|By Rebel Brown||
|April 3, 2014 10:44 AM EDT||
That’s why I’m sharing the practices and tools I used to get myself (and clients) back into focus and away from a nasty addiction to screens, multi-tasking and the scatterbrain program that’s rampant in our modern world.
How to Get Your Focus On
I’ve successfully retrieved my focus. I still have to work on it every day, but I’m finally back to my productive self. It was frustrating and at times. I wanted to throw in the towel and boot up my favorite Sci Fi series, sit on the couch and search the web with 10 open browser windows and chat with my Google+ buddies as I wrote and surfed. But I persisted. I’m grateful I did.
Getting our focus back is like creating a new habit. We want to create a habit to focus on our moment, our priorities and the task at hand. We want to break the habit of being interrupt-driven by the distractions (and perceived opportunities) all around us.
If you want to ditch your scatterbrain and regain your focus – here are the practices and tools I used to get my focus on.
- Put yourself in Learning State: One of the most powerful tools for focus I’ve ever found is right there in your mind. It’s called Learning State and you can trigger it yourself. Every morning I put myself into Learning State. It takes 2 minutes and the results are simply Outstanding. Here’s how to trigger your mind’s Learning State.
- Make a list and stick to it. I know you make lists. I did. But do you stick to them? Or do you allow yourself to flow through your day based on interrupts from your screens, your fellow workers and the world at large. Every morning, make your list of what you need to focus on that day. Then only do what’s on that list. When your list is finished you can do whatever you want. But focus on the list until it’s completed. While you’re at it – tell you unconscious mind that you want to ONLY focus on that list and ask it to ignore any and all distractions. Remember, your unconscious mind follows your directions.
- Shut down everything but what you are working on. Yes, I mean everything. If you’re writing a document, shut down everything but that program. If you’re writing an email, write the email and don’t check whatever comes in. Then shut down email when you’re done so you don’t have the distraction of new incoming emails. If you’re on a conference call, put everything down, turn off your screen and be on your conference call. Think you can do more things than listen? Your mind can’t. Your conscious mind can only process ~ 58/bits/second. So shut everything down except the one thing that requires your focus.
- Do one thing at a time. In a world filled with jugglers, the art of doing a single thing well has been maligned. Those who succeed multi-task, right? Not really. Any great writer, designer, leader, speaker, executive or worker will tell you that their key to great results is their ability to do one thing at a time and do it well. Sure there are times when you have to juggle. Focus on juggling and then go back to doing one thing at a time. You’ll get more done with higher quality. Plus you’ll train your mind in the habit of focus.
- Set a Timer. All work and no play makes anyone a dull unhappy soul. So give yourself the time to go surf all the sites to find out what you’ve missed in the last two hours. Just do it within limits. Set a timer and stick with it. I give myself 15 minutes a couple of times a day to check social media, google that new horse accessory I want or read the news (from sources I trust, not mass media.) So let your mind go wander, and when the buzzer rings go back to focus.
- Block out times in your day. Even with the timer idea I still wanted more time to search and research. So I began to create blocks of time in my day that I could essentially waste, browsing, searching, staring at realtor.com wondering where my buyers are. So I gave myself a block of time to do just that. First thing in the morning after I do my daily meditations and mind magic, I spend 30 minutes cruising the web. Whatever I want to google, read, share – I get to do it then. Once that 30 minutes is over, I’m done for the day, except for a couple of 5 minute windows for social media and other distractions. Then it’s back to focus.
Then there’s an amazing tool I use call BrainWave. This program (available for mobile devices) puts the power of neuroscience to use in training our minds through sound. The package consists of 30 programs, designed to do everything from giving you an afternoon Espresso Shot to increasing your Creativity to programming your mind to be Focused and Alert. Needless to say, I use the last one a lot.
You can find more information about BrainWave for Apple devices here.
But I Have to….
If you’re like me, you’ll have a knee-jerk reaction about how you need that time on Google + and Twitter, or you’ll rationalize why social media and email are so important to your success in life. Or there’s that infatuation with that television show that shares how Real Housewives behave.. You deserve the mental break, right? Uh huh.
Here’s my challenge to you.
Turn off the television, social media, email and anything else that distracts you. Limit your time exposed to any of these programs or forms of entertainment. And I do mean limit. Forget hours, think in minutes.
Take a break for just one month. Take that time to practice regaining your focus.
Then check back and see if you still feel that same necessity and importance about that 140 character message or Survivor episode.
Let me know how you do. I’d love to hear your stories!
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