Are you struggling to maintain focus?
There are so many distractions today.
Yes, our smartphones and TVs and everything else are great. They stimulate us. But they, along with all kinds of other things, are killer distractions if there is work to be done.
It’s almost at epidemic levels. One third of people say they’re less focused since the last presidential election.
But the other two thirds are either lying or maybe they are focused and doing good work. Or maybe they were never that focused in the first place.
If you’re looking to get more focused whether it be on work, on family or whatever, here are some tips.
1. Morning Cold Shot
You’ll think I’m crazy, but I try this just about every morning. And it really works great.
I take my regular lukewarm to warm shower.
Then when I’m done I turn the handle to cold. I stand back initially, but when I feel the cold water on my feet I move in and let my head get a cold shot of water.
Boy, does that wake you up.
But it’s weird. Your senses really perk up. You feel more focused.
There is even some science behind it.
2. One Song
It’s weird. I’ve done this for about as long as I can remember.
I’ll find a new song I like and for the next week it’ll be the only song I listen to.
And the more I read and listen the more I notice that it’s kind of a thing with people that are really good at getting things done.
Back in college I had a good friend. Smart. Dedicated. Got things done. There was a day in the dorms when he was playing Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows. You could barely hear it through the halls, but it played for hours.
He was working on a project.
And I’ve heard Gary Vaynerchuk mention that he gets locked in on one song all the time.
I don’t know the science behind this one, but it seems to work really well.
3. Cut Interruptions
Phone, Email, Social Media, whatever. When you’re working just cut all notifications.
This might be true for coworkers too if you’re in an office.
At my last job we kind of had an open door policy. But after awhile I would get irritated if I was in the middle of something and someone would walk in.
Close the door. Close people out. Shut the phone completely off.
One cool side effect of this one is that your brain actually daydreams a bit, which I think is a good thing. It’s good to ponder life a bit.
If I’m struggling with thinking through something with Ghost Blog Writers I’ll often go for a walk. In fact, I walk pretty much everyday and sometimes twice. I like to leave the walk for thinking through things.
Usually I’m almost racing back because something comes into my head and my focus gets right back on track.
If I notice that I’m sluggish and not thinking clearly it’s very often because I’m tired. I used to get frustrated. I would want to push through.
But now I’ve learned that taking a nap is the better way.
Get the sleep you need. Put the work aside and come back to it when you have a clear mind.
Or whatever quick exercise you want to do. Squats, pull ups, lunges, whatever.
A burst of exercise will get the blood flowing including to your brain, which is obviously important for focus.
7. “The Mixer”
Love this idea from Julian Treasure. What the video and skip to the 4:00 mark or so.
It’s a way to listen better, but I think it has other benefits for focus. I play around with this one and it really works. I use it if I’m finding myself drifting off and getting distracted.
8. Skip A Meal, Ketosis, Intermittent Fasting
More and more research is coming out on the benefits of ketosis.
This one isn’t on the quick side of things, but it can be.
I like to do intermittent fasting. Only eating in a small window.
I don’t get hungry anymore. No more afternoon urges for snacks. No need for sugar rushes to get focus.
When you’re a little hungry it can work to your advantage.
9. Short-term Reward
I’m doing this one right now.
I have a golf video open in another tab. It’s looking at me. Teasing me.
But I’m holding off to view it until this post is written and scheduled.
Little short-term rewards help you focus. It may seem like a little trick, but it really does work. And you can do it in the long-term to help you create good habits.
Instead of looking at that text that just came in (even though you are now going to turn off those notifications) you can use that text as a reward for finishing your current task.
10. Fake Deadlines
Deadlines spur action.
The NFL is big. Most player contracts come right at certain deadlines.
The day before free agency opens.
The day before training camp begins.
The day before the first game of the season.
The day before the last game of the season.
My wife is going through this right now. Her friends sent out a baby shower invite and put an RSVP-by date on it. Well, nobody is sending RSVPs yet because the deadline isn’t for another few weeks.
Create deadlines for your work. No matter how small and trivial it seems.
I’m writing this post. I want to have it done by a certain time.
It’s amazing how much you can get done when you have a deadline.
There are an incredible amount of distractions in the world today. It’s crazy. It’s amazing we get anything done at all.
If you’re looking to sharpen your focus the tips above will definitely be helpful. I’ve used them all over the years and continue to use them as a way to get focused and to get things done.