Have you ever wished to stay focused for more than 40 minutes among all your daily life distractions? You think you’re not productive enough, not working enough or contributing enough? The feeling of emptiness makes you feel like you’ve had done nothing all day long because you were too busy getting distracted by tiny tasks. It may be a sign that you need to re-shift your focus and regain your direction in life. So many distractions, interruptions and time-wasting duties that get thrown your way every single day make it so easy for you to forget where you stand in your journey. If you are not able to stay focused on the important things and disregard everything else that’s distracting your attention, then you will be eaten alive by all the daily unending tasks!
So here are 7 best tips to stay focused on the important things among all the distractions of life now and in the long term.
- Stop Multitasking
It is not always effective for most people. Start tomorrow by trying to stop checking your emails, messages, Facebook or answer the phone. Stop doing a lot of things at the same time (chatting, finishing a file, answering the phone …).
You are probably saying, “Yes, but sometimes I have to be available.” exactly, but you only have to be available for a short period of time only. You need to allow yourself “multitasking” pauses. There is so much technology around us today such as alarms, ringtones, and SMS beeps that we need to switch them all off to stay focused on the important goals of our lives.
Stop thinking it’s more effective. It is not. No internet during your phone calls. No reading during your meals. No chat while you write. Do one thing at a time. Simple. Not only doing several things at the same time is terribly inefficient, but it also stresses you out instead. And it’s tough for those around you.
It’s best to plan when you want to multitask.
We have somehow programmed others to think that we are always available whenever they need us. We must stop this.
– HOW? By planning ahead what to do in your free time.
- Reject Distractions and Interruptions
This is, unfortunately, the way we lead our lives. We naturally look for distractions. It’s an addiction. Back in the old days, it was useful. We had to be alert. Today, this hampers our own development.
– How to fight this? Close your laptop; turn off your mobile, work in a room reserved only for work.
- Work in an Uninterrupted Workstation – At least for 1 Hour
We have to focus our time by blocking outside distractions. No interruptions for 1 hour. You will see that you will be much more productive. Most secondary things like emails and messages can wait for 1h or 2h before being replied to. But, we are often very excited to receive any kind of news that we keep waiting for them to reach us which hinders our own success.
– How to fight this? Concentrate on the important things by blocking outside distractions for 1h or 2 hours.
- Know what really matters
Be honest with yourself about the actions that really move you forward in your business and in your life. If you are stuck, just think about the tasks you dread the most. The ones that make you the most anxious. The chances are that these are the most important.
- Choose your 2 or 3 main tasks each day
These are the things that you really need to move on and that must be done no matter what. If you accomplish them, your day is a success. Do not go on more than three. Or even better: on one. They must bring you closer to your major goals in life.
- Do your main tasks first
For me, writing is one of my main goals, so I write for at least an hour as soon as I get up or just after a little morning exercise. The longer you wait, the more distractions will parasitize your day and keep you away from accomplishing these essential tasks. Do not do anything else until you are done with these main tasks.
- Do not use your mobile phone until your major tasks are completed
Do not convince yourself that you need the Internet or email to do your most important tasks. 99% of the time it is not necessary. Do not connect to the Internet, instead set your phone on silent mode until you are done with the most important tasks for your day.
- Close your mailbox and turn off notifications (and anything that may interrupt you)
When you sit down to do something, nothing else should keep your attention. Just because someone decides to send you an email, chat with you or call you, that doesn’t mean you have to interrupt what you are currently doing. These things can wait. But if you know they’re there waiting for you, you’ll be tempted. Avoid temptation at all costs! We are too weak to resist. I do not trust myself enough to have a Smart Phone for example while I work, so I have it turned off for the whole working hours in the office.
- Do not check your emails in the morning
This is the single most effective (but also difficult to implement) practice I have found. I know you’ve all heard of this one. So why doesn’t anyone use it? It will change your life. The feeling of knowing that we spend two hours refreshing our inbox and going back and forth between Facebook and Twitter without doing anything is terrible. I assure you that if you check your emails, you will be unable to effectively and quickly tackle the most important tasks for your day. So do not do it until you have at least a good two hours of effective and efficient work done in full concentration.
- Reduce the management of your emails to twice a day MAXIMUM
Maybe 30 minutes before lunch and 30 minutes in late afternoon. If you need an email for your main task, do not go to your inbox. Use the search tab directly and find this specific email. If one of your major tasks of the day is to write an email (which should rarely be the case), do not log in to do it. Write it on a program like Notepad. Keep everything that may require an answer for after when you have finished with the important part of your to-do list of the day.
- Try to do less in a day
Slow down. Do not fill every moment of your agenda with tasks to do (it’s a huge part of what I’m working on to be even more effective) because you will be stressed and in a hurry all day. Slow down and calmly advance on your major tasks of the day. Once finished, you may do a few more things with the time you have left. But do not try to incorporate them into your planning. If you do, you will always feel like you’re late.
We are addicted to wasting time.
Realize that meaningless work is an addiction. It’s as dangerous as smoking or alcohol. I am not joking. Emails, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, surfing the Internet… All these things are serious addictions. We just do not think there is anything wrong with this because everyone around us uses it. If everyone around you started smoking tomorrow would you do it? No? That’s what I thought.
The path to freedom can be difficult to see, especially because the world tells us that it does not exist. A journey begins with a step. These addictions have made us lose our way and even more fundamentally, our concentration. We avoid the present. We avoid what really matters. And we avoid what is right in front of us. Whether it’s a sunset, your husband or that call to a customer that you keep pushing.
When we are really focused we are just … unstoppable!
You will have done more in a day than most people do in a week. And you’ll have the time left in your day to savor the subtle flavors of life, the ones you do not remember anymore that you appreciated so much. When in doubt, ask yourself, “Am I wasting time to avoid what’s important?” Be honest with yourself. You will know the answer. Do something to focus more.