How to Stay Focused: A guide to help you gain more focus throughout the day
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The Pareto principle, also known as “the 80-20 rule”, concludes that 20% of our actions bear fruit to 80% of our results. For this reason, among others, it is important to be aware of how we spend our time.
Am I investing my time in ways not only suitable for my growth but to achieve my goals?
This is the question that people considered highly efficient ask themselves every day. Typically, we propose something and it is not achieved, like a dream that never comes true. To help you achieve what you have always wanted to do, here are 5 tips to be the go-getter you have always aspired to be!
Stop doing several things at once!
Strange as it sounds, what you’ve heard about the wonder woman who does ten things at once is a myth that damages more than helps. This expectation makes you think that if you only stay busy, you will be able to finish your long list of to-do’s or tasks. Don’t believe it, and strive to focus your time to be more efficient and really take advantage of the time you dedicate to each activity. Your brain is like a soldier who wants to serve you and is ready, and willing, but your instructions must be clear. Don’t confuse it by dividing your attention, instead try a method to help you focus as the technique known as the “Pomodoro Technique”.
This technique was inspired by a timer shaped like a Pomodoro tomato, which the creator of the technique used to focus during college and can also help you!
The Pomodoro Technique works like this:
- Pick an activity on which you will focus for 25 minutes.
- Work on that activity and only on it for the total duration of 25 minutes, limiting distractions as much as you can. This helps when there are little ones or other people who require our attention. It helps to give defined time to your approach not only for you but for the ones who seek your attention.
- After 25 minutes, take a short break of approximately 5 minutes and return to the activity you chose for another 25 minutes.
- Repeat and continue with the cycle three more times, for a total of four cycles or one hour of activity. At this moment, take a break of 20 to 30 minutes, which will let you relax and keep your mind cool.
- If you want to continue, repeat the cycle from step 2 with the same activity or something new. It can also be useful to mark on paper each segment of 25 minutes that is completed to help with the motivation of your efforts.
Do the most difficult first.
You can have an unconditional friend with yourself, or be your worst enemy. An easy way to help the relationship with yourself is to remove the worry of what you don’t want to do. By taking the bitterest medicine first, everything else will be even sweeter. If you let your mind say what to do first, you will fall victim to procrastination, or the habit of delaying activities or situations that must be attended to, avoiding them for different reasons but with the same result, nothing is achieved by something we do not want to do.
Don’t get carried away by procrastination and order your to-do list or pending activities in order of what you least want to do. It will be uncomfortable for you but you will feel much better at the end of that first activity and the rest of your activities will feel much easier and you can be motivated to move forward with your day.
List? Always make and keep a list!
In order to do the most difficult first, you need to be able to know what your day or your plans will give you the most difficulty. When I was a child, I always saw my mom with a notebook, always writing things, whether it was payments, recipes, or what she had to do. That’s why she is one of the most organized people I know, a talent that I don’t quite take after, unfortunately. But even people like me have the convenience of having a notebook or our smartphones to be able to take notes of what needs to be done. Your lists must be oriented to achieve your goals. Think about what you are looking to achieve at the end of the day, the end of the week and the month. If you have your own company or other big goals, lists are essential to achieve what you set your mind to without wasting your valuable time on things that are not on your list and will not help you.
Take care of yourself and your time
One of the easiest ways not to value ourselves is by not valuing our own time. Every day we waste hours in activities designed to steal our time like the multitude of social networks that exist. In the way we are connected today, it is easy to forget about simple but important things in staying productive and efficient, and that is in personal care. Don’t forget to eat healthy foods that will keep you energized during the day. Try to avoid heavy or greasy food during your lunch. This will certainly make you feel more tired than you are, and will find you on your couch watching Netflix again, your list forgotten one more day. This and enough water during the day will help you stay feeling light and energetic.
An easy way to help against time stealers is to keep track of your activities every day, so you will be able to see exactly what you spend your time on and whether something needs to be adjusted. What is not known cannot be improved. This, along with your to-do list, can be your most lethal weapons against procrastination.
Always keep in mind your ¨why¨
“Why?” Why do you do what you do? What gets you out of bed every morning and gives you reason to carry on?
In this difficult time with so much uncertainty, it is more important than ever to keep in mind the reason why we continue. The reason why you want to get ahead. Your reason may be yourself, your partner, your parents, your children, or your faith. What motivates you and your desire to excel in a country full of opportunities for those who are willing to fight? No lists or techniques can give you the motivation that is given when you have a clear reason why you fight and strive.
Always start your day with the question “why?” and may your answer get you out of bed one more day!
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