How well do you focus?
We’re a society who likes to get more done in less time, so we hamper up with all these productivity apps hoping that it’ll help our concentration levels. The truth is however, it’s not a time-management issue or an organisational challenge. It’s simply down to how well you can avoid and eliminate distractions.
I’ve noticed that I get distracted by anything and everything. It’s a rare moment for me when I’m able to block distractions.
But why is the ability to focus important? Focus is important because it is the gateway to thinking – learning, perception, memory, reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making. You can’t be efficient without focus.
You certainly won’t be able to produce quality work as result of lack of focus. Which could put you in deep water.
So how can you improve your focus?
Master your technology
One reason to why I never get shit done on time is due to endless scrolling on social media. If it’s not Twitter, then it’s Facebook, and if it’s not that I’m reading away on quora. In this new digital age, computers, tablets, and smartphones can make it difficult to focus at times. Texts, emails, social notifications when you’re working on something can be the worst distraction.
In some career sectors you may need your phone in order to complete your work but just make sure it doesn’t take you away from your work.
Another thing that diminishes your focus is trying to multi-task. Repeat after me: ‘Multi-tasking does not exist’. It simply doesn’t, although it may seem like you are. Your brain is really clever, it flickers back and forth on the things you are trying to focus on.
So perhaps the best thing to do if technology is one of your biggest distractions is to switch it off. Unless you’re working on a laptop, type away.
I normally deal with technology distractions by leaving my phone upstairs. It definitely allows me to get more done in less time.
Use the four ‘Ps’ to help you focus
Wait, hang on, what are the four Ps? – Perform, process, present, and productivity.
You can use this approach when you need to tackle a project or assignment.
Let’s imagine a scenario – you have 2000 word essay due in three weeks and your ability to focus is horrendous.
Perform – Start off by asking yourself what you need in order to perform.
Process – this means focusing on what you need to do to complete without concern for the outcome.
Present – this means trying to be in here and now.
Productivity – this means focusing only on your project or task and blocking out distractions.
Create a focused workspace
Many people often tend to have cluttered offices, bedrooms or livings filled with all sorts. Having a cluttered workspace can fill your mind with distractions.
Although some people may say that they work best in a cluttered environment, if that’s the case, at least get rid of things you don’t use.