We do thousands of things every day: from making our beds to making important decisions. Obviously some tasks demand a greater focus than others, especially since most of our basic, civilized survival depends on the daily work we do or job we have.
(Unless you’re thrown in the Hunger Games, then that probably requires some survival and functional fitness too, am I right?)
Here are 7 ways to achieve greater focus (pay attention):
- Set a purpose or outcome.
Make it very clear what it is you want to accomplish or have completed. Setting a time domain on it will also give it more urgency (this can be adjusted).
- Visualize yourself doing what you need to do.
This doesn’t mean you should overthink it and psych yourself out. Take 30-60 seconds and literally map out what you need to do, where you need to be (you might not even be in the right setting to begin with–then move!) and the steps you need to take. Depending on the magnitude of the task, this could include visualizing things that may go wrong and visualizing possible solutions.
- Avoid multitasking at all costs.
This is a given. If you want to focus–do NOT do anything else but the ONE task in front of you. Obviously there are exceptions to emergencies and etc. AVOID THE EVER SO TEMPTING MULTITASKING BUSINESS! (The only exception to this would be to have a sip of coffee or listen to music in the meantime).
- Devote serious time on the task.
If it’s a small task, you may need a good 10-20 minutes of focus. If this is a bigger one, or a long-term project, you will have to carve out time in the future to get this focused on it again. (Do this after you spent time on it today, since you won’t be multitasking 🙂
- Disregard what people think.
Of course, nobody wants to look like a fool, but if you are exerting too much energy on what people think of what you then you’re not focused enough. Disregard what they think, dig for that inner confidence, and if you don’t SHINE in the limelight the first time, who cares, but at least you were committed enough to give it 100% and it wasn’t half-assed.
- Breathe when you need a moment. Breathe–period.
This might be when you start thinking about what others think, about wanting to check your e-mails, or feel burdened with how much time or effort this task might actually take. Chill out; have a sip of water, and breathe in and out slowly for 5-10 deep breaths. If you’re straight up overwhelmed, walk away for a moment, breathe, then get re-focused. (If you’re in the midst of running for claiming all your weapons in the middle of the Games, then you better be breathing–those muscles are counting on it..)
- Sometimes you just have to do the damn thing.
Other crap that makes us unfocused: procrastination and self-doubt. You just. don’t. have time for it. GET started, and BELIEVE in your abilities. This is probably why I love Nike so much–they have subtly engrained in my mind to simply “Just Do It”. Really though; if you want to get things done.. if you want to accomplish something every day, or every week–just do the damn thing already.
Photo Credit: Sal Ursino