Why can’t I focus? Have you asked yourself that question? I have been hearing the word FOCUS over and over in the classes that I facilitate and from my coaching clients. Many people have been telling me lately that they don’t even try to do one thing at a time. They just can’t concentrate at all or get things finished.
What is focus? Merriam-Webster describes it as “to concentrate attention or effort”. Follow One Course Until Successful is a great acronym for FOCUS. But, how can we concentrate on one thing until we complete our task? According to my clients, focusing is getting more difficult. Also, younger people don’t even try to focus at all. They seem to enjoy the chaos of ever constant media interruptions.
We have so many things that compete for our attention that it can be difficult to focus. Here are some tips to help you concentrate for a longer period of time so that you may start or finish a project.
- Be intentional. Decide that you will focus at a specific time. Prepare to focus on a specific task. Take a few deep breaths and start.
- Play the 10 minute game. Tell yourself that you will focus for only 10 minutes then take a break. If you can focus for that long, try for 15 minutes the next time. If you can’t even focus for 10 minutes start with 3 or 5 minutes at a time.
- Know your time of day. I have always been a night owl. I know that I focus, study, and retain best after 7pm. I would rather stay awake until 2am to finish something than wake up early. If I try to wake up early to finish something it is an utter disaster. My body and mind don’t work as well in the early morning. Know what time that you are at your best.
- Don’t turn it on. When I worked in an office when Instant Message (IM) was new and everyone loved to IM all day long. I never turned mine on because I knew that it would take away my focus. If there is some type of media that you know will take away your focus don’t even use it. It is OK not to use the latest fad app out there.
- Clear away distractions. Think about your 5 senses. If there is anything around the place where you hope to focus – try to eliminate it. Make sure that your desk is clear, noise is minimal (or use white noise), and there is nothing to get your attention. Yes, even smells can make you lose your focus. Have you ever smelled chocolate chip cookies cooking in the oven? That would absolutely make me lose my focus.
- Give yourself a goal. Huge goals are very imposing so break them down into bite-sized pieces. OK not bite sized (I’m still thinking about the cookies), but smaller goals. Use your 10 minutes (or how much time you can focus) to complete the small goal.
- Reward yourself. After you have focused for your amount of time that you desired, take a break. Go onto Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram. Watch that video or listen to some music and dance! One of my coaching clients decided that she would watch a lifetime movie after she completed one of her smaller goals. Do what works for you.
- Use an affirmation. Tell yourself a positive statement and believe that you will stay focused. Say to yourself, “I will complete this task. I will stay focused” when you find your mind drifting.
- *Try the rubber band method. When I seriously have to focus this method always works for me. I put a rubber band around my wrist and when I find attention wandering I literally “snap” out of it. I pull the rubber band and let it snap against my wrist. It does sting a bit but it wakes me up and helps me get back to business.
I hope that these tips can help you start learning how to focus. Try different methods and soon you will be able to stick to one thing for a while. Build up to concentrating on only one thing at a time. This is difficult for those of us who love to do many things at once. Multitasking is a myth. Research has shown that our brain can only do one thing at a time. So, work on your focus. Get things done and you meet your goals faster and be happier in life.
Let me know how these tips work for you.
*Please use this method responsibly.
#multitasking #focus #tips #goals