Staying focused has been a challenge for me and it does not help that there are so many interesting things to read on the Internet 24 hours a day. I love learning new things and new ideas thrill me so much I want to instantly start working on them. But, this mindset does not yield very good results when your mind is all over the place. At some point, we have to make a conscious effort to focus on the task at hand. Here are a few ways I have been increasing my ability to focus:
Set up the right environment. I have a few favorite spots in my home I like to sit down and write. If my children are occupying my writing desk to do homework or my favorite chair, I try to recreate a space of comfort. I have a favorite shawl I like to wear and I usually have a cup of water or tea near by. As a mother, I have perfected the art of tune out, so I can block out most sounds around me at home. If it is really noisy, I will put on some headphones and listen to music while I write.
Only work on what is in front of you. Meaning, close the email and all your social media platforms. Cut off all distracting notifications on your phone. The only notifications I have set on my phone is text messages and low battery. If someone sends me a text, the message can wait to be read. If it is really important, family and friends know to call. By removing these distractions, I have created an ideal workspace for taking care of what I need to.
Schedule time to complete the task. I did not realize until recently how important it is to schedule time to write and workout. My day can easily become full of other people’s priorities very quickly. Since I have started writing down the days I will exercise and the time, I can stick to the schedule a lot easier. When it comes to writing, I am developing the discipline to write whether I feel like it or not, because I set the time aside to do just that. We have to put ourselves and the things we say are important to us on our calendars and treat them as important priorities.
Break the tasks down into doable pieces. It is easier to focus on a project or task when you break it down into smaller pieces. Everything does not have to be done in one sitting. If you are writing, get the first draft out and move on. If you are exercising, work on one body grouping instead of trying to do a full-body workout. Doing a half-ass job is as good as not doing the work at all, so break it down so you will be successful.
Finally, show yourself some grace as you develop your focus. It takes effort and making focus a priority to increase it. I fall off the bandwagon sometimes and lose my focus just like everyone else, but I know what I want to accomplish and how. That helps me to stay focused. It also helps to write down your projects or what you are working on. Being able to see what is important to you will help you to eliminate distractions and focus. Believe me, I accomplish much more when I write it down.
Tell me, what things are you trying to focus on and what are you going to do to increase your focus. Please share in the comments.