I’ll admit it— some days it seems next to impossible to focus. There are so many distractions, both online and off. I’ve had to work very hard to come up with a mindset and toolkit that allows me to focus on the work I need to do. You need to figure out what works for you.
There are so many options in front of you. How can you choose just one? There are endless paths you could take to become more successful. How do you know what the right path is? Then, how do you stick to it long enough to find true success?
The tools I’ve given you so far will start you off on the right foot. You know what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. You’re excited about the possibilities and you’re ready to get to the next level.
But the day to day is what holds you back. You’re off focus one day and promise you’ll catch up the next day. Then it happens again and again. Before you know it, the days are zooming by you and you won’t have made any progress. It’s all because you’re not able to fully focus on the work in front of you.
What’s the answer?
Planning Ahead Helps
First, it’s impossible to focus if you’re thinking of the million and one things you have to do. Should you work on this project or that project? That’s why planning ahead is so important— you need to make these decisions before the work day so you can just get started and breeze through your work during your precious work hours.
If you try to decide what you’re going to do and stew over it, you’ll get a lot less done. You’ll also be more tempted to do unimportant things like surfing the web or needlessly checking your email.
Promise yourself that you’ll start to plan ahead. Plan your day to day and be clear and firm about your to-do list. Get at least your top 3 priority tasks done each day. You’ll get an amazing amount done and you’ll be a lot more focused. The human mind can only handle so much— it may as well be high value tasks rather than a confused schedule with no clear plan.
Free Yourself from Distractions
How much work can you get done in a few hours? How much work can you get done in a full workday? How much work can you get done in 12 hours of work? Depending on your work style, you might overestimate or underestimate the amount of work you’ll do in a certain period of time. Usually, people overestimate it.
You have a full workday so you should be able to get a lot done, right? Well, not if you’re not focused. You might be distracted by people working around you, by your family members, by thoughts that you’d rather be doing something more fun, and by various social networks and websites. By the end of a full workday you might have gotten next to nothing accomplished.
Do what you can to free yourself from distractions. If you need to, there are browser add-ons you can install to block yourself from certain websites or tasks during peak work hours. This is a great way to retrain yourself to focus. You may have fallen into some poor work habits but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed.
Also consider where you do your work. It’s a dream of many to be able to work in a crowded Starbucks in the middle of the day, but maybe that’s much too distracting for you. Many people relish the thought of working from home and getting to stay home with their children, but maybe that’s too distracting for you. Many people believe they work best in an office environment, but what if it’s truly distracting and you’d be better off working from home?
We’re all different. Freeing yourself from distractions is not a one-size-fits-all process. You have to figure out your working style. Figure out what’s holding you back and then put measures into place so it’s not an issue anymore.
You have to train yourself to become more focused. The world’s most successful people can be successful in just about any environment because that’s what they’ve trained themselves to do. But you’re not there yet— you’re at the point where you need to practice focusing and not letting anything take you off course. The more successful you become, the more mindful you’ll be of what might hold you back. You’ll care so much about moving forward and getting great things accomplished that nothing will stand in your way.
Remind Yourself of Your Motivations
Nothing pushes you forward and helps you focus as well as having great motivation. You should be so motivated that nothing will stand in your way. You should feel like you’re on fire— like your success is inevitable.
If you don’t feel that way, it’s time to figure out why. It’s time to figure out what you’re true motivations are. You have to pump yourself up to achieve goals that will change your life. Then, you’ll have focus like you’ve never had before.
Have you ever started working and got so into it that it felt easy and you no longer noticed the passage of time? You want to enter into that state of flow whenever possible. Think of the last time that happened and brainstorm why that was. Try to recreate the environment and latch on to that mindset you had. Anything could be happening around you but nothing was going to take you off course.
Stay motivated and you’ll stay focused. Practice entering into a state of flow in your work where you’re totally absorbed and get incredible things done no matter what happens. You’ll be much happier, more productive, and a whole lot more successful.