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Last Updated on December 14, 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 January 21, 2021

How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus

How to Not Get Distracted: 10 Practical Tips to Sharpen Your Focus

You sit at your desk, ready to finally get some work done. “Okay, lets do this,” you think to yourself. You scroll over to Word (or Excel, or Office, etc.) and open up a fresh document. You have some idea of what needs to be done, but what happens next?

You write a few words down but just can’t stay focused. Then you say “Maybe I should wake myself up with something fun.” You go to Facebook, 20 minutes gone. Then comes Youtube, 60 minutes gone. Before you know it, lunchtime has come and half the day is gone.

Does this seem familiar? Do you ever find yourself wasting your day?

Well it doesn’t have to be this way, all you need to do is focus on finishing this article to find out how to not get distracted easily.

But before we move on to the tips, here’re some important notes you need to know:

  • Avoiding distraction is tough. You’re not alone when it comes to distractions. It’s not easy staying on task when you need to work for hours at a time, but some people are able to do it. The question is: why them and not you?
  • You were never taught how to focus. It’s funny how all throughout our school days we were never taught HOW to learn and be focused, even though that’s all we did. It was just assumed, and ultimately it was hit or miss on whether or not you ended up knowing how to do those things at all.
  • The tools to help master your ability to focus. Since everyone’s left to their own devices, it’s up to you to find ways to master your focus ability. That’s what these tips are for, so you can finally stay focused and on track with what we want to accomplish for ourselves.

So without further ado, let’s get started. 

1. Keep Your Vision and Goals in Mind

First things first, why do you even need to focus? Do you want to become a skilled guitar player? Do you want to write a novel? Do you want to start working from home?

Think about it.

Knowing why we need to stay focused can help us push through the tough and tedious parts of accomplishing our goals. That’s when our ability to focus is really tested and when it’s most needed.

2. Reduce the Chaos of Your Day by Focusing on 2 to 3 Important Tasks

If you have 20 tasks you need done everyday how effective do you think your focus ability will be? Terrible, right?

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You can’t expect to do those things with sophistication if you’re too scatterbrained to focus. You need to break it down to the essentials.

Focus on only doing 2-3 important tasks a day (even one is okay), but no more than that. It’s all you need to take steps towards accomplishing your goals. Slower is much better than giving up early because you took on too much, too early.

3. Do Those Tasks as Soon as Possible

In order to make sure you get those 2 to 3 tasks done, you need to do them early. This means as soon as you wake up, you’re already plotting how to do them.

So get up, use the bathroom, eat breakfast, and do it (Yes, BEFORE work is the best time to do it).

It’s tough, but waiting to do them only invites distraction to take over. Those distractions WILL come, and they will drain your willpower. This makes working on your goals harder to do, so don’t wait do work on your goals, do them as early as possible.

4. Focus on Only the Smallest Part of Your Work at a Time

An easy way to kill your focus is to see a goal for the big giant accomplishment that it is. Most goals will at least take a few weeks to months to accomplish, and knowing that can make it feel like it’ll take FOREVER to do.

This will cause you to do one of two things:

  • You become discouraged because the goal is too big; or
  • You fantasize about what it’ll feel like to achieve the goal

Either way is terrible for your focus and always a potential problem when focusing on the big picture or using visualization.

So what should you do? Focus on doing a very small, minimum amount of work instead.

For example, which seems easier:

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Writing 200 words per day or writing a minimum of 2 sentences per day?

20 pushups per day or a minimum of 1 pushup per day?

The key here is to use minimums. Chances are you’ll push past them.

Eventually your minimum will increase, and you’ll slowly improve your ability to stay focused on the bigger tasks.

5. Visualize Yourself Working

I briefly mentioned in tip #4 that visualization techniques can hurt you more than help you sometimes. But there is a proper way of using visualization, and it’s by visualizing yourself actually WORKING (not as if you’ve succeeded already).

Champion runners use this technique to great effect, usually by working backwards. They imagine themselves winning at first, then they act out the whole process in reverse, feeling and visualizing each step all the way to the beginning.

A quicker and more relevant way to apply this would be to imagine yourself doing a small part of the task at hand.

For instance, if you need to practice your guitar but it’s all the way across the room (let’s assume maximum laziness for the sake of this example), what should you do?

First, imagine standing up (really, think of the sensation of getting up and then do it). If you really imagined it, visualized and felt the act of standing up, then acting on that feeling will be easy.

Then repeat the visualization process with each step till you have that guitar in hand and you’re playing it. The process of focusing so intently on each step distracts you from how much you don’t want to do something, and the visualizations “ready your body” for each step you need done.

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All you need to do is apply this process to whatever it is you need to focus on, just start with the smallest motion you need to do.

6. Control Your Internal Distractions

Internal distractions are one of those problems you can’t really run away from. You need to find ways to prepare your mind for work, and find simple ways to keep it from straying to non-essential thoughts as well.

A good way to prime your mind for work is to have a dedicated work station. If you always work in a specific area, then your mind will associate that area with work related thoughts.

Simple enough, right? When you take breaks make sure to leave your work station, that way you’ll know when you’re “allowed” to let your thoughts roam free as well.

Deadlines are useful here also (use Pomodoro method for example, see tip #9). This method helps keep your mind from wandering around since you’ve got that looming deadline coming along.

Ultimately though, silencing those unwanted thoughts is all about getting some traction going. So instead of focusing on what’s happening internally, focus getting something done (anything!). Once you do that, you’ll see that all your thoughts will be about finishing your task.

7. Remove External Distractions

This tip is straightforward, just get away from things that distract you.

Is the television a distraction? Work in another room. Are the kids distracting you? Get up earlier and work before they wake up. Is the Internet distracting? Turn off the modem.

It’s usually obvious what you should do, but you still shouldn’t overlook this piece of advice.

8. Skip What You Don’t Know

This is a tip I don’t see often enough, if you hit a snag in your work then come back to it later. Focus your attention on what you CAN do, keep working “mindlessly” at all costs. All this means is that you should focus on the easy parts first.

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Eventually you can come back to the more difficult parts, and hopefully by then it’ll have come to you or you’ll have built up enough momentum that it won’t break your focus if you work on it.

9. Improve Your Discipline With Focus Practice

There’s a few focus exercises you can do to improve your overall discipline.

The first one is meditation, which is basically the definition of focus in practice. Think about it, you’re literally just sitting there doing nothing. It’s a great method for building focus ability, de-stressing, and giving you greater control over your emotions. You should definitely give meditation a shot.

The second exercise is the Pomodoro method. These are basically “focus sprints,” and each one is followed by a solid break. Like real sprints, you’ll get better and better at doing them over time. Each interval improves your ability to stay focused when it matters, so it’s more than worth your time to try this out.

10. Manage Your Momentum

Momentum is like a discipline lubricant‒it helps ease the process of sticking with goals. That’s why I think it’s important that we never take true breaks from our goals; we end up losing momentum and relying on discipline to get back on track (not an easy thing to do).

This means each and everyday we need to do something significant to further our goals (yes, even weekends and holidays). And when I say “significant,” I don’t necessarily mean a big task‒but rather, any task that brings us closer to our goals.

For instance, if your goal is to be a freelance writer, then write one single pitch on a weekend. If your goal is get healthy, then go for a short 5 minute walk even on Christmas day.

Nothing big, nothing crazy, only stuff that is significant enough to contribute to the success of your overall goal.

More Tips on Staying Focused

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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