XX Tips on focusing better
Stop letting others dictate how you spend your time
Can you believe that we humans only have an attention span of 8 seconds? And it is drastically decreasing to the point that many researchers are afraid that our generation would be the last ones to have this powerful tool called focus! So, how to focus better?
In this world where we are continuously bombarded with multiple notifications the moment we turn on the WiFi, it is so very hard to focus on our work . Right?
It's not just that, recent research has found out that our brain craves distractions because our mind releases dopamine ( Feel good hormones) every-time we surf social media or watch a funny video!
So fighting distractions is going to be an internal war more than an external one. So how do we do it?
How do we give attention to one thought when there's thousands floating around your mind waiting to be triggered?
Stick till the end of the article to find out!
TIP 1 : REMEMBER YOUR PURPOSE:
" Passion is positive obsession and obsessions are dangerous"
Human beings are always driven towards something. It could be money, family, success or freedom or sex. We all have a purpose even if you have not written it down yet. But along the way, we get lost in the noises of this world ( Distractions) and even feel lost at times.
Those are the times that we feel less motivated to do anything. And in such times, focusing is so alien to us.
Before we go into the quick fixes that would help us focus, let's always remember our purpose.
Purpose is something that drives us
Find out why you are doing what you are doing. Remember that before starting to do your work and that would give you a strong enough mindset to get through the work.
If you feel like your work is overwhelming and hard to even sit through, you might have to reconsider your career. Remember, you can lie to the whole world but always be honest to yourself. Else you'll regret your life.
TIP 2: REDUCE STIMULATING YOUR BRAINS:
Everything from TV series to social media to pornography stimulates your mind. And almost everyone in this world has an addiction to them.
You can't even blame yourself because our minds biologically crave stimulation! But over a point, it's just self destructive and you would have realized them by now.
A less stimulated brain doesn't seem distractions.
It is when our mind wanders, all our ideas come together and we can live our life better.
WHAT TO DO:
It's time for another experiment : now you reduce using your mobiles significantly. Uninstall Instagram and netflix and block YouTube. Don't watch any TV series or sports. You can try this for a week!
When your mind's stimulation level goes down, it doesn't seek distractions as much and focusing on something would get so easy
I CAN TELL YOU THIS
"Distraction is not the enemy of focus
Over -Stimulation is
Start a disconnection ritual! So you can disconnect from the digital world and reconnect with the actual world!
"The state of our attention is what determines the state of our lives"
The more distracted you are at each moment of our life, the more overwhelming and lost we become. Not just for focus, but for a better quality of life, you need to reduce stimulating your mind a lot.
Lesson : The more stimulated your brain is, the less focused it would be.
TIP 3: Work early in the morning
Not a morning person? Don't want to push yourself to destroy the morning sleep? I have been in your shoes but listen to this :
Early in the morning, when everyone's sleeping and when you brain is fresh out of rest, your focus would be 10x better than what it will be at night.
This is because your brain is not stimulated in the morning and there's nothing to distract you!
LESSON : You can focus 10x better in the mornings
TIP 4: ENTER THE FLOW STATE:
Flow State is the state you achieve when you have to sit through your work for 20 minutes uninterrupted.
Once we have passed through this checkpoint it would be way easier for us to do that task.
The first few moments are the hardest ones and for you to go through it uninterrupted requires you to stay off notification and mobile phones if possible.
TIP 5: DON'T SPREAD YOURSELF TOO THIN:
This world literally has endless possibilities and we end up believing that we have to live our lives intensely.
An average human being has more than 5 goals in a year and loads to to-do lists. This is how our time is getting eaten up. Try having the "Not to do" list.
Even the famous motivational speaker Jay Shetty focuses on one task per week so that he can be productive and more impactful with his work.
Lesson : Focus on one thing and do it really well.
TIP 6: PRACTICE EXPANDING COMFORT ZONE:
I guess we can all agree when I say that " Focusing can be uncomfortable"
" Your life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than to comfort zone"
Working long hours , even if it's for our dreams can get tiring and uncomfortable and we as humans are always driven to be in our comfort zone.
Because comfort zones are good right? Our emotions are stable and we are having a good time! But ask yourself " How many people have reached their dreams being in their comfort zones?"
It's a small price to pay for a huge reward, don't you think? Alot of people have said that getting out of comfort zones can be exciting, fun and life changing!
TIP 7: MEDITATE ( TRAIN YOUR ATTENTION MUSCLE)
"Rule your mind or it will rule you"
Have you ever tried meditating?
Not a big fan? Sounds like old people's habits and you don't want to associate yourself with it? Or you are too cool to sit down and be calm and focused for 10 mins?
Trust me, I have had all those thoughts myself and the best way for us to grow in life is to experiment. Do yourself a favor and try meditating and see how it transforms your life.
Just like any other muscle in our body, attention can be trained.
And I highly recommend doing meditation just before starting our work because it clears our mind and gives us clarity.
NOTE : Meditating doesn't just helps us focus and be patient but it always gives us a sense of direction and clarity in life.
TIP 8 : PRODUCTIVITY MUSIC
I have experienced this first hand. You know how people who hit the gym would listen to these workout music while they work?
When we do this over a period of time, our brain makes a strong association between that music and working out.
This can be replicated for productivity as well. So whenever you want to be productive, listen to a type of music while you work and with time, that music itself would drive you to be productive.
TIP : Don't let yourself be distracted while you are listening to that music. Let it be your sacred productivity list.
TIP 9: PRE-COMMIT TO FINISHING A TASK:
This simply means, you need to have or set up a consequence if the task isn't completed on time.
What would happen if you fail to finish that? If it's nothing, then you'll probably end up procrastinating.
Now if we were a highly self-disciplined person, we wouldn't be here reading this and so the consequence needs to be forced upon us by an external entity.
"Even when you are driven by a strong purpose, we might feel demotivated and numb at times"
You can tell your friend / tweet about the work that you would complete/ publish by the given time, so you would push yourself to finish the task in hand!
Lesson : Enforce an external consequence if we fail to complete the task.
TIP 10 : HAVE A DISTRACTION SHEET:
Writing out all the possible ways that we would get distracted would keep our mind to be aware about escaping those distractions.
That is a constant reminder that we shouldn't slip into the distractions and lose track of time. And that works really well at times.
TIP 11: INSTANT GRATIFICATION:
A Lot of people seem to forget that : "Our life needs balance"
It is practically impossible to be focused for so many hours in a stretch. Even if you try to pull it off, our productivity would be pretty low.
So reward yourself with something that you value once the work in hand is done. This is why people in my hometown play their favourite game with their friends after coming back from work.
This will just keep you motivated to get through the work so you can gratify yourself.
NOTE : There's an app called "Forest" that would start growing when you leave your phone alone and would become a full grown tree when you haven't touched your phone for a particular period of time.