10 Tips on How to Focus
#1: Exercise is Brainpower
Can’t concentrate on the task at hand? Take a brisk walk around the block. Even just five to ten minutes of moderate exercise will give you the boost you need to work for a little while longer.
#2: Thinking About the Outdoors?
Too nice outside? Can’t wait to get out of the office? Take a ten-minute break to go outside, sit in the sun and breathe in the fresh air. When you return to your desk you should have the spark you need to get through the next few hours.
#3: Can’t Decide Where to Start?
Make a list of everything you want to do. This takes away the stress and worry about forgetting something, and you may find that your list isn’t as long as you imagined it to be.
Make a list of everything you have to or want to do. Delegate or dump what you can and cross it off your list. Circle the things you absolutely must get done, and check the things you would like to get done. Pick one of your circled items and start there. Once you’ve gone through the circled items you can hit the checked items.
#5: Avoiding A Task You Despise?
Some days mowing the lawn or working on a report just isn’t appealing. Set a timer and commit to working on your chosen task wholeheartedly until the timer goes off. Depending on your task, you may choose to set your timer for 15, 20, 30, 45, or 60 minutes. Come back to the task later for another round.
As many people say, you can do anything for 15 minutes. Set a timer for 15 minutes, and give your project your all. Once the timer goes off, you may choose to stop. Sometimes you’ll find that just the momentum of getting started is enough to stick with it until you’re finished.
#7: Overwhelmed by Your To-Do List?
Many people like to create weekend to-do lists, but at the start of a lovely Saturday morning, the combination of a free day and long list can be overwhelming. Assign an estimated time value to each of your projects. Then number them randomly to stagger the time spent on each item. As you go through your list, 15 minutes of vacuuming becomes a nice break to 30 minutes of changing the oil in your car, which is a nice change of pace from your two-hour painting project. Before you know it, you’re done!
#8: Distracted by a Cluttered Desk?
If you work well in a quiet, clean area, the visual noise around your workspace could be draining you of focus. Keep your desktop reserved for the task at hand. Clear your walls of notes and signs, and keep only necessary work tools nearby. When you don’t have reminders of other impending deadlines and responsibilities in front of your face, you can concentrate on completing your current project.
For many people, other people are the reason they cannot concentrate. If you have a job where people are constantly stopping by to talk to you, or work at home, make sure they know when it is and is not appropriate to meet with you. Set aside time just to work. Even 30 minutes of uninterrupted time will help you accomplish a lot. Also remember – they invented voice mail for a reason!
#10: Does Your Environment Compete with Your Focus?
Sometimes we are put in situations where we have no choice other than to force ourselves to concentrate in a noisy room or focus on a project with multiple distractions running around. If you find yourself in this situation, talk yourself through it. You don’t have to talk out loud – even the voices in your head can be very powerful. Say every word you see, and tell yourself about the project you’re working on. Before you know it you won’t even notice what is going on around you.