Stop scrolling through newsfeeds, any kind of newsfeed, this saps your will power, and scatters your creative energy
Do one thing at a time, multitasking is a myth, the mind can only focus totally on one thing at a time, if you’re doing multiple things your focus just switches back and forth really fast, this is exhausting. Oddly, it’s also addictive, because it zones you out, it’s way to stop thinking and to stop feeling. Quit your addiction to distraction
Avoid sugar. You will get a small boost in focus right after ingesting it, but you will soon experience the infamous crash
If you really want to do high quality work: go and sit in a room with no internet, no phone, no television, no radio
Some activity in the background may help creative flow, if it’s non-engaging, like some people can write or read with more focus in a train or a café
Work for 50 minutes (nobody’s concentration span peaks for much longer) and give yourself a ten minute break, but again: don’t scroll through newsfeeds, get exercise, get some air, don’t use those ten minutes for screen time
If you are doing a repetitive tasks, say, filling buckets with liquid chocolate, sure drink coffee, it will help to stay focused. Are you translating a book? Coffee will make your mind wonder and the energy boost you feel will make it harder to sit still. So for manual labor, go for coffee, for mental labor: go for water, or maybe tea that holds very little caffeine
define as clearly as you can what your goal is and which strategy to use. If you have to cut down a tree don’t just lunge at the tree, sharpen the ax, figure out in which direction you want the tree to fall
Ask yourself: What’s the easiest way to do this?
Take a baby step. Do you want to run 12 kms, but you can’t get yourself off the coach? Try and run 100 meters. Chances are you’ll run more, but it’s not necessary, just allow yourself to take a baby step. Do this with any daunting task. To come up with a daily blog post, I’ll often go, ok, just drop one line and a picture and call it quits for today, but I almost always end up writing a much lengthier post that in the end takes me a lot longer than 5 minutes to drop that one line
Get an accountability partner, tell someone you trust about your focus goal for today and let that person give you hell if you don’t stick to the plan
Make it a routine. Your focus is a muscle. You can train it. You make it stronger every time you resist clicking on something that serves no direct purpose, adds no clear value to your life other than distraction. Don’t give in to temptation and you will tame that monkey. Your mind craves crappy food just like your stomach. Keep your mind lean and mean and only feed it nutrition that serves to bring you closer to your real goals in life
Self-discipline is a fight between what you crave right now – an attention fix, a sugar high, an escape- and your long term desires. Always choose to support your long term plans, it’s when we are edging closer to those that we feel most fulfilled and at ease with ourselves.
There is no painless way to build focus. It bloody hurts to focus. Just like it hurts to lift weights or to stick to a diet. There’s no painfree way around this. Take the pain, accept it, it will make it easier.