Maintain Focus on Your Projects
Focus Focus Focus!
You have to maintain focus on your projects. My ex-boss used to say to me, all we have to do is focus and it will all come together. Really?… No not really, because focus can be a serious issue when attempting to filer out the jumble and distractions that surround us on a daily basis. I’m not surprised in the average working day, we don’t work to our capacity spending more time distracted than working! Besides I’ll admit, I have a problem with focus. This spans back to my childhood and my school report each term. Most lesson reports usually ended with – Daniel needs to maintain FOCUS… Incidentally, maintaining focus has actually followed me into my adult life. However, and this is a big however I’ve managed to beat it and I’ve compiled, especially for you 14 Ways to Maintain Focus on Your Magical Projects.
1. Pick One Thing to Do
Simple as that. Many times have I took on too much and found myself going backward instead of forwards. So take my work for it… 1 project at a time even if this is a daily project. Therefore you don’t lose four focus.
2. Keep a Task Manageable
Keep a planner off your goals and what you want and have achieved. Also what you want achieve the next day, and the day after that. By keeping a diary you can track what you need to do to succeed. Personally I use a diary (old school), but since I don’t cary my diary around with me everywhere I go which would be quite derm nerdy 🙂 I also use Evernote and notepad on my cell phone.
3. Keep it Simple
Occam’s Razor, put simply, states: “the simplest solution is almost always the best”. Sometimes You don’t have to make a mountain out of your goals, keep them simple. Break them down into smaller pieces and deal with them that way. Baby steps rather than giant leaps! Watch your productivity soar by keeping it simple.
4. Do the Worst First
I got this one from Mike Filsaime… Not always advisable because you need to be mentally strong to make the leap, but the way I see it you have to tackle this at some point. You see, by tackling your hardest project first you can eliminate the fear you have of completing your goal. And by doing this you will also feel super focused and energised! There is no feeling like completing something you were afraid of doing, or dubious of doing and then succeeding. Maybe it’s that blog post you want to post, or that report with the chapter you are a little unsure how to complete? Do you have any fears to conquer within your goals? Answers below please.
5. Be Positive
Always take a positive outlook to maintain focus on your projects. If you have a negative mindset, then you set yourself up to be negative. Attacking your goals with excitement and positivity is half the battle. If you start with the ‘can do’ attitude then you will succeed. Have faith in the universe, it helps positive people.
Yup, believe it or not, diet can make a big difference to the way you work. Try to eat light and drink plenty of water. Try healthy none bloating and foods that keep you energised like Fish, nuts, small vegetable snacks, fruit, lean meats, even a little dark chocolate. Avoid junk food at all costs it slows you down! Plus by eating healthy, your mind and body work better.
7. Eliminate Distractions
Simple, remove the phone (and I mean put it in another room), get off Facebook and social media (removal of the phone will help), and go sit somewhere quite with your laptop, or sit at your desk and work. Tell people to leave you for an hour while you lay down that project 🙂
8. Reward Yourself
Set yourself a reward for all your hard work. Promise yourself something special for all the hard work you have been doing. If you don’t succeed to do what you promised yourself, then you can’t have your reward. Simple.
9. Take a Break
You are a person not a machine, and we all need a break from time to time to recharge our batteries. Doing a 12 hours monster work session can burn you out. Structure yourself some time off from Work mode. Take Saturday and Sunday off for example and wind down with alternative distractions, such as family and friends. It’s not always about the hustle… (Don’t tell Gary V).
10. Choose a Great Location
Your desk is not your ball and chain, change your scenery, go to another room to work, go outside, hit a coffee shop! Changing your location and find new inspirations from your surroundings. Personally I like to write in my living room on my old Wingback with my feet up. Try a new location, it may just inspire you with something new and exciting.
11. Put on Your Headphones
If you work in office, there are various distracting sources and people. Headphones act as like a magic force field to ward off people. Here is an example – I’m in a Skype meeting, my friend sees me across the room and starts to approach… However, he sees I have headphones on… now he thinks twice, because I have headphones on and I’m talking. The penny drops, “Dan must be in a meeting”. I’ll talk later. Little does he know I’m listening to music and miming along a little while I work. #maintainfocushack
12. Put Away Your Cell/Mobile Phone
Lets expand on distractions, due to the increased screen time we are ALLLLL having these days. Our smartphones and mobile devices are a detriment to our productivity. I only have to look at my peers, family, strangers to workout that the smart phone is now the worlds top distraction by a country mile! Turn the damn thing off. Memes can wait!!
13. Give Yourself an Boost in Energy
Many of us joke that we need a a coffee to kick you into gear in the morning or mid afternoon when you feel tired. Well did you know, studies have shown that caffeine, may do just that. Coffee and other caffeinated drinks are cognitive enhancers, which improve your mental focus and concentration. If you don’t like coffee, try oolong tea and green tea. However, limit your consumption to a couple of cups of coffee a day, and save that third cup for when you really need a kick! I’ve been known to drink 6 in one day, which Isn’t great but hey I needed it…
14. Time Box it
Allocate yourself a specified amount of time to complete your task. Sometimes we can feel a deflated when we have a big task in front of us which we think is going to take a long time to complete. Don’t worry if you don’t get it finished today, just make a start on the work you have to do. schedule a time frame of a set amount of minutes per day and go for it. If you don’t get finished, so what, time box the rest later or tomorrow. I time boxed the text on this post to 120 minutes and completed the writing side of the post in that time… success!
Remember If you are having a problem staying focused or need help with your product development you can apply some of these to your daily routine. There are always ways to stay focused, sometimes you just have to think outside the box a little. Over the last few year, I have had many different distractions, but the most distracting of them all is… drum rollllll… Automatic Social Media Alerts!! Popup alerts on the Gram or FB are all it takes… one click and boom, you’re gone!
Also don’t forget, the next time your boss asks why your are wearing headphones and not maintaining focus on your projects. Send him to this post. He might learn something.
Incidentally, if you would like to follow me on Instagram simply search for Daniel_Sumner 🙂 Also don’t forget, the free eBooks below.
I love these points, they are all ones that I try to implement (not always successfully, I may add!).
One I would add is probably related to point number 4. Oftentimes we can end up doing stuff that is easy, or simply more attractive or exciting. However, those things might not be the things that are most important right at this moment. So, when planning, it’s important to give the most important tasks the priority. A good question to ask ourselves is “Is this task the one that is most likely going to get me one step closer to what’s most important right now?”. Sure, playing around with WordPress themes might be fun, but unless that has a direct impact right at this moment on us advancing our business, then that shouldn’t be a priority. So we have to prioritise accordingly and, as you mention, that could (and usually does) mean tackling the more scary tasks first. But if those are the ones that will get us closer to our goal right now, then those are what we need to give priority to.
Great post as always, Dan. These points are ones that I recommend everyone print out and pin up in their workspace. And then, of course, implement!
I hope you’re keeping well, all the best!