I’ve got this client and he always calls me in a panic. Like his house is on fire while jumping out of an airplane with a broken parachute all at once.
No matter what the issue or situation, the real issue comes down to the lack of ability to focus.
Why is focus so important?
Because all of us are all always being pulled in 20-30 different directions all at once.
Which means that our attention is always under stress.
This stress on our attention makes concentration one of your secret weapons in your toolkit!
Because if you can concentrate on the right things regularly enough, you are going to get more done than the person that doesn’t have any sort of filter or ability to tune out distractions long enough to achieve anything of importance.
As I write this, I am actually using an app called: Pomodoro. Which is basically just an app version of the Pomodoro technique that any of you can do with the timer on your phone.
The technique I have been undertaking to maximize my focus is copied straight from Chris Winfield’s post on the topic.
Which works for me, but may not work for you.
Since I don’t like to offer up absolutes here, I have decided that maybe some guidelines might be helpful for you.
Here’s a few that might help you get some additional focus into your life:
1. Set yourself some goals for each day, week, month, and year:
I don’t mean this in the Tony Robbins, Brian Tracy, etc way of “feeling listless, make a list,” even if I totally buy that stuff.
I mean it in the idea that you need to understand where you are going.
If you try to accomplish everything, you aren’t going to get anything done.
How do you differentiate what is important from what is unimportant, you set yourself some goals.
Maybe its one thing you want to chip away at each and everyday, maybe more.
Just do it.
2. Start scheduling your days more:
If you were a client of mine, you might have heard me tell you that you should use your schedule like a weapon.
What does that mean?
It means if you have important things to do, schedule time to do them. Block out the time to do your work before someone steps in front of you and takes the time from you.
3. Track how consistently you are able to meet your goals and fill your days with more of the meaningful work that you need to do:
That’s the great thing about the Pomodoro technique.
If you do it right, you are concentrating.
You are focusing on one task for 20-25 minutes at a time and then you are taking a break.
You aren’t all over the place being pinged, dinged, and drug from task to task.
Multitasking isn’t really all that effective, despite what we try to tell ourselves.
Because it is such a part of our society, it has become easy for us to believe that we all have to participate. Even if it isn’t working for us.
How do you defeat it?
You offer yourself rewards for different behavior.
That’s what the Pomodoro technique is good for, realigning your reward system for better behavior.