Today’s generation has the shortest attention span ever. I would even bet one would not be even able to get past the 2nd paragraph here without getting distracted by a notification on another social network while reading this.
It’s tough for many of us to stay focused because everything is at our fingertips or a voice command away.
A distraction is something that we’ve created by training ourselves via repetition, becoming a habit. When we wake up, we’re distracted by our phone, the news, our kids, our surroundings and we stay in this state throughout our entire day. It’s tough.
Of course, with the same way that we’ve trained ourselves to be distracted, we can also “untrain” ourselves. Here are 7 keys to improving your focus.
- Spend 5 minutes making a to-do list upon waking up:
Make a top 5-10 list of things that you want to get done, even if you know that you’re probably not going to get through some of it, and then circle the 3 most important things. Write these 3 things down and keep them in your back pocket throughout the day so that you can be reminded. It doesn’t matter how many things you get done, what matters is the importance of the tasks, and how you’re prioritizing them.
- Accomplish 1 positive task first:
Complete the number one thing that you need to do first. It’s probably not going to be something you want to do, but psychologically, when you’ve got that thing out of the way it makes the rest of your day so much easier. It’s also a win first thing in the morning so you’ll feel more accomplished and productive. My first task besides fixing my bed is doing this quick exercise routine (100 jumping jacks, 100 squats, 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups/crunches). I started with doing 25 each then adding 5 more, to challenge me more.
- Set your primary intentions for the day:
Figure out what your daily mission is every day.
People have a problem saying yes to things that they don’t need to. When you have a daily mission, then it allows you to focus on that and make choices based on that mission.
- Make fewer decisions:
Decision making takes up so much energy and that means you’re not showing up 100% in the day.
How can you set up your life to make fewer decisions and spend more time executing instead of thinking? One of the things I did was minimize my clothing options. Less colors and more focus to quality.
- Turn off your notifications during daytime:
People are addicted to their notifications as shown in the Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma”. The only way I get a notification is if you call or text me. I’ve turned off notifications on all devices so that it doesn’t distract me and I can get to them when it’s time. I’m a person who is fully engaged and active on social media because that’s part of my work, but I’m a prime example of someone who sees the importance of social media, just not the notifications it gives me constantly. If it’s a social media message someone sent, it probably isn’t that important or urgent that I need to answer while I’m doing my current task, especially during my 3 hour focus window every morning. Just think of it this way, if someone needs something from you, and it’s really that important, they will either call you or send you a real text message at least. A comment or a like on the photo you posted yesterday on fb or IG isn’t worth a notification for you to check and reply right away. It just makes the person desperate for attention. Lesser phone time, more living time.
- Listen to binaural beats or focus music playlists:
People are less likely to walk up to you if you’re wearing headphones, you don’t hear other conversations and therefore you create a bubble for yourself. Binaural beats or focus music is great because it helps us focus, but you can choose any music just as long as it doesn’t have any lyrics. Lyrics are a form of distraction, it adds to your subconscious thinking.
- Work out for at least 10 to 15 minutes a day:
It has been proven by research that people who worked out at least 10 to 15 minutes before completing a task, completed that task faster because their brain and bodies had already produced the chemicals of actions. If you’re having a slow day, I suggest you set aside just 10-15 minutes to get your body into action which will switch your brain into action mode.
Question of the day: How do you focus?