How To Stay Focused
Are you fed up with having your mind focus on anything but the task at hand? You aren’t the only one!
It’s hard to stay focused. Your mind jumps all over the place with thoughts of a million different things to do.
In this article, you’ll learn how to stay focused on your tasks. It’ll help you to finish your tasks and projects while making you more productive.
How Can I Improve My Concentration And Focus?
There are lots of strategies available to help you stay focused on your tasks and projects. Have a go at different techniques to see what works for you.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is an effective strategy that is easy to implement. If you feel like you need more sleep, try going to bed earlier or get up later. If going to bed an hour earlier seems too hard, try going to sleep 15 minutes earlier for a few days, then keep going back 15 minutes every few days until you feel better rested. You could also turn your alarm off and wake up naturally for a while or set your alarm for later in the morning.
If you’re really exhausted, try spending a few days catching up on your sleep and just waking up and going to sleep when you’re ready for it. If you’re struggling to fall or stay asleep, go see a Doctor.
And in the morning, try having an easy morning routine which you can read more about.
Plan Your Week
Planning your week lets you know what tasks to work on and when to work on them. Also, it’ll help you see what you are and aren’t focusing on. And it only takes 20-30 minutes a week but can save you hours of time.
A simple three step process to create your weekly plan:
- Brain dump all your to-do’s, events, appointments, reminders, notes and goals for the week.
- Decide what needs to get done using one of the prioritising methods below. Then decide when it needs to be done.
- Add them to your free weekly planner, diary, online calendar, bullet journal at the beginning of the week, beginning of the day or the night before.
For a detailed step-by-step guide to plan your week, read this on how to plan your week for success.
Prioritise Your Tasks
Learning to prioritise your tasks will help you to stay focused. This is because you know where your focus needs to go to get the biggest results in your life and business.
Read my other post for an in-depth guide to prioritising your tasks.
Choose 1-3 most important tasks that need to get done today. Ask yourself, if I could only achieve 1 or 3 things today, what would they be?
Sort your tasks into 4 categories.
Urgent And Important
What tasks need to be completed today? Do these first.
Not-Urgent But Important
What will get me towards my goals but don’t need completing today? Do these tasks next.
Urgent And Not-Important
What tasks can I outsource to a VA or someone else? Outsource, delegate and automate these tasks.
Not-Urgent Or Important
What tasks can I cut off my list because they won’t make much of a difference to my life or business? Ditch them or do them last.
What tasks need to be done today? Do these tasks first.
What tasks can wait until tomorrow or a later date? Do these second.
What tasks would I like to do? Do these last.
Change Where You’re Working
Sometimes a change in location is all you need. A different atmosphere can take you out of your routine and get you into work.
Here are some amazing places to work in:
- Co-working space
- Coffee shop
Exercising can be something as simple as a walk around the block or it can be more involved like a run or going to the gym. You can do it at any time in the day, whether that’s first thing in the morning, during the day or at night; it’s up to you.
Ask yourself what exercise or activity do you enjoy?
- Dance lessons/classes
- Weight lifting
Do De-Stressing Activities
Participating in de-stressing activities and hobbies can help you to stay focused when you work.
Some great questions to ask yourself are:
- What activities calm you down and help you to relax?
- How can you do more of them?
- Where can you slot them into your day?
- What pockets of time do you have to do them?
Make a list of activities that help you to de-stress and take your mind off of work. Then try to do 1 activity each day. Here’s some examples to give you:
- Listening to an audiobook or podcast
- Working through a devotional
You may find pockets of time while you’re waiting at the Doctor’s or Dentist to read. You could listen to an audiobook or podcast while cooking or walking or driving. While you’re boiling the kettle or cooking food, you could read or pray.
Taking breaks allows your mind to have a break so that it can come back to the task refreshed. Without them, tasks have a habit of all blurring together. Breaks throughout the day and for lunch. You might find the answer to the problem you’ve been trying to solve comes to you when you’re taking a break.
When you’re working, it can be hard to remember to take breaks so here are some methods you can use:
- Try the Pomodoro technique detailed below
- Work for 45 minutes then have a 5-10 minute break
- Work for 90 minutes then have a 15-30 minute break
- Have a break when you switch tasks (e.g. moving from answering emails to creating a product)
Having a break from screens when you work at a computer all day is important. Try to incorporate some screen-free activities throughout the day to give your eyes a break.
- Read a book
- Chat to people
- Run an errand
- Make a drink
- Have a snack or meal
Try The Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is where you work on a task for 25 minutes, have a 5 minute break. Then repeat this 3 more times and on the 4th time, you take a 15 minute break.
Here are some timers you can use:
Work On One Task At A Time
To help yourself stay focused on the task, avoid multitasking so you can use all your attention for it. Pick one task to focus on and work on it until it’s done.
A great example of this is when you’ve got a newsletter to write and you also have to be active on social media. Focus on writing your newsletter and only once it’s completed do you move your focus over to your social media.
How To Stay Focused Tips
Here are 7 extra tips to help you to stay focused on your tasks and projects.
- Think of your goal and why you’re doing what you’re doing.
- Try listening to classical, study or focus music while you work.
- When you get distracted, make a note of the distraction for a couple of days. If the same distraction keeps coming up, make a plan to tackle that distraction (e.g. if it’s email notifications, turn off your notifications, close the tab or log out of your account).
- Schedule in rest, relaxation and recharging time to focus on your hobbies and other interests.
- Brain dump all thoughts and to-do’s onto a piece of paper, Google or Word document or the notes app on your phone.
- Stay accountable by finding friends and people you can tell about your tasks and projects to finish and ask them to hold you accountable.
- Set deadlines for your tasks and projects.
What To Do If You Can’t Focus
If you can’t focus or concentrate on the task you need to do, there are some things you can do to help.
- Take a break.
- Go for a walk.
- Change where you’re working.
- Have a nap.
- Break the task into smaller tasks (for example, break write a blog post into: research the post, outline the post, write the post, edit the post etc.).
- Create a reward for finishing the task or project (like watching an episode of your favourite TV show).
- Start working on a smaller, easier task then come back to the task after you’ve finished the smaller task.
- Switch tasks.
- Try again tomorrow.
To Sum It Up
Not being able to focus can be for a variety of reasons. However, you can improve your focus. And if you can’t focus on one day and you feel yourself slipping into a negative spiral stop for a few hours or even the day and try again later.
With practice, you’ll find you’re able to stay focused more easily.
Here are the 9 strategies you can try:
- Changing where you’re working
- Doing de-stressing activities
- Taking breaks
- Using the Pomodoro technique
- Work on one task at a time