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Published on April 21, 2020

How To Maintain a Laser Focus And Be Productive

How To Maintain a Laser Focus And Be Productive

Do you want to accomplish your set goals? How about mastering the art of focusing like a laser so you can aim and achieve any target you want in life?

These targets or milestones could be in your personal life, business, career, finance, or relationship. They may also be for your health and wellness or spiritual development.

All of these will require new skills, strategies, and exceptional habits. However, you cannot acquire those skillsets and good habits if you have not mastered the art of maintaining a laser focus.

What Does Laser Focus Mean?

Before we define ‘laser focus,’ it is better to understand first what a laser is.

A laser is a machine that utilizes crystals or special gases to produce a light with a single color. Therefore, the key phrase is a light with a single color, not light with multi-colors.

Why the emphasis?

It is because you aim at two birds and not miss one. Just like a laser, you need to bring together all your energy and focus on one thing at a time.

It may be a great idea to multitask like Warren Buffet or Jack Ma. But the truth is that we are all wired differently.

An infographic by Rancoteur predicts that about 463 exabytes of data will be generated daily across the globe by 2025. That is the same as producing 212,765,957 DVDs daily.[1]

In the middle of this volume of data, your brain needs to process them to make critical decisions.

How Do You Help Your Brain Focus?

Steve Jobs’s advice is to learn to say NO. [2]

Focusing means less talk and more action. It means less time on social media and more time doing important things.

Maintaining a laser focus is about saying no to irrelevant data and acting on the information you already have.

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Laser-like focus means aligning your thought patterns, belief system, emotions, and actions with your goals consistently. If you want to become significant in life, you need to align with your set goals.

Stop looking at two directions at the same time, and start focusing like a laser.

Why Is Focus Important?

You may be wondering why it is important to maintain a laser focus.

Here are four significant benefits of maintaining a laser focus.

Accomplish Greater Result

No one loves half-baked results. A result that is only at 99.9% is a sign of mediocrity. You can only achieve excellence when you realize your vision to its fullest. And that requires having a laser focus.

Great accomplishments are generated by maintaining focus.

Generate Faster Results

Multitasking is a great idea. But if you want to generate results quickly, you will need to resist the urge to check your e-mail, Facebook newsfeed or other distractions every 5 minutes.

Having a laser-like focus will help you to always produce faster results on anything you set your mind on.

Achieve Consistent Results

Success is an all-the-time thing.

When you focus all your energy on one thing, like a laser that produces a single light, you will master the art of consistently generating quality outcomes.

Do to be mediocre at many things o be a master at one thing?

Enjoy Peace of Mind

A lack of direction and focus will always lead to confusion. But laser-like focus eliminates every clutter and provides you a clean sheet to work with.

3 Strategies to Maintain a Laser Focus

Here are three requirements if you want to focus like a laser:

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1. Be Clear About Your Life Vision

You should not focus just for the sake of it. You should utilize this productivity strategy to accomplish your set goals. And that means you need to be clear about your purpose.

What is your passion? What keeps you awake when others are sleeping? What drives you in life?

These refer to what you want from life and not what others want from you. Your life vision does not refer to the expectations of your parents, your boss, or society.

What do you want from life?

If you can align with your heart’s desire, you will find it easy to eliminate distractions and maintain a laser focus to see your goals come to reality.

On the other hand, if you consistently pursue things that do not make you happy, you will continuously experience burnout.

Not only that, but you will also find it harder to focus, and you will need to push yourself harder.

2. Establish Your Game Plan

Once you have gained clarity about what you want from life, the next thing is to establish a plan to accomplish it.

You may need to research, read books, or study some autobiographies depending on how complex the goal is to know the next action to take.

Do not bother trying to achieve perfection with your first plan. Just keep moving forward as you learn and adapt your strategies.

As you become more focused like a laser, you will begin to attract ideas, connections, strategies, and action steps to accomplish your goals.

3. Identify the Most Significant Tasks and Focus on Them.

Once you have established your game plan, you should now identify the tasks that are most significant to your goal.

These are the ones you need to prioritize. There will be a few crucial tasks you may not have the capability to execute, but do not let them bother you.

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Only focus on what is important – the thought patterns, habits, and strategies that offer the fastest route towards your set goals.

At this point, you should know what counts and what does not. Focus on activities that take you forward, and eliminate tasks that retract your focus.

7 Simple Habits to Sharpen Your Focus

1. Meditate

Meditation is an ancient means of managing emotions. It can relieve you of stress and anxiety. Not only that, but it can also help you focus like a laser.

Researchers discovered that people came out with a strong ability to focus after three months of meditation retreat. They also noticed an overall upgrade in cognitive functions.[3]

2. Sleep

Sleep is a no-brainer. Sleep is linked directly to some cognitive abilities, such as the ability to perform and focus.

The National Sleep Foundation confirmed that quality sleep, which is between 7-9 hours, could help you think clearly. Moreover, it also enables you to make informed decisions and remember more.

So what happens when you do not get proper sleep?

You will have reduced productivity levels. you may also become more forgetful, and you may find it hard to pay attention.[4]

3. Avoid Multitasking

While multitasking may look like a great idea, it can affect your ability to maintain a laser focus.

The American Psychological Association confirmed that constantly swapping between activities can reduce your focus as you are not giving yourself considerable time to adjust to a single thing.[5]

4. Leverage the ABC Technique

Harvard Business Review revealed that your brain is continuously distracted by internal and external elements such as sounds, thoughts, and interruptions.

One method that can help you wade through these distractions is known as the ABC technique.[6]

  • A stands for ‘becoming aware of your options’.
  • B stands for ‘breath deeply’.
  • C stands for ‘choose thoughtfully’.

Become aware of the options that are available to you by deciding whether to take heed to distractions. Then, breathe and relax while deciding on whether to focus or become distracted.

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5. Work With Natural Light

You cannot achieve optimal focus working in a windowless room lit with artificial light.

According to a study, individuals who work in offices lit with natural lights record substantially fewer headaches, blurred vision, and eye strain, all of which impede focus.[7]

6. Drink Some Water

According to research, high water intake can increase your alertness. About eight glasses of water have been recommended daily.

Does water enhance focus?

Short answer: yes.

A research conducted by the University of Westminister and the University of East London revealed that you can enhance your focus by 25% simply by drinking 300ml of water.[8]

Drinking water always also prevents dehydration and tiredness.

7. Listen to Classical Music

Music is therapeutic, especially classical music.

Why classical?

A study conducted by Stanford University revealed that people’s minds tend to wander while listening to music. However, classical music can help people to gain awareness and attention because it features several transitional points that have silence.[9]

Final Thoughts

I would advise you to pause and reflect in intervals by asking yourself if you are genuinely focused or distracted.

Anytime you are going in the opposite direction of your goals, simply bring back yourself to regain your focus.

It takes time to maintain a laser focus. But with constant practice and the application of these techniques, you will eventually learn the art of maintaining a laser focus.

More Tips to Help You Stay Focused

Featured photo credit: Stefan Cosma via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on June 3, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

More on Constructive Feedback

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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