In order to stay focused, one should first know what focus is and why we need it so much. In fact, without it we can’t see any progress in life or get anything done properly. But with it, we can create remarkable things and do productive work that matters.
Focus is basically our ability to concentrate on one thing at a time, to eliminate everything else (the distractions) and to let our mind work on the current task in front of us.
It can be a big project at work, a test at university, performing an exercise at the gym, or a conversation with a friend. Whatever that is, focus is a big part of it. It helps us make the most of this activity, experience it truly, be present and pay attention to one thing (be it a person, task, or else).
However, with all the distractions around us these days finding focus becomes a difficult task. But as with everything else, it’s smarter and easier to first eliminate what’s unnecessary, so that only the essential is left.
In this case, let’s remove distractions in order to be able to stay focused throughout the whole day. But first, we need to identify these so that we can be aware of them.
Here are the main distractions in our daily life that prevent us from staying focused, and what to do to eliminate each:
4 Distractions to Eliminate to Stay Focused and Get Things Done
A common scenario is people entering the room/office or calling/texting you all the time while you’re trying to work.
They ask you stuff, want you to do something for them, want to see how you’re doing, to just chat, or to share something.
But in order to stay focused every day for at least a few hours, and to thus get closer to your goals in life all the time, you need to be ruthless with your most productive time.
So I say find when in the day you’re most productive, and be by yourself for that period without letting anyone distract you.
Stay focused by knowing no one would come or call you. The best solution is to simply tell them it’s important to you to work at that time. If they respect you and take you seriously, they won’t bother you.
If it’s urgent, then of course things would be different and you’ll react quickly. But most often people exaggerate and just need attention or simply to communicate with someone, although there’s not even anything essential to talk about.
Don’t let them waste your time and focus. Be ruthless with these two.
By the way, that’s also a pretty useful experiment. You’ll notice that some people may keep calling you or texting you all the time, or asking for favors, although it’s nothing important. That means they don’t really respect you or just don’t care at all. It’s a good thing to keep in mind.
2. Social media and email.
These come in one category. And it’s when you’re working on something online. Which almost anyone has to do daily.
You need to set some limits. Decide on a fixed time when you’ll check email (like twice a day – once in the morning, and once in the afternoon), and a certain part of the day when you’re allowed to indulge in social media (like after you’re done with your main work tasks).
3. Random thoughts.
Now that’s something we’re all familiar with.
When you really need to stay focused – regardless of the reasons and other factors – random thoughts start popping up in your mind and you can’t concentrate at all.
This is something you need to work on for some time. You need practice before you can be laser focused. But once you have it, you’ll get much more work done in less time. And that will save you so much time and worries in the future. So it’s worth the effort now to see such results.
One way to practice clearing your mind is meditation. All you need to do is stay still and try to focus on your breathing, or just on one thought (preferably a positive affirmation).
In the beginning you’ll find it hard to do even for a few minutes. But in a week or so you’ll see improvement.
Soon you’ll be able to empty your mind from past and future thoughts completely.
Yep, procrastination itself can be called a distraction too.
It’s when we start overthinking, wondering what to do first, finding excuses not to work on that right now, fearing we might fail, being in doubt, and so on. All these are forms of procrastination.
How to beat it?
The simplest way is to start working on the first thing on your to-do list right after you get out of bed. Otherwise, you’ll start doing something else first, and from there on your focus will be lost.
To stay focused you need to first start something. And for that to happen, you need to be prepared too.
Creating a to-do list the night before is one way. Also, try to think of the possible distractions that may come in the way in advance. And do something about them.
So that’s how you find focus and do productive work in a world full of distractions. It’s all about clarity. And another useful thing you can do is get clear about your specific goals, both in the long- and short-term.
Once you know how each task and activity will help you get closer to something you truly want, you’ll be motivated to start working on it and will be concentrated as much as you can.
How do you stay focused? What are the distractions you have to deal with all the time?