Why Focus is Important
As a human being, our existence is finite. As such, our time is our most valuable resource. How we choose to spend that time, therefore, is what will ultimately define our lives. In order to spend our time wisely, we must focus, so that it it is not then about how much time we spend working, but how effective we are when working.
If we are unfocused and just plain erratic in our methods of getting things done under the guise of multitasking, nothing will be achieved. Anything that you do manage to complete will not be you at your full potential, either.
With so many distractions in the world we live in: the constant stream of social media and emails, it has become harder to focus on the task at hand.
As a result, this constant barrage of information only serves to fracture our focus, making it impossible to be present and in the moment.
Distraction is a thief that steals from us our chance for deeper thought and reflection. Reflective thoughts are required to achieve great things: it’s where our original ideas and unique thoughts reside. Distraction is a buzzy chatter that shouts over these thoughts, which need peace and quite in your mind in order to be heard.
We need to shut off the noise.
How to Focus
One of the best techniques for achieving the maximum level of focus is to Time Block. Breaking your time up into blocks where you are entirely focused on one thing, one goal, can set you up for high output. It is ideal for creating high quality work in writing, strategising, creating, and perfecting a skill.
The mind needs space in order to create intelligent ideas, but this cannot come from a mind already filled with erratic thoughts. You need to cut off your social media – your personal distraction hub – which will result in more concentrated focus and a more potent vision.
Time Blocking in 90 minute segments, with a 5-10 minute break around the 40-minute mark is what I’d like to suggest to you. As you probably know, adults much like kids have a limited concentration span, which is around the 40-minute mark. Taking a break for a breath of fresh air, a healthy snack, stretching your legs in a short walk, will mean you return to your work refreshed. It is important to stay away from checking social media and the internet during this break period, instead letting your mind be quite and let it sink deeper into your ideas. This will keep you focused and in the flow.
You may need to switch off your phone, or at least put it on silent in an alternative room from you. If you have a do-not-disturb option, switch it on. There are also apps that can help you to focus, such as Self Control (Mac only). I use this app, and it works almost too well 🙂 From the time that you set it to start working, and then for the duration you want to be working for (keep it realistic), you will not be able to access sites such as Facebook, Twitter, BoredPanda and more. There is a pre-made list, but you can chop and change it as you need to. And you know what? You will be completely unable to access those sites for the time you have set – even if you restart your computer, even if you uninstall the program. You will have some self control, whether you want to or not 😀
There are also other options such as Focus Me which does much the same thing for both PC and Mac computers.
I have found that I have really benefited from leaving behind the constant stream of social updates and incoming new emails. Just to make sure I wasn’t imagining it, I went back to constantly tapping in to see what was going on in the world. I found I became annoyed by the politics, which interrupted the flow of my work, as well as becoming entangled in other people’s agendas. While it is okay to check in occasionally, perhaps once only in the morning after you have done your first time block of the day ( which is what I do when I am being highly productive) and once in the evening after you have done your last or second to last time block. If you are constantly being updated then you are never updating your own work or life.
As such, I recommend that you set aside a specific time, once per AM and PM, that you check in with the world and your social group. When those specific times are, is completely up to you.