Have you ever felt like your day was made up of a series of interruptions and distractions? It’s difficult to look away as texts stream in, emails ping your phone, and you’re blasted with last minute questions and requests.
How on earth can you stay focused when you’re constantly bombarded with information? The modern world is a minefield of interruptions. It’s no wonder that things are slipping through the cracks without us even noticing.
If you’re ready to put a stop to all of that, and regain your focus- then you’re going to need to work on your daily habits.
Here are some practical methods to stay focused and handle whatever life may throw at you.
Take Control of Your Day
- Declutter – Clutter can slow us down, as you sift through piles of papers to get to what you really need. Take time to clear the decks and properly organize your work areas in the office, and your home, too. Not to mention the clutter of constant commitments. Sometimes they’re more work than they are fun- so take some time for yourself, and make sure you restrain your use of technology. It might have made life more convenient, but it definitely undermines our ability to be creative, think deeply, and even concentrate. This should extend to your workspace, too.
- Lists – At the start of every day (or the night before), make a list of all of your tasks. Then put them in a priority list. You can check it throughout the day to ensure you’re on track. Ideally, work out roughly how long each task will take so that if you do get off track, you’ll have a clear idea of what it takes to get you back on the road to progress.
- One Task – We all joke about how great we are at multitasking, and roll our eyes at people who can’t. However, multitasking is just a way to clutter our minds and leave several jobs unfinished, rather than focusing on one task until it’s complete. Trust us when we say, you aren’t achieving more when you multitask. When you switch between activities, it takes to refocus your attention.
- Buffer Your Time – Always plan 10 to 15 minutes between tasks to counteract tasks running long, whether it’s meetings, conference calls, a commute, or an appointment.
- Routine – Setting routines and schedules results in us doing things automatically. Create a routine for your morning activities, and your evening activities. You’ll start to see ideas and solutions, as your brain is free of clutter.
Take Control of Your Mind
- Go with the Flow – It’s easy to snap when things aren’t going our way. Whether you’re stuck in traffic, your toddler is spraying milk all over the backseat, or the trains are running late. Getting angry only makes you feel more stressed out, and causes further angst and anxiety. Learn to go with the flow, when you learn to accept the bumps from life, you’ll be able to manage them more efficiently.
- Meditate – Meditation is an excellent way to manage our thoughts so that they aren’t scattered uncontrollably across our minds. You don’t need to spend hours a day with your legs crossed, focused on your breathing. Simply taking 5 minutes out every day can be productive. Learn how to breathe deeply, and you can fit that 5 minutes into your work day.
- Write it Out – If you find yourself obsessing over something, take time to write it out. Those nagging thoughts make it difficult to concentrate, and writing those thoughts down can help break the cycle. In addition, it feels great to tear that paper up and throw it in the trash.