Improving Your Focus

8 Tips & Tricks to get the work done quicker.

Since I started doing self-development almost 2 years ago, I found it was a struggle to stay focused. I tried many methods that I found online and read about to increase my focus. I took what I found useful complied it into this article in the hopes that anyone reading it may find something that can help them focus better too.

Photo by 鏡飛 匙 on Unsplash

All of these may not be beneficial to you, but I guarantee that you’ll at least half of them helpful. (These methods can be used for anything). So here are 9 methods and tips that you can use to help you, better focus.

Methods:

Turn off your phone

Turning off your phone can be just the kick you need to get your head down. Doing this can help you focus as you won’t be getting notifications and be reminded to check your phone. Another thing to do is try putting your phone away in a draw or another room. By keeping it out of view, it’ll be even less likely to enter your mind. This may take a few days of getting used to, but when you can go long periods without your phone, you’ll notice your focus increase drastically.

“Out of sight, out of mind”

A book that I would recommend reading, is ‘Off. Your digital detox for a better life’ — by Tanya Goodin. This book helps with getting used to going without mobiles which in turn can make you more productive.

Make a to-do list (Planning)

Set out what you need to do. One of the most helpful things that I found when trying to focus on a task is by setting out exactly what I need to do. This way time won’t be wasted wondering what needs to be done, what can be done next, or how long you need to do it.

An example I could best provide you with is when I am learning a language. I will set out how many words I need to learn, what I am going to listen to, and for how long I will listen to something.

what to do for this is:

  1. Get a notepad or a piece of paper
  2. Write down all the topics/ subjects you are going to be doing today in a list. (This might be work, reading, exercise, maybe you’re working on a business, learning a language).
  3. Now next to the side of the subjects write what you are going to do. For example, next to exercise you may write, go to the gym and do cardio on the treadmill and skipping. It may look something like:

Exercise — Gym — cardio — treadmill, skipping.

You write down what you need to do (exercise), where you are going to do it (not necessary, just something I do personally), what you are doing (cardio), and more specifically, how you are going to do it (treadmill, cardio)

This can be done with anything, not just exercise. I wrote an article on planning a while back, for more detail on what I just spoke about, and assistance, click here.

Set time aside

Setting aside time to do something can work hand in hand with making a to-do list. When you know what you want to do, decide how long for and when. Setting aside specific time such as ‘I’m going to do… for 1 hour on Tuesday’, means that you’ll be less likely to miss it as you have made an appointment with yourself. You can even add a time and say you’ll do whatever the task is at 11:00 AM etc.

You wouldn’t miss a meeting, an optician’s appointment, a dentist appointment or the doctors, so why would you miss one with yourself? Set aside the time, prepare any equipment you need beforehand (computer, paperwork, or exercise equipment? Etc.) and get that task done.

Give yourself a deadline

Now you know what to do and how to do it, the next thing that may follow is procrastination. You may do the task that you set out, but it may take an extremely long time, why? Because you keep getting distracted and your mind keeps wondering. Getting rid of distraction will help (we’ll talk about this next), but the next thing to do is give yourself a deadline.

Giving yourself a deadline will keep you on track and on schedule. Just know that you have to get this task done by a certain date or time and keep you going as you won’t want to miss it. Being as you will have other tasks to do throughout the day (or maybe even a reward), creating a deadline will now allow you to get those tasks done. If you miss the deadline, you miss the task.

Try setting a reward for yourself if you get the task done, instead of a punishment. Setting a reward will give you a good reason to get the task done, instead of a bad reason not to.

Getting rid of distractions

Getting rid of distraction could take many forms, this could be, tidying your room/work area, Turing of electricals (such as phone, TV, music etc.), telling family or friends (people that you live with) not to disturb you as you will be working.

Whatever it is, do it. Eliminating all distractions will never truly be possible, however, eliminating as many as you can, will not only allow you to have less chance of being distracted, it will also allow you to concentrate and focus for longer.

Photo by Alexander Shatov on Unsplash

Reducing overstimulation

Reducing the amount of time spent on games consoles, social media, watching TV, YouTube will lead you to gain more focus. Although you should have fun and do things which you like, overstimulation (doing too much ‘fun’ stuff) can cause things that you need to do day to day to seem boring.

Cutting them out altogether is not the answer as people need entertainment within their lives, but if you are spending more than a couple of hours with screen time entertainment a day, you may be spending too much time. Do you go on social media or watch something on the way to school/ college or work? and at lunch? And relax by watching TV in the evening when you get home? Then this could be why you can’t concentrate.

This is due to being so used to consuming so much entertainment regularly and quickly that anything other than entertainment doesn’t interest you. Sooner or later even the ‘entertainment’ will start to seem boring too.

Try swapping what you are doing for an activity that can take place in real life. This could be a new hobby (maybe you want to learn an instrument, or take up a sport, read a book?). Try meeting up with a friend for something to eat, a one-on-one convocation, or try going for a walk.

Doing things that involve both hands such as playing a sport, solving a puzzle, or writing something will not only keep you off your phone but will also force you to focus as you have to use both your hands.

Meditate

meditating can increase your focus drastically, however this is not for everyone. The act of sitting still for a certain amount of time will gradually increase your patience, while doing this you will also be focusing on your breath throughout the exercise, hence, increasing your focus.

It can be hard to get the ball rolling with meditation, so if with this you can use meditation apps that will guide you for as long as you need through the practice. (such as headspace)

Building up your endurance

There are a few ways to build up your endurance. the two most effective methods I’ve found are:

Building up gradually and building up with breaks.

Building up gradually — With building up gradually, start off by doing the task that you want to do for maybe only half an hour one day, then build it up to 45 mins the next, then carry on from there, gradually increasing the task until you are at a comfortable place with the task at hand.

Building up with breaks — Or you can try method two, which helps with trying to build up a task more quickly by breaking the task up into sets of 30 mins, with a 5–10 break in between.

You would do activity A for 30 mins, then have a 5–10 minute break, then carry on the task again for 30 minutes and repeat.

This way you are still getting a lot of work done throughout the day, however, your mind isn’t going numb from trying to keep up the same amount of production. The small break that you take between doing your task, allows you to momentarily recharge.

“As soon as you start to slide, you’re going against the tide.”

Take away:

While there have been many points that you can task away from this article, the three main ones that would be quick to remember for when you are trying to focus on a task are:

  • Try to eliminate as many distractions as you can (Phones, messy room, people asking you to go out).
  • Prepare for what you want to do (set time aside, what you are going to do, and with a deadline).
  • Build up your endurance for the task (start small and take breaks).

You climb a staircase one step at a time.

Although I would recommend trying as many as you can to find the ones that work best for you, these three are the foundation for increasing your focus.

Photo by visuals on Unsplash

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. If you found it helpful and think someone else could find it helpful too, please share it and 👏🏽👏🏽.

I write mainly on self-development. I occasionally write on personal experiences, interest, business, criminology, books and places. If you are looking for a way to try and better yourself or are interested in self-development, then please feel free to read some of my other articles (linked below) as you may also benefit from and enjoy them.

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Independent writer. Sharing my experiences on my journey with Self-development to help you with yours. Following a passion project. Follow to learn, lets go!

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Louie J.

Louie J.

Independent writer. Sharing my experiences on my journey with Self-development to help you with yours. Following a passion project. Follow to learn, lets go!

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