly and daily to-do list
A to-do list keeps you focused on what you should be doing now. If you don’t have one, you can end up doing anything that pops into your head.
People advise to eat the frog or do the hardest thing on your list, personally, I like doing the easiest. Based on my experience, doing the hardest thing can take up too much time. After tackling that task, I have minimal time left for the easy tasks, and if I do, I’ll be too drained to work on them. At least when I start with the easy tasks, I can cross out multiple to-dos before I can work on that one hard task.
4. Don’t multi-task
Multi-tasking saves time, but not energy. The more things you do, the more energy you have to spend. If you’re writing a report and took a minute to respond to an instant message, even after you’ve switched back to writing your report, it’ll still take you a few minutes to get back on track.
5. Write down thought pop ups
Have you ever experienced working on something when you suddenly thought of another thing? Maybe you were reading an article when a word reminded you of your grade school friend. “How is she? I don’t think we’re friends on Facebook, but let me check”; then you do a quick Facebook search to confirm — this is what I like to call “thought pop ups.”
When you have thought pop ups, you don’t have to act on them at once. Write them down and go back to it later after you’re done with your task. If it’s a petty thought pop up, ignore them completely!
6. Clear your workspace
A clutter desk is a cluttered mind, and it’s true! When you see too many things on your desk, you tend to get distracted. Remove all the unnecessary things on your desk and keep the essentials.
7. Take a break
Don’t exhaust yourself! Take a break from time to time. You can try the pomodoro technique to keep you focused. The pomodoro technique is broken into 25-minute and 5-minute chunks: You focus on your work for 25 minutes then take a break for 5 minutes. I use the Google Chrome extension Marinara Pomodoro Assistant.