My current job requires me to focus on many different types of works for a considerable long amount of time on a daily basis. It demands constant context switching, staying productive and delivering results at the end of each day. I read many interviews of the successful people in order to find out how they have achieved this difficult task and as I eventually came to realize that no matter what you do in your life to get success, FOCUS is indeed your key.
Anyone can force themselves to sit in a library and study all day. The hard part is sustaining focus. It matters more than raw effort. The sun can’t burn paper without a lens to concentrate its rays. Similarly, you can burn yourself out working on a project, but if that effort isn’t concentrated, you won’t make any progress. Focus is essential, but it is also incredibly hard to do.
Focus is difficult, but it can be learned. Some may find it easier than others, like all things, but I believe anyone can get better at focusing through practice. It is all about the control over your own mind.
Meditation to Help You
Initially, I had started out with ‘meditation’. Many forms of meditation are based on the idea of mental focus. Some have you focus on a particular sound or concept to quiet your mind. Others have you focus on intense visualization which, with practice, can push you into a semi-dreamlike state as you force out the sensory input of the outside world.
Source: Tuja Wellness
The first feeling I had when starting to meditate was how boring it was. Sitting awake, eyes-closed in a quiet room, I felt intensely restless. I wanted to get up and doing something and my mind felt like an uncontrollable flow of thoughts, constantly jumping from topic to topic. They teach you when meditating to ignore this feeling. Not to suppress thoughts, but to just let them float by without jumping on them. Eventually, you get into the desired meditative state, which depends on the style of meditation you’re trying to practice.
Honestly, I don’t meditate that frequent now-a-days but it is definitely a very strong starting point for all of you who want to improve your focus.
A difference between meditation and focus, however, is mental engagement. I usually find meditation to be relaxing, but focus is draining. Practicing focus is more like a mixture between meditating and endurance running.
The unfortunate part is that the only way to get good at this is through practice. Just like strengthening a muscle, focus can only be improved by doing it more. The best way you can help your focus training efforts is to purposefully eliminate all distractions. This way the only enemy you need to combat is the distractions of your own mind. Meditative techniques can help a lot with those.The next strategy I’ve found effective is to clearly delineate chunks of time for focus. The problem many people have with focus is that they don’t establish which times are focus times and which are not. By setting up a particular set of hours in the day where you don’t allow interruptions or distractions, you can get a lot more done.
Limits to Focus:
I don’t believe a person’s ability to focus is perfectly mutable. You’ll still need breaks and you’ll still need succumb to distractions.The real value of focus is that you save time. Learning it means you need less time to get the same work done. It may be difficult, but I believe it is far more liberating than the alternative.
An Infographic by Anna Vital
Found this interesting infographic. You can also find many more ideas from this one.
Source: Funders & Founders
So this was my take on focus. What about you? How do you focus? Do you face difficulty focusing? What are the best quotes you’ve read on focus or the best suggestions you got to improve your focus? I’d love to have a chat on the comment section.