It’s a common problem these days switching between apps on your phone, checking social media and messages and email, thinking about the million things you have to get done, but putting them off. Anything but staying focused on one task at a time.
I still have a hard time staying focused, I will admittedly go from one task to another, or trying to get everything I have on my to do list but it’s not getting anything done. We are are guilty at one time or another.
It’s a hard habit to break out of the mental habit of switching, being distracted letting the monkey mind jump from one thing to the next.
So how do you train your mind to stay more focused? It’s possible to get better at focusing, but don’t expect to be focused anywhere 100% of the time.
A Good Plan-
Start with the why. Why should you care about this. It’s best to give this a moment of thought before diving into any plan, because when things get uncomfortable, you have to know the why. Otherwise you will crumble at the first urge to switch.
This is important because constant switching and distraction leads to your time being wasted away, so that the day goes by and you have barely done anything important. You have procrastinated on the big tasks to take care of the little ones, and worse yet squandered the day in distractions. Your life is way to precious to waste, so you want to use your days better.
Staying focused on one task at a time, at least for some of the day, will help you get the important things done, studying, taking care of finances, cleaning, and so on. Those things tend to get pushed back, but staying on task will increase your effectiveness with the most important things by leap and bounds.
If your feeling stressed out by all you have to do, unhappy with your lack of focus then this one skill will help you turn that around in a huge way.
First thing in the morning, before you get on your phone or online, think about what you need to do that day. What would make the biggest difference in your life, if you have several it doesn’t matter just randomly choose one, you can get to the others later. Don’t waste time in indecision, the point is to practice with one task. This one task you choose today is your most important task.
Do a 15 minute focus session, get ready for your day, eat, meditation, workout, get those things done and be on your way. Start a 15 minute timer or track your 15 minutes.
You only have two choices. For these 15 minutes, you cannot switch to anything else (no checking email, messages, social media, doing other things etc.) only work on tasks for the day or sit and to nothing. Those are your only two options. Watch your urges to switch, but don’t follow them. You can use a accountability app, I write a do to list and check off the tasks as I get them done. Make yourself accountable. Even if you have at find a accountability partner.
That’s it one 15 minute focus session for two weeks pm if you do great add a second focus with a 10 minute break between sessions. If you have any trouble at all focus on one session 2 more weeks before adding a second.
After six weeks to two months, you should be doing good at doing 15 minute sessions, and you can add a third. Then a fourth when that gets easy. Stop there for awhile, and then add another session in the afternoon.
Turn-off your internet, disconnect from WiFi. Turn off your phone. This is the best method, don’t let yourself turn on anything else. Unless you need it for work. If you have an idea, a task you need to remember write it down you can get to those later. This helps you stay focused on work tasks.
Don’t allow yourself to rationalize putting off you session. It easy to say, “I’ll get to it in a bit,” but then you will be putting in off until late morning, and then the afternoon, and finally you are doing it at 8pm just to say you did it. This defeats the purpose of the practice. Watch your rationalizations and don’t fall for them.
That said, don’t aim for being perfect. There are some days when you just can’t do it. If something big came up where you don’t have time don’t stress about missing a day. Get back on it as soon as you can. Worrying about keeping a streak going in counterproductive.
If 15 minutes is to long, try 10 minutes. If that’s to long do 5 minutes and work your way up.
Increase your sessions as slowly as you can. There is no rush to do more. Focus on building a solid foundation.
Okay you have your session now get practicing.