Have you ever asked yourself just how well you can focus?
If you wanted to know, here's a simple test to determine your level of concentration. But a word of caution before answering it: Don't feel too low about yourself if you don't like what you will find out later. You can take this 5-minute test from Psychology Today here.
How well did you do? And most importantly, how did you react when finding out that you lacked the necessary focus because you were distracted, bored or fatigued? Believe it or not, your ability to concentrate is closely related to your self-discipline.
But just finding out how good you are at self-control is also a test in itself, so just how does one stay completely focused despite facing all sorts of distractions?
Here are some of the ways you can manage your ability to FOCUS and KEEP DISTRACTIONS at bay:
- WRITE THINGS DOWN
Practice the act of physically putting things down on paper. The act itself is very beneficial. Writing things down, as science has proven, is a method of decluttering your mind from all thoughts. When you do this, your brain automatically recalls the information you write down, almost every time.
Therefore, having a physical planner helps.
Depending on how well you make use of it, many planners approach this method in different ways. If you can find a planner that clicks for you, always make it a point to dump all the information you have on your mind right now into this planner. This way, you are helping your memory focus on one task - to remember.
Planners can function as storage for information. Not only that, but you'll also get tons of spaces for schedules, appointments, reviews, and even travel plans. All of these features sync up at the end of each day enabling you to get used to a format.
Planners also help shape your ability toMAP OUT A SCHEDULE AND A DEADLINEfor all tasks.In fact, it is one of the best benefits of having a planner.Basically,you can program your mind into completing a task in less time when you are challenged as in the case of setting your own timeline/deadline.
- PRIORITIZING IN DETAIL
Another good benefit to having a physical planner is the ability to prioritize tasks which is not the easiest thing in the world to do if you're not used to this system. How are you supposed to assign your tasks when all of them need attention at the same time? You will not get this right the first time. But with practice, you'll get better.
Time management isn't something you learn off-the-bat. This ability is trained and is perfected by repetition. Most planner systems usually harmonize your tasks by assigning a priority listing for them. The rule is to do the most important or most difficult tasks first. It functions very much like a master list of the day's tasks. A bulleted list is the simplest form most planners use for this.
Try listing down the tasks that are feasible for the day. And then do it again the next day. This repetition will eventually lead to good productive habits.
- STAYING OFFLINE FOR A WHILE
Living in the digital age is one BIG distraction already. You will find yourself looking at your phones, tablets, or gadgets rather than doing more important tasks. For some people, it's almost impossible to keep away from them. Time can fly so fast when you're distracted by technology and you hardly ever notice being out of concentration and focus.
It helps when you can find some time in your day to put your gadgets away. Place them on silent or store away someplace else when you need to focus on something.
On the times where you're supposed to be the most productive like when you are at work or in school, for example, it makes sense to detach yourself from highly distracting tools like your smartphones. The purpose is to keep yourself physically away from the possibility of responding or reacting to all sorts of notifications. Eliminating distractions also prevents time from ever being wasted unnecessarily.
- MIND ON YOUR GOALS
If you know what you really want, you can always move heaven and earth to make it happen. So ask yourself this question - what are you working hard for? What is the end goal?
It's rather important that you establish your goals because all your efforts at correcting your focus will be invested in them. Without it, you will not see any point in working hard. We recommend that you use a system that allows you to establish your goals and create action plans for them.
Focus can be trained and we believe that having plans is part of this. Plans will keep your eyes on the bigger picture. One way to remember your goals is to create a Vision Board for them or a Goal Mind Map. This way, you're always reminded of what you need to do and why you are working hard.
It's not easy to always keep your concentration these days but you can build yourself to become the most focused to the best of your ability. Follow the steps above and make it a routine. Improving your productivity now will lead to achieving goals and in so doing, master self-discipline. Promise yourself, never again be distracted even when tested to your limits.
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”
- Zig Ziglar