Wouldn’t it be great if we could just take a magic pill and “Poof” we had total focus of the mind on whatever it is that we were doing. Unfortunately that is not a viable remedy but with a few simple tricks I have presented here, you can improve our ability to focus dramatically. Focus is like any muscle in our body, it has to be trained, developed and exercised. I can teach you the mechanics of Steph Curry’s jump shot but if you don’t develop the skill and execute that which you have learned through constant practice then you ain’t gonna shoot like Steph Curry. Thankfully, learning how to focus your mind is much easier than that.
1. Create the Right Environment
I put this as my number one item because environment is such a key to making the rest of the steps not only easier but effective. What environment means is basically you have to be comfortable, even more so you have to enjoy being in your work area. It is a personal decision and if your lucky you can design your own work area but you can still do a few things to create a comfortable environment even if you don’t have complete control. Here are a few things that can make a difference in your environment.
- Your chair – you have to be comfortable if you are sitting for most of the day bring your own chair if you can’t find a good one in the office. Your comfort begins here.
- Your surrounding Visuals – surround yourself with what pleases you either aesthetically or with inspiration. Flowers or family pictures etc.
- Your equipment – most of us know what we like in the way of keyboards, desk space or monitors. These usually fall within your own control so set them up in a way that is comfortable and promotes healthy ergonomics
- Headphones – This leads into the next topic, sound and focus but if that person in the next cubical is the ultra bother, these are necessary.
2. Sound and Focus
I am a person who loves music, but can’t always work well with music, especially if it is not my kind of working music. In the topic before I mentioned headphones. Not only is this a method of escape from the annoying coworker but if music or sounds in general (streams, rain, seashore, birds etc) are your thing, wearing headphones allows an even deeper connection to that music or meditative sound. If it is not a deterrent then it can be an extremely powerful vehicle to help quiet the mind and block out whatever distractions keeping you from your complete attention to your work. I have found that music is sometimes distracting to me if I am doing more cerebral work, such as research, reading and creating posts and in that instance I like to use a website called Brain.fm. It has amazing background sound that has been developed to help you focus on your work or to meditate, sleep or just relax.
3. Interest and Enthusiasm
I cannot stress this topic enough. This is one of the main reasons why you hear “Follow your Passion” time and time again. Even if you are doing something you love to do at various points along that journey it will reach a point of it becoming work and if you do not have enough Interest and enthusiasm to see it through or your only motivation is to make money, it will most likely die out. If you are having a hard time with what it is you want to do in life or what your niche is, read How Does Wealthy Affiliate Work and see what opportunities are out there for you.
However, your interest and enthusiasm in a project or job or business will also increase your focus. I am sure you have experienced diving into an activity you love to do and two hours later you have no idea where that time went. This is the true sense of focus. It is the positive side of what some of my friends call a blackout. Hours go by you have no idea where they went yet you have accomplished a ton of work. Do you see this happening much if it is a task you don’t find very exciting or worse you dread? I am pretty sure you don’t. Love what you do or change it now.
4. Long or Quick Breaks Clear Mental Blocks and Reset Focus
There are a couple of different reasons for this topic. The first being the most obvious, for healthy mental and physical reasons you just need a break fairly consistently. Even if you love what you are doing, you need to detach, if for just a few minutes to close your mind and body and rejuvenate your energy. I take a break at least every couple of hours whether I feel like it or not and inevitably I come back raring to go with a renewed enthusiasm and desire to get the job done and done well.
The second reason as it pertains to focus is something that has worked for me so many times and to this day is still absolutely phenomenal when it does. I will be working so hard on a solution to something I am working on. I could be a technical issue or creative one or one of pure curiosity but I am stuck. There seems to be no solution whatsoever to be found in the recesses of my grayest matter. Almost without fail when I stop, walk away, engage in something completely different (usually something relaxing like a walk or watch a show or read a book) for a fair amount of time, usually 30 minutes to an hour, I always come back and for some reason I seem to find the answer. Somehow I get past the block and here’s the kicker, I swear 90% o the time, the answer is a very simple one. One that I should have thought of before but there was a block in my focus and I couldn’t see it until I took a break.
5. Benchmarks are the Key
I left this for last because for me it is the only thing that drives me. Create benchmarks to achieve on a regular basis, maybe 7 – 10 a day. I don’t care how small, in fact most of the time, my goals, tasks or Benchmarks are small and simple because I like to tick them off. The more I tick off the more I mentally feel I have accomplished. Have you ever noticed (anyone who asks this questions knows darn well you have so it’s really a dumb technique but we love our colloquialisms) when you go on vacation the days or hours before you are so focused getting stuff done like you don’t do in your normal course of life? Well it is the same with benchmarks. When I look at a list of things you need to get done that day, first of all you have a map of your day, second of all, if you are anything like me there is nothing like ticking those tasks off. Especially the ones you do every day. I found a great FREE app that gives you all the task listing and completion you will ever need. Todoist It should make a huge difference in how you focus your mind.
Now you can Focus your Mind Whenever you Choose
Now you know that focus is really a choice, skill and the execution of that skill. It is a talent that can be developed with a few simply techniques to get you back to your focus if you find yourself getting scattered. It comes down to how important is it to be productive. Productivity is not the end all be all for happiness or contentment but it does give you a sense of accomplishment, satisfaction and gratitude. I think those three things bring you a lot of happiness. Accomplishment because you are getting things done, satisfaction because of the progress you make as a result of getting things done and finally but most importantly gratitude for being given the gift of purpose, the reason why you develop focus in the first place.