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Last Updated on December 14, 2020

How To Maintain a Laser Focus And Be Productive

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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.

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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 October 4, 2021

How to Stay on Task And Avoid Distractions

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How to Stay on Task And Avoid Distractions

It has become more challenging to stay on task and avoid distractions. Unfortunately, the great benefits of today’s technologies have also become the biggest enemies of focused action. The pandemic has, of course, made its own corrections in the way we manage our time, business, family, and life. Did you know that the time-tracking market will increase worldwide by roughly 21 percent by 2025?[1]

With more and more distractions appearing in our daily lives, it’s understandable that people keep pushing themselves to squeeze every minute out of the day. But only a few realize that outside distractions are fairly easy to avoid compared to our inner triggers.

Mistakenly, we blame only outside distractions, thinking that they mess with our ability to stay on task and make it almost impossible to avoid them. However, our inner triggers are what play the biggest role in focused and productive action. While external triggers are cues from our environment that tell us what to do next, inner triggers are cues from within us. For example, when we’re hungry, we are cued to get something to eat and so on. Understanding what kind of trigger is pursuing you to take certain actions will help you determine the best solution to stay on task.

While distractions are everywhere, it’s not impossible to minimize them. Distractions itself is a topic long, wide, and deep enough for a book at least. On Amazon alone, there are more than 9000 books with a “distraction” on the cover. This once again proves our need for solid tools, systems, and new approaches to help us stay on task and avoid distractions.

Here is my formula for you to stay on task. It is not your typical “turn off your phone” and “close your emails” type of list. This formula has been crafted over years of experience, research, and knowledge. It looks deeper than external pings, rings, and dings.

I aim to give you a different perspective on how you are managing your time, attention, and decision-making. If used with one mind and willingness to truly build a skill to stay on task, this formula might be just the right read for you.

1. Manage Your Attention Before Trying to Manage Your Time

We can manage our time better if we can manage our attention. Time management depends a lot on attention, focus, and flow management, rather than planning and scheduling. Although technical support is a big part of focused action, if we lack prioritizing and attentiveness, we will eventually waste time one way or the other and make it difficult for us to stay on task. Therefore, getting clear on our intention behind the task is crucial for staying on it and not getting distracted.

Do you want to be more productive and feel good about what you accomplish at the end of the day? Do you want to have time to learn a new skill, building a better service so you can create more impact? Do you want to protect yourself from distraction, unwanted information, and more wasted time? Whatever your reasoning, if you can focus, you can get more important things done in less time. In that way, the focus is the ultimate “productivity hack.”

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We all have the same 24 hours. But what matters more than the length of time you put into a task is the intensity of focus because if you have an intensity of focus, you can reduce the amount of time spent doing it to get the same or better results. Even if you’re not in a state of flow, focus helps you get more out of the day.

A study from the University of California at Irvine found that, on average, participants (who worked in the tech field) could only work on a project for 11 minutes before being distracted. What’s worse is that it took them more than 25 minutes to regain their focus.[2]

Focus keeps you productive. It’s what determines whether you do what you want to or spend the day distracted. But it goes much deeper than this.

Being focused allows us to choose the life we want to live, not just react to what’s happening around us. So, let me give you some ideas on how to increase your attentiveness. If you want to improve your focus, you have to do more than just make yourself pay attention. Focus is as much about what you’re paying attention to as what you’re blocking out because unfortunately, the world around us is incredibly distracting and it makes challenging for our brain to focus on a task.

Learn How to Take Control of Your Technologies

There is no escaping from technology, but we need to understand that it is here to serve us, not the other way around. Many of the default settings on our devices are set to take our attention away, and it’s up to you to change them.

Create a Focus-Friendly Work Environment

This plays a massive role in your ability to focus., yet most of us don’t think much of it. Getting rid of clutter, organizing your stuff so you don’t waste time trying to find things, avoiding outside noise and unnecessary interruptions are what will help you stay on task.

Stop Multitasking

If you haven’t heard it enough times already, multitasking is a myth. When we try to do more than one thing at a time, we’re just quickly switching back and forth between the tasks. This isn’t very efficient, and it makes us more stressed. Even worse, the more you multitask, the more your brain looks for more things to do at once. It’s like your training your brain to be unproductive. However, focusing on one task at a time rebuilds your focus, lowers stress, and can even make you more creative.

2. Declutter Your Mind as Well as Your Desk

Clear space creates a clear head. It increases productivity and saves us from distractions. But clearing your desk is very technical. It’s fairly easy doable and repeatable. If you have a system in place that you love, you would only have to declutter once, and then you would just follow your path where clutter gets thrown away regularly. This allows for constant rotation of creative energy giving you space to evolve.

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However, a tidy space actually can keep you on the task only for that long. It can give you only that much of a clear head and distraction-less space. While it immensely helps to shift the energy, it will not keep you distraction-less forever, and this is where your mindset comes in. The “clear space creates clear head” is only partly true.

Clear space gives us more clear mind for that moment, but this is not your long-term solution. If you would have managed to keep your workspace clean, clutter-free, you would still have thoughts. According to research, an average person has 6000 thoughts every day![3]

Will a decluttered space be able to help you with all of them? No! But this is where the mindset work comes in. No tool, tip, trick, or hack will be able to solve your timing or focus issues. Only you can do that because you are the one in charge of your time, your commitments, your schedule, your plan, and also your mind.

If you ever tried to meditate, you know that it takes time to clear your head from thoughts, calm the mind, and thrive in presence. And it is definitely one practice that can help you understand how your mind works. If you are having difficulty staying on task, then it’s time to look for the cause.

If you think that another great new productivity app will solve your problems and you will finally be able to stay on task, it will not support your long-term vision. Yes, it might help for a month or two, but then what? Are you willing to go back and search for other solutions while your to-do list keeps growing and your time freedom is non-existent?

It is great to start by decluttering the mind. Support it with decluttered space on your way to great focus and productive work. Ask yourself: What is blocking you from undivided attention? Have you ever thought that you could be keeping yourself busy to feel worthy of your income? It’s a clue to your limiting beliefs! Imagine if you could replace that with a success mindset, how would your focus increase? It’s taking one mindset block at a time and working through it.

3. Work on Your Pain

What does pain have to do with focus? We waste our time when we get distracted, and we get distracted all the time. Imagine how much you would be able to achieve if you would stay focused on the task for that scheduled time, commit to that task and get it done. Who knows? You might even finish it in half the time you planned.

But let me explain to you something about pain. We allow ourselves to get distracted because it’s our decision to check that ping, ring, and ding. We decide to focus somewhere else when that ring comes knocking. We make that choice because of the pain. We feel discomfort, and we all love comfort, right? Our natural way of avoiding pain and discomfort is what makes us lean towards distractions rather than stay on task. It’s worth looking deeper and understand what are the underlying issues that you’re trying to avoid when distracted.

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Working on that pain will help you stay focused and committed to even the hardest of tasks. If you’re committed to your growth in all areas, it’s up to you to stay on task even when you don’t feel like it.

I challenge you to look where that pain is coming from that causes you to get distracted. Find it, and let it go so you can be attentive, present, and focused.

4. Rewrite Your Habits

We are in charge of building our success habits, so what are you working on today to allow yourself to stay on task with as little effort as possible? Below are the most common distracting habits that probably have been creeping into your daily routine as well.

Stop Adding Things to Your To-Do List

To-do lists give you too much flexibility, too much freedom of choice, and too much space for procrastination to creep in. Everything you’re planning to do, schedule it in your calendar instead. Plan your tasks, and put timing next to every task. Like that, you will create space for important tasks, prioritize wiser, and won’t be able to overbook your time.

If you think about it, putting your tasks into your calendar creates well-deserved peace of mind, gives you much more freedom, and keeps you productive. You’re no longer overshadowed by your never-ending to-do list that keeps growing by minutes and never gets completed. Staying committed to your calendar is a part that can’t be avoided if you want to stay on task. If it’s on your calendar, you have already committed to doing it. You have already decided that something is important enough to get on our calendar, so it’s worth your focus.

Stop Notifying Yourself and Scrolling Your Screen

Checking notifications, emails, messages as they come in. That “beep” sound distracts you in a fraction of a second, but unfortunately, it takes much longer to get back into your creative flow after an innocent “I will just quickly check-it might be urgent.”

For better productivity, you should set certain times when you allow yourself to check emails and it should not be more than twice a day. Seriously, it is enough times (I’m talking from experience). Scrolling through social media is nothing new, yet it still is the biggest time-waster. You get sucked into random posts only to realize that another 20 minutes have passed without creating results for your future. Mind your own business (literally), and create before you consume.

Stop Acting Like You’re Superhuman

Multitasking is not an admirable ability, it’s destructive behavior. You have probably heard about it, but let me remind you again: trying to do more than one thing at a time diminishes your productivity. The human brain simply isn’t designed to multitask. Your brain slows down as it switches between tasks, which takes more time and makes you less efficient.

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Focusing on one thing at a time will make you more effective. If you’re taking too many breaks, you end up lingering and not getting your focus back. Schedule your break to keep yourself in check and focused. Too many breaks lead to more wasted time. Oftentimes, it means working when exhausted. All it does is create more exhaustion and more mistakes. You may also end up facing burnout.

Do yourself a favor and make sleep a priority. The time you spend resting will pay off when you’re awake and ready to take on the world. Once you are clear on what wasted your time, create a to-don’t list to get clear on things you know you should not be doing.

5. Find Traction

We are used to thinking that the opposite of distraction is focus—where we are fully present, attentive, and focused on what it is that we are doing. But the opposite of distraction is actually “traction,” and traction from Latin is an action that pulls you towards what you want to do. So, distractions are actions that pull you away from what you want to do, and tractions are actions that move you towards what you want to do. This means that any action can be either a distraction or traction depending on what you intend to do with your time.

There’s nothing wrong with scrolling through your Facebook feed, watching YouTube videos, or playing a video game, as long as that’s what you intend to do. It’s when you do things unintentionally that you get into trouble. When you get pulled away from what you need to do to avoid discomfort, to avoid that hard work or that pressure dealing with a specific task, that’s when you allow yourself to get distracted.

So, if you’re asking if it’s possible to avoid distractions, the answer is yes. But you don’t want to do it! You want to notice these moments of discomfort and understand what causes you to get distracted. What are you trying to avoid? Why are you letting yourself get pulled away from things that you need to do?

If we dig deeper, we can see things for what they are, including ourselves, our believes, our thoughts, and anything that sabotages our focus without us realizing it.

Final Thoughts

Distractions are a very wide range of things. They are everywhere, looking for you to bring your attention to them. The good news is that you can stay on task if only you choose to. You are in charge, and now that you have a better insight into your triggers, it will hopefully allow you to get less distracted and more focused.

No matter what your distractions are, you are in control of your time, what you do with it, and where you spend it. Be sure to keep that control in your hands.

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More Tips on Improving Your Attention

Featured photo credit: Surface via unsplash.com

Reference

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