5 Ways to Optimize your Focus for Achieving your Life Goals
Focus is the magical component that makes or breaks any endeavor. Be it personal or professional or recreational, if your mind is scattered, you are not going to achieve or get things done, no matter how talented or skilled you are.
If sunlight is focused through a lens and targeted to some dry leaves or paper, it will catch fire after a while. But a scattered sunlight cannot do that.
When you focus your energy and efforts, your life too begins to change its state. No matter how talented or creative you are, only focused work can take you to the next level.
Focus must be cultivated as a habit instead of a rare mental state which comes and goes. Here are some habits to help you increase focus in your day to day life.
1.To do lists
Start maintaining a to do list for managing various things you need to get done. Write down even the little things that would pop up in your memory, that you need to do.
Remember not to have too many to do lists. For example, arrange them as personal, professional and other. These three basic divisions must be enough to cover all the things you would usually do. Moreover, identifying the category in which a task falls in, will help you to understand how to prioritize it.
Another significant aspect of managing a to do list is finding out what all tasks you can delegate and what all tasks you must do yourself. If you can pass off a task to someone else, do it. The lesser amount of tasks you have the greater the quality of your work will be. And, the extra time you get can be used for doing things that only you can do in this world. Moreover, delegating tasks is one of the most important skills you must develop for successfully managing your time.
When you get into the habit of properly maintaining and managing a to do list, anxiety and stress will subside. When you write down that task in your list, you know that it is going to get done and it stops popping up every few minutes. This will improve your focus. Scattered thoughts on things to do will derail your focus. Tod o list will collect all these untamed thoughts neatly on a page for proper attention.
2.Daily monthly weekly planners
Plan your days, weeks, months and years. Even if the plan may not work exactly as you wanted it to, plan will help you to focus your efforts on your original intention.
Drifting through days will eventually end up in drifting through your whole life. If that is not what you want, start getting hold of your days and years immediately by planning them.
There will be different areas of your life, you might want to plan- professional plans, personal plans and others.
Non planners often run into the risk of several important tasks colliding at the same time. And choosing one over the others will be stressful creating bad vibes.
Divide your time according to your goals and use daily, weekly, monthly and yearly planners effectively. Plan when you will do what. Your life is your time here. Do not let it be hijacked by things that don’t matter to you.
If you have planned your day, and some other task comes up and you don’t want to do it, the plan will remind you to stay focused on your own path. And, if you do want to do it, you can efficiently add it to another time pocket. This will help you to increase the quality and focus of your work.
Also remember, nothing might actually go as you planned. But you will get most tings done, if you have a plan. Plans also helps you to prioritize and aware of your own intentions. When you are entering a task in the daily planner, observe what you feel. It will speak volumes on how interested you are in the task. Proper planning of time will increase your focus, because you can be confident that every task has a specific time devoted to it.
Experiment with different combinations of to do lists
3.Internet and Technology Diet
Internet is a beautiful forest where you may lose direction if you are not alert. There are so many amazing things online. But, it can turn into the largest parasite of your time and focus if you are unaware of how you spend your time online.
It is utterly important to be aware of how you use internet and technology in this era, where it is growing and evolving as larger than the humankind itself.
Looking at the phone every five minutes to check if someone pinged you or drifting away in the never ending scrolling pages of Facebook or Instagram derails your life’s plans to oblivion.
Keep a schedule for spending time in the internet. When you are involved in your task, do not attend phone calls or respond to messages and emails unless it is some emergency. Have specific time once or twice a day to respond to emails and messages.
Do the work that matters first, and then devote time for other correspondences. Too much time with technology tends to drain out all the good energy and leaves you lethargic. So, spend the fresh energetic time doing tasks that are significant for achieving your goals.
If you can, hire an assistant to screen and manage your calls. If you cannot, ask a family member to help you to have the time on your own. This will help you to free yourself of the thoughts of what might come up when you are in the middle of something.
4.Guarding the quality of your time
Span of your life equals the span of the time available to you. Unlike anything else, you cannot create it or transfer it. It goes on one second per second. So, guarding your time means guarding your life.
Focus depends on fruitful spending of time. If you are interrupted every five minutes while doing something, the work is not going to get done. Also it is a huge task to refocus every time after the unwanted interruptions. You lose the flow of work.
Find out how you spend your time and the quality of time you have for important tasks. Switch off the phone and internet. Or close the door, to get quality time for your task at hand. The continuity of focus is supremely important for the quality of work. Before you dive into your work, check how much time you have and what might be the probable interruptions.
Tell your family members to not interrupt you while doing the task. You can achieve this only if you establish this as a habit. You might find resistance from several fronts if you have not done this before. Just be patient and do it anyway. Eventually, you will start getting quality time to focus on your work. This is specially applicable to people who work from home.
5.Practice to say NO
If there is a magical word that could end all your time loss miseries, it would be the word ‘NO’. We all have lost hundreds and thousands of hours just because we couldn’t say NO.
There might be so many reasons for the inability to refuse to do something. The first one is not knowing how to say it without hurting the person who asks for your time. We are so cautious not to hurt or disappoint others, that we accept the hurt ourselves. Or we may be afraid of a conflict that might arise or need approval from the person asking for our time.
The best way to overcome this predicament is to know how to politely say you cannot do something. This is a significant communication skill to master, if you need to guard your time and spend it on tasks important to you. There is nothing bad with helping and spending time for those who deserve. The main thing to remember is to maintain a balance between your tasks and the assistance you offer others.
Observe, why you are hesitant to refuse something. Accepting all requests that comes your way might have grown into a firm habit in you. Find out why you cannot say ‘no’, and analyze it for finding a balance. If you do not care for your time, you will have too many things to do. Too much task is a major reason that scatters focus. So, learn to guard your time by saying ‘no’ to the tasks that doesn’t truly need your assistance.
There you have five excellent habits to begin, that will help you build your focus on those activities you are destined to do in life. Begin from here. You will eventually find your own style and challenges.
Remember to do these, even if you are doing them imperfectly. If you make mistakes or skip, or if you somehow relapse into old patterns, be kind to yourself and simply get back to the habit. Eventually, you will find your way. Master the habit of focusing, and spend your life as yours.