Now that you’ve assimilated the elements of weekly planning, such as the habit of putting first things first, you need to master the art of staying focused to consistently nail your goals.
But how do you stay more focused? Here are some strategies to keep your eyes on the prize.
1. Prepare your day the night before
It may sound like a cliché, but preparing your day right is close to ending it as you expected it to be. Preparing your day the night before it is probably the easiest way to reduce fatigue.
There’s a huge gap between being busy and being productive. To avoid ending up not accomplishing anything after a long day, you have to set everything straight.
2. Do the hardest things first
Stop procrastinating and start doing. And if possible, do the difficult things first. The difficult ones are always the least we want to do. That is why we must do it first among many other tasks of the day.
If not, you’ll end up not ticking that off your list. Delaying its completion means adding workload the next day when in fact you could have longer periods of rest then. The shorter it stays on your plate, the better.
3. Eliminate distractions and time wasters
Discipline is about controlling your behavior in accordance with your vision and values. With discipline, you set your mind directly to the goal, not giving room for any distraction.
Sharon Salzberg once said, “Distraction wastes our energy, concentration restores it.”
And, concentration comes with discipline. If we avoid distractions and time wasters, we end up finishing tasks earlier or as planned.
4. Manage your energy
They say that time management is all about energy management.
That’s why it’s best to know the amount of energy you need to use and when exactly to use them so you can distribute your energy in a timely manner.
Do not multitask. You’ll end up exhausted and not getting things done by the end of the day.
5. Set reminders for your most important priorities
The necessary tasks come first. You should be consistent in terms of what to prioritize until it becomes a habit.
But it’s easier said than done because it’s very easy to forget your priorities. This is where reminders come in.
Set reminders for your priorities. You can do this by leveraging the power of your smartphone or laptop.
There are plenty of apps that you can download to help you get started.
6. Write a not-to-do list
This may come as a surprise for some, but it’s pretty effective.
If you’re a big fan of to-do lists, then you should consider writing a not to-do list, which is essentially a list of things that you shouldn’t be doing, like watching TV or playing games.
When you write a not-to-do list, you’re freeing yourself from things that could stress you out.
7. Practice meditation
Meditation is one of the best ways to improve your focus. It calms your mind, renews your energy, and keeps you focused on what truly matters.
Studies show that meditation eliminates stress and prevents you from experiencing a breakdown.
Consider taking yoga lessons or try installing meditation apps on your phone.
8. Practice essentialism
Essentialism is the deliberate practice of saying no and focusing only on what is truly important.
It focuses on the priority, not the priorities. It’s about doing less, not more.
Greg McKeown puts it best:
“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done, it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing what is only essential.”
In addition to meditation, exercise is a great way to improve your focus.
Moving around circulates blood throughout your body, especially to your brain, which gets to function the most.
Exercise releases endorphins or ‘happy hormones’ which make you alert and active all day.
10. Try the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s.
This method uses a timer and breaks down tasks with an allotted time of 25 minutes each with short breaks in between.
There are applications in some websites that you could download and if you want to learn more about how this technique is done.
11. Avoid multitasking
Multitasking is a big NO if you want to stay laser-focused on our goals.
Juggling too many tasks altogether drains your energy and diverts your attention, making room for distractions.
Most likely, you’d end up not completing your tasks for the day.
12. Say no
The yes guy appears accommodating and helpful, but deep inside, he’s super stressed, tired and out of focus. The lesson? Don’t be a yes guy. Say a lot of noes.
When you know you can’t do it effectively and efficiently, just simply say no.
A single task perfectly executed is always better than a good number of flawed and unfinished ones.
13. Work offline
While technology has connected us to the world, it left many of us distracted. That’s why it’s important to use technology only to your advantage.
In other words, use technology only when it benefits you.
Social media, online games, on-demand music, sand videos are perfect examples of the ironies of technology. If you want to supercharge your focus, try working offline.
Go to some place where there is no Internet. You’ll be amazed at how effective this strategy is.
All of these tactics are effective in helping you stay more focused.
Use them consistently until such time that doing them becomes spontaneous like breathing.
Finally, make them good habits that die hard.
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