In this new article you’ll learn how to stay focused all day and get more done.
In today’s world, it is easy to get off task. After all, while technology is often a blessing, it can be a curse as well. Right now, you might be getting a Facebook Messenger alert or hearing a small ding that indicates an incoming email. And beyond technology, of course, there are family, friends, co-workers and other real life distractions that can divert you from your task.
However, it is possible to get past all the distractions and get down to business and get things done. The following tips will help you do just that.
How To Stay Focused All Day
1. Maintain Focus by not Multi-Tasking
This is not easy to do, but it is a very important step. If you want to get a lot done, you cannot simply bounce around from one task to another. It is a bad habit, and it will be hard to break in the future. So, how do you teach yourself to stay with one activity at a time? Do not multi-task, for starters. It is just too difficult. Figure out which task you are tackling, and push everything else away.
Begin the day with the task you are dreading the most. Once you get through it, you will feel good about yourself and your progress, and you are more likely to continue your productivity throughout the day. Many people find that the mornings are the best time to work.
Do you lead group meetings? It is important to set up expectations ahead of time if you want the meetings to be productive. Put a ban on technology, as it can hamper productive discussion. Make sure that everyone understands this expectation and the reasoning behind it. Find ways to get your team members involved in the conversation so that their attention does not drift off. It may be difficult at first, but you will get the hang of it over times.
Take time for yourself. You do not have to constantly surround yourself with people and work. Everyone needs a break to recharge and simply think about what they are doing and where they are going.
Some of the most successful individuals followed this advice. For example, Jim Henson enjoyed taking solitary walks, stopping often to rest under a tree and imagine. You never know when a flash of brilliance might creep into your mind. Make it a point to get a little alone time and see what happens.
Your company needs your brain. They need you to turn dreams into reality. Mult-tasking is not a requirement. It should not be on your resume. In fact, it may take away from why you are so valued in the first place.
If you want to make a name for yourself, get creative and bring your original ideas to the table. Be a leader.
2. Create Your Own Deadlines
When people are given an open-ended assignment, it is easy for them to procrastinate. However, when a deadline is looming, most buckle down and get to work to finish in time.
If you want to stay on task, create your own deadlines for an assignment. Evaluate a task objectively and determine how long you are going to give yourself to finish it. Pick a number that is realistic.
However, keep in mind that you want to make yourself work hard to meet that deadline. Even though you will obviously know that you created the deadline, it is a good technique to help you stay focused. This is particularly valuable if you often find yourself procrastinating, but it is also a good technique for anyone that needs a little incentive to get more done. You should find that you are much more productive in the end.
3. Create a “Stop Doing” List
There are plenty of benefits that come with following to a ‘to-do’ list. A to-do list will help you get and stay organized while at the same time making it easier to manage your time and life. With that in mind, it is important to note that creating a list of some of the things that make you easily lose your focus is essential; especially if you want to live a more successful life.
Whatever these things are, be it routines you have grown accustomed to, and which throw you off balance, or distracting co-workers that always seem to get the best of you, it is important that you note them down and start working on how you are going to overcome them.
Things You Need To Consider
Making Excuses: Most successful people never make excuses, complain or blame others for their weakness, incompetence or bad luck. Most of them are responsible for their lives. They understand that their success or failure lies in their hand. So stop whining, making excuses and trying to prove that you are the victim and take responsibility of your life.
Sitting Behind a Screen: Sitting behind your computer all day (or worse, your TV) is not the way to go. While there is important stuff you can do on your computer, spending the whole day on it is a fail-proof way to failure. Get out more, meet people, network and learn new stuff. Start doing things with people that you would love to work with, help or lead.
Putting Things Off: Procrastination is one of success’ greatest enemies. Be objective, come up with a list of the tasks that you need to complete; prioritize these and then set your mind on getting the most important ones handled. We all are always tempted to put off tasks that we dislike or fear. It is time you bit the bullet and got them done on time every time.
Easy Stuff: What tasks do you spend most of your time on? The important, the essential, the urgent ones, the easy one or is just the normal? If you are spending most of your time doing the less important or easy tasks then you need to stop. Start focusing on the most important tasks; those that will drive you towards your main objective and ignore or delegate those that are of low value or meaning in your life.
Limiting your Ambitions: Every successful person exhibits the following things: ambition, a drive and self-belief. Successful people highly esteem themselves and have high standards. Now, the question is, do you hold yourself back? Have you stopped believing in yourself and have no confidence in yourself?
Then it is time to start afresh. Take time to set ambitious goals for your life. Remind yourself of your achievements and the skills you possess. And start motivating yourself each and every day; no one will.
If you can come up with a way of overcoming the negative things you do and overlooking the low-value activities, then it will become much easier to free yourself from self-limitations and setting yourself up for success. Stop doing things that waste your time and start focusing on those that will lead you to success.
4. Reduce Your Internal Sources of Distraction
This idea is somewhat abstract compared to others, but you need to focus closely on staying focused. Do not get caught up in random thoughts that intrude upon your current task.
This may include your after work plans, upcoming holidays, household chores and so on. Mindfully eliminate these thoughts until your task is finished. This will increase your luck when you work on a task simply by focusing on each step.
How you can reduce distractions in your mind:
A tale exists about a monk that was unable to meditate in his home due to his family and neighbors. He decided to venture into the forest to keep meditating. When he attempts to meditate in the forest, he becomes distracted by memories of his family and loved ones. He decided to head back home to meditate.
Even when no outside forces are influencing us, we can easily become rather distracted. Only a rare handful of people can focus with perfect concentration. Internal distractions stem from your own thinking about tasks beyond the one you are currently working on.
Continuous thoughts flooding your mind identify the way you think.
If your thoughts do not contribute to your current work, the thought is simply a distraction.
It is easy for us to get motivated and excited about future results, and this lessens our focus on actually doing work. You should work with the end result in mind, but do not let it consume you.
In contrast to the above thoughts, negative thinking about your results can occur. This happens when you think about less than positive results from your desired goal.
Neither of these types of thinking will produce good results. Keep in mind that you should only be concerned with your current work. The end result is simply a by-product of the work you completed.
There is a popular saying about thoughts forming actions, actions forming habits and habits forming character. Keep it in mind.
According to studies, sticking with a meditation regimen long-term can help you be able to effectively block distractions out on command, particularly thoughts that may seem innocuous but that can be potentially destructive.
The main goal of meditation is focusing and quieting your mind to reach higher levels of inner calm and awareness eventually. You might be surprised to know that you can meditate at anytime and anywhere, which enables you to access a state of peace and tranquility no matter what is happening around you.
6. Alter Your Mood with Entrainment Music
It’s easy to change your mood by the music you listen to. I’m not talking about Heavy Metal or even Country music, even though they can change your mood it is not the best for creating a focused mindset. For that you want to try entrainment music.
It is the practice of listening to a series of specially formulated tones and beats to change your mindset. It’s easy and there are hundreds upon hundreds of pages of free music that can help you to reset your mind.
Here is great site that you can go to and listen to music for concentration:
7. Stay in the Zone and Eliminate Focus Shattering Triggers
Staying focused is paramount to completing a task in a timely manner. When you become distracted, it can take up to 20 minutes to refocus your attention and return to your task at hand. If you do not have a private office, there are several things you can do to help prevent distractions. A high-quality set of noise cancelling headphones can help block outside noise that can be distracting.
Another thing to remember when trying to stay focused is the Internet can be very distracting. Many people waste a lot of time checking their email or visiting social media sites. To help you avoid this temptation, download a browser plug-in that prevents you from visiting these sites while you are working.
Digital Distractions Can Affect Anyone
Although browser plug-ins may keep you from visiting certain websites, there are still a number of digital distractions to avoid. These distractions include games on your cell phone, such as Candy Crush, emails and personal phone calls. Luckily, there are many techniques to help you stay focused and on-task.
Become Email Savvy
Most workers think that emails need to be answered immediately. According to The Radicati Group, an average office employee receives more than 100 emails each day. According to another study done by the University of Toronto, approximately 12 percent of an employee’s time is dedicated to reading and answering emails.
One way to help you stay focused on task, is to close your email and only check it every few hours. Most employees should only check their emails when they begin work, right before lunch and at the end of the day.
Restrict Your Browsing
Email is not the only thing that can destroy your productivity. A Kansas State University study found that approximately 70 percent of online browsing by employees was unrelated to work. With today’s easy-to-use browser tabs, it is very easy to open extra tabs for social media, email and online shopping.
From mobile phones to tablets, the world is becoming a multi-platform society. Most people have cell phones or tablets that are brought into the workplace. These can become very distracting if the push notification are on. Luckily, you can disable notification to help avoid distractions.
Smartphones can wreak havoc on productivity in other ways. Many people are so obsessed with their phone that they become anxious if their phone is not with them. If you are so attached to your smartphone that you have to have it at your side at all times, you may need to reassess the situation and learn to live your life without your cellphone at your side.
Your cellphone could be one of the biggest stumbling blocks in regards to concentration. You may be surprised at how much more work you can get accomplished simply by turning off your phone.
8. Know your Biorhythm
No this won’t be a science lesson. This is real and not something reserved for the smartest person in the office. Each of our bodies is aligned with different rhythmic patterns that dictate our behavior. These ultradian patterns occurring regularly over the course of 24 hours can be measured on physical, emotion and intellectual levels. The most important focus for us in this case, are the intellectual rhythms.
It is important to have a spreadsheet and log your energy and concentration every hour of your workday for about a week or two. This is very important as it helps you discover when you are at peak performance or concentration levels. After logging in these levels, plot a graph based on those figures on your spreadsheet.
This will help you find out at which times you are more focused, schedule coffee breaks, lunch or more menial stuff like replying to emails at other times when you do not have to be as focused. This process may be somewhat taxing, but its benefits are worth the sacrifice.
9. Do Important or Creative Work Early
Our bodies are wired differently, but some of the activities are uniform. No matter your biorhythm, the brain of every human being tires later in the day. The experts advice is that you should preserve the work that needs more brain power for the earlier hours of the day when your brain is still fresh.
Other reasons to start early:
Uninterrupted work time
During the day no matter how concentrated you are in your work, you are most likely prone to distractions. Some are necessary while others are unnecessary. Distractions will cost you both time and productivity. In most cases, the most important goals may be procrastinated or done partially.
When you wake up early in the morning, most people have not started their day or are not yet very active. This means that you may accomplish your most important tasks without interruptions from other people. Those phone calls and emails have not yet started coming in and you may even take less time in completing a certain task.
Mental power is at a maximum
We have to make decisions every day. It may be deciding on what you will wear for the day, what you will have for breakfast or even how you will commute to work. This may end up affecting your productivity. This is why we have the term decision fatigue. This is when there is a drain in our mental power caused by the decisions you make throughout the day.
This is the reason why Albert Einstein and Steve Jobs chose to wear the same thing every working day. This would help them avoid decision fatigue and direct their mental energy towards the most important tasks of the day. When you wake up early and start working, your decisions are almost done as you have already decided everything which means that your brain energy levels are at the peak ready to accomplish your most important goals.
Get your most important goal out of the way
We have already seen how decision fatigue is not good for you and your work. The most important way to suppress its effects is to reduce your decisions for the day. Make sure you avoid deciding what you will do for the day in the morning. This is to reduce your decision making for the day. It is advisable that you plan out the next day tasks during the night.
Take out our calendar and schedule what you want to accomplish (2). You can also write down on paper what you want to accomplish when you wake up the next morning. This will give you a sense of purpose and make your day planned out early. In case any distraction or any urgent issue comes up, you will have your tasks accomplished and your work is not affected very much as you tackled your work earlier in the day.
10. End the Workday and Wind Down in a Positive Way
Most people do not consider the fact that their evening routine has a huge impact on how they begin the next day. If you wind down in a positive way, you are much more likely to stay on task and get items checked off your list when the morning rolls around.
The morning and the evening are important; they set the stage for everything that occurs during daytime hours. Not only do they affect your ability to stay on task, but they also have an impact on your mood and your feelings about what you have to get done. Do not underestimate how a good nightly routine can help you.
In addition, if you lay down to bed in a positive mood, you are more likely to think back on your entire day with fondness. This means that you will be more excited about getting up the next day and getting started once more.
Finally, consider this. You do not want to bring stress and negativity home to your significant other or your children. You do not want your worries to keep you up at night or keep you from feeling your best. Therefore, finish the day on a positive note.
There are several things that should be a priority for you as you wind down in the evening.
Think about what you have accomplished.
Do not lay down to go to sleep without considering at least three things that you accomplished during the day. Further, make a list of the top three things that you want to get accomplished the next day.
If there is anything you are dissatisfied with, put it on your list to consider. A written note such as this will help you stay focused on what needs to get done and will get you moving first thing in the morning.
Think about what must get done.
Look over your to-do list and think about whether or not you are doing everything possible to be productive. If you are not happy with your list, change things up. Falling behind will only make things more difficult for you in the long run. Get yourself organized so that you can be successful each and every day with your short term goals.
Come up with a schedule.
Other than the tasks that you have on your list, what else must get done? Do you have any conference calls or group meetings? Outline a schedule of events to make sure that your day is as productive as possible.
Do not leave anything hanging over you before you leave the office for the day. This is particularly true if the task is something that you can wrap up quickly. If you don’t, you are likely to think about it while you are at home, which is not want you want when you are finally able to leave your work space.
Create a plan.
Come up with a new list of tasks to accomplish. Figure out what you want to get done and how you are going to do that. Once you have it all written out, it will not be as overwhelming. When you first head in to work, you might need to revise this list somewhat. However, creating one the day before puts you a step ahead of the game.
Think about what you have accomplished.
Many people do not take the time to think back on their day. They are simply so excited to head home that they leave as quickly as possible. However, try and remind yourself of what went well. Doing so puts you in a good mood and makes heading back in the morning that much easier.
Leave work at work.
When you head home for the day, you should feel good about what you have done while you are at work. You should not keep thinking about what else needs to be done or panicking because you did not accomplish everything you wanted to. Before you walk out the door, tell your coworkers goodbye. You will actually feel like you are leaving and can hopefully push work to the back burner until you are back at it in the morning.
Leave work on a positive note.
Think of something that went well that day, compliment a co-worker on an accomplishment, or you could send a thank you email to a client. The main concept is to find something positive that makes you feel good about your job and then to make sure that moment is the last thing on your mind before you leave.
If you are the boss or the person in charge of a project, say a few words of encouragement or a compliment. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and know they’re making a difference in the bigger picture.
Leave your stress and your work at work.
I know this can be hard to do. But when you walk out that door you must commit to leaving your stress behind. Carrying your stress home won’t help and can only harm your home life.
So relax when you are done. Do not go home worried about what you will do tomorrow. The best way to be more productive is to make sure that you plan the next day’s work after completing your tasks. Write it down and go ahead and relax at home.
11. Reward Yourself
With every good work, you are given a reward. This is not any different from what you should do to yourself. If you have successfully accomplished your target for example you had planned to tackle a presentation for an hour or two in the afternoon, then once you finish it, treat yourself.
This will all depend on your own preference. Some people may refer cookies, others may prefer Facebook check-in and others may even choose a brief YouTube binge. I usually reward myself with a fun music video I listened to in my teens.
To truly implement these techniques into your real life work day, and for them to become real habits, it can be very difficult to add everything at once. So instead I would like you to try adding one new thing each week. It doesn’t matter which one you choose first just be sure to add one new thing each week.