Focus – 3 Habits That help To Improve It

Don't let technology destroy your focus

Do you ever have those days where you don’t seem to get anything done? Distractions are something that we all encounter from time to time, destroying our focus and often impacting our ability to get our work done.

Focus - 3 Habits That to Improve It

In recent times we have become very good at inventing things that on the face of it, have been designed to make our lives easier and more productive, but in truth they often have the opposite effect. The internet, email and social media are prime examples of this trend. Distractions can also come in the human form being disguised as work colleagues, friends and even family members and all before we take into account self-imposed distractions, such as a lack of concentration, tiredness and just generally allowing our minds to wander.

In this article we will look at how we can use the technology of today in a way that is constructive without falling victim to its distractive qualities?

The strategies outlined below, if implemented on a daily basis, will help you to become both effective and efficient.

Set time limits and use a timer.

Do you find that checking email starts off as a 5 minute task and ends up taking 30 minutes of your time? or perhaps you have been doing some work related research and found yourself in explicably looking at holiday sites. We can improve our ability to focus by setting ourselves time limits. Ideally use the Pomodoro Technique, set a timer and work for periods of 25 minutes and have a 5 minute break at the end of every period. Using a timer will help you to focus on the task at hand. You may even find that you feel more relaxed as you’ll be focused on one thing and one thing only. Setting time limits and using a timer  will serve as a reminder and will force you to only check the most important things.

Close everything that isn’t needed.

Have a look at your screen now, how many windows or applications do you have open and how distracting are they? When concentrating on a task, close down everything on your computer that isn’t required for the task at hand. This includes all your email, social media and all the notifications associated with them, games, and blogs, in addition switch off your mobile and tablet. This may come as a surprise to you but when you switch everything back on you will find that all your messages will still be there when you’re done. One of the keys to being more effective is eliminating the things that make us less effective.

Focus on priorities for 10 seconds.

When trying to change your habits, you will have times when you will have an incredible urge to check your email, Facebook, or Twitter accounts. Don’t worry this is normal, however before you succumb to this urge, take 10 seconds and ask yourself if what you are about to do more important than the task you are currently focused on.

For many people the ability to focus has been largely lost. However, these habits if implemented, will go a long way to improving your focus and effectiveness at any task. It will be challenging at first, but you can do it. You can get more done, in less time, by learning to improve your focus and avoiding the things that waste your precious time.

Put these three habits into play starting today. You’ll be impressed by how much more you can get done!

In the next article we will talk about how to deal with human distractions.

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Till Next Time

Mike Gardner is The Time Doctor

Mike Gardner aka ‘The Time Doctor’ and is highly regarded as one of the UK’s leading Time Management and productivity specialists. As well as being regularly featured in both online and off-line media outlets around the world, he is the author of the best selling time management book, Business Owners: Your Family Misses You. He regularly speaks on topics that are congruent with his mission of helping small business owners, entrepreneurs and independent professionals to be incredibly productive, whilst still balancing their business and family commitments in a way that enables them to feel fulfilled and guilt-free. He is an avid Aston Villa fan, a Dad to Neil & Emma, a hubby to Wendy and in his role as an Officer with the reserve forces, he has completed operational tours of Iraq and Afghanistan.

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12 thoughts on “Focus – 3 Habits That help To Improve It

  1. Thanks Mike, this is something that I frequently have difficulty with. so thank you for this timely post…must start to use a timer it might just work!

  2. I now am fully convinces that you are watching me on a secret camera and are saying, “this old lady needs help” – I am certain this was written just for me. I now have to close some browsers, find a timer and revamp my day. Thanks, you are the best.
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  3. Great read, nice simple ideas I like your 10 second to focus on priorities. What do you think about To Do lists by the way i can find them helpful but also awfully daunting

    • Hi Rebecca, thanks for you kind comments, to do lists can work and left brain logical types love them but right brain creatives tend to find they can get overwhelming very quickly, I tend to suggest a happy medium, a master action list and an action today list which consists of no more than three items which must be either completed or progress made on by the end of the day