Thursday, April 2, 2015

3 Tips to Help Get More Focus

Time. Seriously, is there anything in the world that we want more of but use worse than time? I would argue that there are little things. Especially in our culture these days. We talk a big talk, scheduling our calendars until they are overflowing, always stating that things are "busy and good" when people ask us how we are (I am guilty of this too, by the way!).

In a culture that is captured by screens and constantly on the go and getting things done, it's time to get something new. FOCUS. Distraction free, real, genuine, productive FOCUS.

Let me tell you, it can be hard to come by. Like I said, our schedules are full. Add in five thousand notifications of every one of our phone apps dinging constantly, text messages and emails being received, a running grocery list bouncing through our head, an alarm clock blaring for some reason, the TV mumbling in the background, music playing from our computer.....stressed out yet?

I mean, really narrow in your mind what it feels like to have all of these going on in your life all at once. I know for me, it's stressful. I like moments of peace and quiet, I like my inbox to be sorted and replied to, and I like some organization and clarity.

But a lot of times, my life feels like the other paragraph, garbled, over saturated with notifications and noises and distractions. So lately, something that I have been trying to do is get more focus in my life. Real focus, like no distractions, no dinging, no notifications, no multi tasking, no noise, just concentrated focus.

While it takes effort, the times that I have gotten it right, it is so helpful, and definitely has increased my peace and productivity. I want to share the three top tips that I have from that with you to encourage you and challenge you to maybe try some of these on your own!

1. Work in 45 minute spurts without distraction, and then take a 15 minute break. Studies are showing now that people who work with this sort of schedule, and have focused work with no distractions and then take a 15 minute break are more productive. I have been trying this method and it helps keep me from mentally burning out or sidetracking and losing time. When you enter into this 45 minute/15 minute model, get yourself away from distractions. No scrolling, no multi tasking, just focus in and get it done. Then take an active 15 minute break. Walk around, start at nature, doodle, get away from screens and take a break.

2. Turn your phone on silent, put it in another room, or even put it on airplane mode! It may seem unnatural at first, and you might try to check your phone for notifications, but DON'T. While you are on your 45 minutes of working, make sure that your phone is on silent. So many times it can just be habit to pick up our phones and check, but then get sucked into scrolling and responding and getting distracted.

3. Don't look at your phone after the first hour you are awake, or the last hour before you go to bed. This one has been a challenge, but also very rewarding for me. It used to be that after I woke up, I would scroll through my newsfeed for a little bit and then get to work or do my quiet time. But, time can sometimes slip by way too fast doing this. We get caught up. Same goes for at night! Even more importantly at night, taking time away from screens for the last hour that you are awake will help your body prepare for rest better, thus allowing you to sleep better!

Do you do any of these tips already? Which ones help you focus in the best?

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