“I want more focus.” I often hear this at the coaching table. I whole heartedly agree – I want more focus too. But, where do we get it? And, can we get it in bulk?
I’ve learned a key distinction about the nature of focus. Focus is not something you HAVE, it’s something you DO.
It’s easier said than done, but you can a leg up with these three tips:
- Environment: Create a focus-friendly environment by diligently removing all distractions large and small. For example, turn off your phone and email notifications while working on a project, clear clutter from your office, and say no to extra curricular activities that pull your attention away from your goals.
- Physiology: Your brain needs nourishment to function well and focus. While this may be stating the obvious, I often see people who struggle with focus have poor diets, don’t exercise, and have poor sleep habits. Study-up on brain health, talk to your health care provider and take care of your body and brain to increase your ability to focus. Start with the basics of staying hydrated, eating a healthy diet, regular exercise and sleep.
- Practice: Focusing is akin to weight-training. The more you do it, the stronger you get. Use a timer and start with 10 minute increments of focused, uninterrupted work. It’s harder than you might think. Gradually increase this time until you are able to do 20-60 minutes increments of focused, uninterrupted work without taking a break. Push through the tough spots and you’ll be strengthening your focus muscles.
Being more focused in business and life doesn’t happen over night. It’s developed gradually. It has more to do with saying no to opportunities (aka distractions), and reducing/eliminating those things that compete for your attention. This takes diligence and commitment to the practice of focusing. Before long, others will refer to you as, “Someone who has focus.”