Absentmindedly, you reach for your phone. You open your favorite app. Nothing has changed since you last did this 10 minutes ago, but you forgot that you had just done this. So, you open a different app… but you were just there, too. Does this sound familiar?
Sometimes, we convince ourselves we are super productive by staying up to date with the latest news and happenings on social media and responding to emails immediately. The reality of the matter, though, is you are distracting yourself from more important things.
When you are at work, your focus should be on work. When you are at home your focus should be on your home life. It’s time to take back control.
No More Notifications
Open your phone settings right now and go in and turn off notifications. You do not need an update about who sent what Tweet yesterday, but it is time for you to see it now. You do not need a constant stream of distressing news updates breaking your focus. Check your social media at set times, do the same for email, and ignore it the rest of the time.
A Healthy Routine
You can improve your focus by establishing a healthy daily routine. When you set your routine and get used to it, you do not have to waste time thinking about what comes next. It is why people like Steve Jobs did, and Mark Zuckerberg wear the same outfit.
What does your day look like? What is on your to-do list? The best way to avoid distractions is to rank your tasks in order of priority. It can be overwhelming when you think about all of the things you need to do. By putting them in order, you remove the stress and overwhelm.
Say No To Multitasking
Are you a multitasker? If yes, are you good at it? If yes, you are wrong. Sorry. Your attempt at multitasking slows you down, reducing your productivity, and you are not doing each task as well as you could be. By multitasking, you contribute to distractions.
When your schedule is going haywire, it is challenging to take a moment for yourself when the world throws distractions in your face. However, renewal is vital. As your energy dips, memory is fading, and you can feel the stress creeping in, you must withdraw from that and take time to regenerate.
Distractions come in all shapes and sizes and can ruin even the best laid of plans and intentions. Some distractions you cannot help or ignore (fire alarms or crying babies), but many of our daily interruptions can be. Keep reading for five simple steps to minimize and eliminate disturbances that keep you from focusing on what matters most.
Turn Off Notifications
We love notifications from our phones, from our computers, from everything. Turn them off. You do not need to know every time you get a like or a retweet. You can also turn off notifications from other apps (health, email, news, coupons) and do the same with messages that come from your computer for emails and ads. It will significantly lower the number of distractions you will have throughout the day.
Put Away Your Phone
If at all possible, put your phone on silent or away for a set amount of time. You will no longer have the temptation to check in needlessly every few moments, and when it does go off, you will not know it. The vast majority of messages received throughout the day do not need immediate responses anyways. If you still worry about missing important calls or texts, change your settings to allow notifications and calls from specific people.
Only Necessary Programs
If you are working on your computer, be sure only to have open the necessary programs for your project. Are you working on a spreadsheet? Close your email and internet browser. Closing the unneeded programs will limit distractions, and having the programs you need already opened will save you time and energy.
Clear All the Clutter
Clutter comes in many forms, physical clutter on your desk, visual clutter (notes stuck to your monitors), or mental clutter. Get everything put up, cleaned up, and out of your head so you can focus on your task at hand and not worry about distractions.
Prepare Your Needs
Preparing your needs is about setting up your environment. Make sure your room is the right temperature or that you have a blanket if you tend to get cold. Ensure you have a beverage, a snack, and any other tools or supplies you will need. Having everything ready means you will not be leaving your work area frequently to get distracted and wander off.
Taking a few moments to prepare yourself and your work area can go a long way in helping you to maintain focus and complete projects promptly. Looking around your room, what steps can you take now to eliminate distractions?
Until next time, please stay safe, and keep the faith.
Humans are not good at multitasking, despite what many will tell you. They end up doing a bunch of tasks poorly. We are not machines and therefore can not slice up the time in ways that will be the most productive. Computers are pretty good at doing this, but humans are not at all.
You may be able to get away with doing two items at the same time. But, remember, most tasks will require full attention, and it is impossible to do them simultaneously. Even computers have to emulate multitasking when the number of functions required is greater than the number of processors. However, they do everything in an entirely programmatic way. So, they know how to handle the emulated multitasking.
If you can use computers to do multiple tasks, that can help you get more done in less time. However, you still will need to manage the time for those tasks to ensure it has all the inputs required and take care of whatever is produced.
Another problem humans have with multitasking is that we can not help our minds wandering off when doing mundane tasks. We forget what we were doing. It often requires us to retrace our steps to figure out what we may have missed. It is certainly possible to develop a system where you write down where you left off, etc. But even here, the more tasks you try to do this with, the more challenging it will be to manage.
The situation gets complicated when managers expect you to get multiple tasks done, and they do not seem to take into account the amount of time needed for all the charges. If this is your situation, try to find ways to offload or delegate to others. You may be able to convince management to outsource aspects of your job to external resources. More companies are implementing this as it is pretty cost-effective. There are some challenges when doing this, as you will need to manage those resources and deal with company trade secrets, etc. But, if you can make this work, it can be a tremendous productivity booster.
Your focus will improve if you can keep your tasks to one item at a time. You may need to determine the critical paths of the tasks you are responsible for. When you show your manager that you get higher quality work complete by working on tasks one at a time, you should convince him or her this is a better approach.
Today for the second time this month, I went out to have lunch. It was a belated celebration of her birthday. It was great to spend time with Robin catching up on the past year.
However, there is a mystery about the picture above. Today was a warm day and I did not wear a jacket! But the picture above shows me in a jacket. Now, it is possible I could be a little forgetful at times, but not that forgetful and I do not have a gray jacket like the one in the picture. I checked all the clothes in my closet to be certain! No gray jacket.
It felt so good to be out in public. Until next, stay, and keep the faith.
It seems that everything you have ever learned is about preparing yourself for a better future. It is easy to get so caught up in the future that you lose the ability to enjoy the life you are living right now.
The Power Of The Present
The first thing you should do to take action toward a better life is to realize the present moment’s power. There are different ways you can genuinely come to this realization, but the most popular and widely accepted method is meditation.
Meditation allows you to clear your mind. It is refreshing to focus on the present moment when you find the time to sit down and relax without worrying about the past or future.
This personal reflection time will allow you to sort out your inner thoughts. On the flip side, take note of the number of times your mind tries to distract you from the present moment. You will be surprised to see just how many times your mind steals the present moment from you to dwell on the past or future.
Enjoying The Journey
Your journey is all you have. Your goals are important, but it is the path you take toward your goals that yield many fruits. You must be willing to enjoy your life and live consciously, even if you have not yet reached your goals.
If you have a lofty goal, such as becoming a doctor or the CEO of a large company, realize that it will take much planning and years of experience. Once you reach your goal, you may feel fulfilled, but your life mustn’t be unhappy and miserable until you get there!
You can remain happy by concentrating on the present and enjoying the journey. As you make positive progress towards your goal, you will know that you are always one step closer.
Envisioning Your Future Self
While you should spend a great deal of time enjoying the present moment, you can add to your happiness by envisioning your future self.
Reflect on the feelings associated with the successful completion of your goals. Think about the traits you will exhibit when you have the life you desire. Now bring those traits into your present.
If you study to be a doctor, you are working long days for little or no pay. You are studying at all hours with little sleep. You might feel almost tortured. That is not the desired life you dreamt of having!
This is when you should be proud of the steps you have taken so far. After all, what you are learning now will shape your future, so you might as well approach today with joyful gratitude!
Live The Life You Want Now
Whether you maintain complete focus on your ultimate goals or not, it is important to live the life you desire right now. You do not know how many days you have allotted on this earth, and you owe it to yourself to make the most of them!
Keep these tips in mind:
Even on busy days, take at least some time for yourself
Do not waste your time on people who do not believe in you and your abilities
Adopt a “glass is half full” mentality
Most importantly, it would help if you believe in yourself. Some people are afraid of success. They put off action toward their dreams indefinitely because they fear success and fear that they are incapable.
It would be best if you did not fall into this negative pattern. Do not waste your time on dead ends. Instead, take action, learn your lessons, and enjoy the journey!
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