Focus

focusI’m not good at focusing.

Want proof? In the process of trying to write this blog, I:

  • Watched four YouTube videos
  • Created a playlist on Spotify called “Focus Schmocus”
  • Checked Twitter about 100 times
  • Read basically the entire Internet

Finally, I decided to just make that the beginning of this blog. Because I bet I’m not alone.

Our world seems perfectly designed to distract us. Obviously, the Internet is a miracle—a focus-killing, productivity-demolishing modern wonder.

But it’s not just technology that distracts us. Even the shimmering sunshine and the songs of birds can send our minds wandering. (Way to go, birds. I’m putting you on notice.)

So how can we be expected to focus and get stuff done? Here are five tips I’ve gathered from more focused people, and a couple others that have worked for me in the past.

1. Set a Timer

You’ve probably heard of a power hour. It’s a great productivity tool, and you can apply the same concept to any amount of time.

Just set aside the time and give yourself the pressure of a deadline. It will help you focus on the task at hand.

Bulldog Puppy in a Frog Outfit.2. Turn Off the Internet

Pull the plug. Turn off your wi-fi. Work on—gasp!—actual paper.

Do whatever it takes to remove the distraction of the Internet.

Once you’ve removed the temptation of pet-costume videos, focus suddenly becomes easier.

So if your task isn’t totally dependent on the Internet, go cold turkey.

3. Make a List

Lists are great for a few reasons.

  • You’re writing something down, which is like making a commitment to yourself.
  • Lists force you to prioritize and help you focus your effort on what really needs to get done.
  • Most importantly, you get to cross things off. Sometimes, I’ll make a list of things I’ve already done just so I can cross stuff off. It’s that good.

4. Remember Your Goals

Goals don’t accomplish themselves. There are a lot of tasks that need to be completed along the way.

But having that goal—remembering why you’re putting in the work—will help you focus on the tasks standing between you and success.

5. Start with Something PhysicalExercise Square

Our minds and bodies work together pretty well. So get some blood flowing.

Take a walk. Exercise. Stretch or do yoga. Getting your body involved and burning off some nervous energy can help your mind focus.

If you made it this far without succumbing to the temptations of the web, congratulations! You’re already ahead of the game.

So what other tips do you have for staying focused?

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