Our ability to stay focused on anything we’re doing determines the quality of our outputs or results. The better we focus, the better results we’ll produce.
The challenge we all face today is that it’s so easy to get distracted. With so many advances in technology, such as all the different smart devices available to us, being able to stay focused is a major challenge for most people. Unfortunately, our smart devices are making us more distracted than ever before.
Today, distraction removal has become the new focus. The better we’re able to eliminate distractions from our everyday lives, the better we’ll be able to focus.
Focus is a muscle and it’s also a process, which means we can learn how to improve it. An important thing to be aware of is we don’t have focus, we do focus. If focus is something we do, then there are things we can implement to get better at doing it, just like improving any other skill.
There are a number of reasons why improving our focus will be beneficial to us and they include:
- Getting more done in a shorter period of time.
- Producing better quality outputs.
- Creating more free time as a result of being more effective.
- Feeling less stressed or overwhelmed.
- Being happier and in a better mood.
Learning how to focus better is now a critical skill if we want to have a better quality life.
The starting point before carrying out anything is to ask ourselves why. “Why do I want to do this or learn this?” The stronger our reasons, the more motivation we’ll have, which will also help us focus better.
There are some obvious techniques that can help us focus better and they include:
- Using a timer when working.
- Working in segments or time blocks.
- Being aware when we do our best work and doing our most important work during that period.
- Having a plan for our day such as creating a To-Do List.
- Working on one thing (task or project) at a time.
While these techniques are useful, I want to go deeper so that we can become masters of focus.
One question high performers constantly ask themselves to get themselves to focus on what’s most important to them is, “What is the best use of this moment?”
Our lives are a collection of moments, so the better we can make a moment, the better we’ll be able to focus and the better outputs we will produce.
5 Things to be Aware of to Master Your Focus
We will always focus best when all parts of our whole being are aligned well. This means that our logical and emotional reasons for doing something are in harmony.
As shown in the pyramid below, having greater clarity on each layer will help us master our focus and become much better performers. Starting at the bottom of the pyramid, these are things we must know.
- Environment. This is the where and when. We should always know where we will be working and when we expect to start and finish. We should also ensure our environments are supporting us do our best work.
- Behaviour. This is what we should be doing. It’s about identifying the actions or tasks we will take when we’re actually working.
- Capability. This is how we will do what we’ve identified we want to get done. It’s our skill set or competence. The better we are at doing something, the more effective we’ll be, which means we have a better chance of staying focused.
- Beliefs and Values. This is our why. We should always know why we want to do something, what the potential payoffs are and what the costs are of not getting it done.
- Identity. This sits at the top because it defines who we are. If we have an identity that says, “I am a person who is focused and will get things done,” then there is a great chance we will focus well. If, on the other hand, we have an identity that says, “I am a person who procrastinates a lot and will take longer to get things done,” then it’s very likely we’ll allow ourselves to get distracted and not focus as well.
When these five things are aligned, we will have much better focus. If we want to improve our focus daily, then it’s our responsibility to ensure we have clarity on each of these five things before we start any task or project.
Question: Which idea mentioned above do you think will make the biggest difference to your ability to focus?
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