May 27 2016
Ask any expert, ultra-successful person, or even professional athlete what the key component to their achievement is, and they will probably mention focus pretty quickly. But too often, people equate focus with effort, and think if they just work harder or TRY more, their focus will improve and help get the results they want. That couldn’t be further from the truth, as having desire and effort without focus is like having a million dollar sail boat – without the sail. So how can we improve and expand our focus, boosting productivity, efficiency, and ultimately helping us achieve what we really want? There are many more strategies and techniques so contact me if you’re serious about achieving your goals, but to get started here are great 10 ways to improve your focus:
- Our focus determines our reality,
Positive thinking is not just a self-help mantra – it’s scientific fact. Our thought really do determine our reality, so it’s vital that we focus on the right thoughts that will help us achieve our goals and live healthier lives. It takes practice, but there is no better way to manifest what you want to achieve than setting your focus.
- Dwell on solutions, not problems
Too often, our thinking revolves sounds like “I’m overweight – I need to get in shape,” “I need to get a job that pays me better so I’m not always struggling,” or “I wish I could stop smoking.” But do you recognize that all of those thoughts are based around the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION? Try rephrasing your thoughts when they pop up to solutions and you’ll be amazed the switch that’s flipped in your life.
- Take time off to recharge
Just like your physical energy, your focus has limits and needs to be recharged. So make sure to take some down time when you are NOT trying to concentrate. Exercise, meditation, time with family, taking a long walk outdoors, pursuing your hobbies, and even a quick nap are great ways to recharge your focus.
- Preparation improves focus
You studied before every test in school and college (I hope!), and preparing adequately to prepare and organize before your workweek, busy day, or even for your quarterly goals will vastly improve your focus when it’s time to execute that plan. It’s estimated that every hour you spend in preparation will actually save you two to three hours in time saved and improved performance through better focus.
- Don’t multitask
The human brain evolved to properly focus on one thing at a time, and research studies prove again and again that our performance actually diminished and we’re prone to make far more mistakes when juggling several tasks at the same time.
In fact, the Psychonomic Bulletin and Review showed that only about 2.5% of people are able to effectively multi-task and still function correctly.
- Make lists
The average person has so much information swirling around in their head, and is further over stimulated and bombarded by messages all day. No wonder we get stressed out, distracted, and can’t sleep – or focus – properly! The easiest way to solve this is to get organized and start making lists, about what you have to do at work, home, with the family, scheduling, etc. Doing so will free up your mental energy for the task at hand – including sleeping better so you’ll think more clearly in the morning.
- Now prioritize
Successful people don’t have less to do than the rest of us. In fact, they are exponentially busier! But they understand how sharpen their focus on what they want to achieve and get more quality work done than any two other people combined. How do they do it? They understand how to make time work for them and concentrate on the most impotent things in their life, prioritizing what requires their full focus.
- Find your productive routine
Research shows that the most focused people follow a routine when they’re working or chasing their goals. That might mean scheduling early morning activities, going to the same coffee shop at the same time to work, and even following the same sequence – all of which will help you lock in and concentrate. And remember that a productive routine means taking plenty of breaks to go take a walk, exercise, do some housework, or take a nap. Just be sure to schedule your exact work times so you’ll turn it into a focused sprint, not an open-ended half-speed marathon.
- Create an environment that fosters focus
If you want to be laser focused on the task at hand, your routine should include turning off social media, setting auto-responders for email and phone, sitting in a comfortable chair at an uncluttered desk, and even listening to the right kind of music. Research has shown that certain kinds of music actually improve cognitive function and the ability to concentrate and focus. (The Soviets used to have their spies in training listen to classical music while they studied and trained.)
- Lock in a crystal clear goal
If achieving your life’s dreams (or just getting through day-to-day life!) is like a race, then think of unfocused people as running as fast as they can but without knowing where the finish line is. You can imagine how a lack of a clear finish line – or specific measurable goal – can negate all other effort and talents. No wonder why most people become exhausted, frustrated, overwhelmed, and stop running the race all together! Setting crystal clear goals with a plan to achieve them that includes actionable, measurable steps is a huge component of locking in your focus and getting what you want!