Simply put, focus is where you put your attention.
Building better focus is not something usually found in a step-by-step guide. It is a process of learning techniques and skills until it becomes a habit.
It is a process that involves starts, stops, making mistakes, and then trying again until you get better. Technical professionals are continually faced with distractions, interruptions, and information, making it very challenging to maintain focus for any period of time.
What are some creative ways to build better focus?
You must remember throughout all the steps to take inventory consistently. Notice your mental state, what is distracting you, and why it is distracting you. Take notes in a journal. Taking the time to stop and take stock will give you feedback on what is and isn’t working for you, as well as how you are improving along the way.
Here are five ways to build your focus muscle:
- Pay Attention. We live in a world where there is no shortage of things requiring our attention. It is especially important to reclaim control over what gets your attention Throughout the day, stop and consider how much attention you are paying to the task at hand. Are you fully focused? Or are you only half working on a project while the other half of your brain thinks about that other important task or lunch? When you note that your attention is diverted, make a conscious effort to bring your attention back to focus on the task at hand.
- Consider Your Mood. Are you in a good or bad mood? Are you relaxed or stressed? Consider your mood throughout the day and why it may be that way. This should be paired with your attention to what you are doing. Are you anxious while you only half-think about the project? Are you annoyed and typing an email? If you are not relaxed and in a good mood, take time out to balance your mood before continuing.
- Note Your Distractions. Every time you catch yourself being pulled away from the task at hand, note the distraction and what you were doing, then get back to work. At the end of the day, look back on what distracted you and when. You will be able to pinpoint the distractions that disrupt your focus, then identify ways to remedy those distractions, so you are not affected next time.
- Stop and Breath. Ever feel like you’re being pulled in ten different directions? Are the distractions flooding at you, so you become overwhelmed? Stop and take a deep breath and breath out – this helps to clear away any stress and anxiety. You can also clear your mind by getting up and taking a short walk away from your desk. Make notes of what happened and make a plan to get back on track. While you may not be able to solve all the problems, at least you can do your best to work through each one with a clear mind.
- Visualise. You can use visualisation at any time to focus on one thing. This will allow you to push away distractions and strengthen your mind’s ability to concentrate for an extended period of time. You can visualise images or anything that helps you focus.
Building better focus is not a race or competition. It is a journey that takes time and patience. Consider incorporating some or all of these creative focus building exercises into your daily routine.
Are you a technical professional who struggles with staying focused? Master Your Focus Today is the ultimate guide for technical professionals who find themselves overwhelmed and struggling to find their work-life balance.