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Chapter 4: How to Will Yourself to Focus
Pursuing Single Tasks and Improving Productivity
Multi-tasking is often associated with being productive, but now it has become a way of life. It’s not really a productive way of working. For one, it makes you inefficient for having to switch between tasks. It can complicate things, as you suffer from stress and commit errors. It can also make you insane as you deal with the chaos of multi-tasking, when your brain is designed only to handle one thing.
That’s why it’s best to settle with single tasks. Your mind will be focused on one thing and one thing alone. Imagine how joyful it would be to savor one task, such as reading a novel, eating breakfast, or spending time with your family.
This will also benefit you in that you can focus better, improve your effectiveness, develop your expertise in what you do, and produce quality work. It also feels good to lose yourself in something that you feel is worth doing.
You can lead a life full of single tasks by doing these things:
* Be aware of the things that you are doing, right from when you start doing it. Stop yourself from switching to another thing.
Eliminate distractions. If you’re going to research, focus on it alone. If you’re going to read a book, do nothing except read the book.
Choose your tasks wisely. Always ask yourself “Am I doing something worthwhile?” If not, proceed with the important tasks.
Pour your everything into the task at hand. If you’re going to talk with friends, talk and listen. If you’re going to lose weight, eat healthy and exercise as much as you can.
Practice. Once you get your drive going, practice it every single day until you’re good at it.
But how can you boost your productivity if you choose single tasks?
Choose only the biggest and most important tasks every day, the ones that you really need to finish to create an impact on your work and life in general.
Don’t go straight to your distractions first thing in the morning. Instead, prepare a to-do list.
Get rid of distractions.
Finish your tasks one by one.
Stop yourself when you feel the temptation to check your inbox or log into your social network accounts.
Don’t stop doing the most important tasks until they’re done.
Take note of things that you can’t do now or think of doing later so you won’t forget them.
Take a break and de-stress by breathing deeply in and out.
Benefits of Smaller Work Focus
Granted that you now know a bit about how to focus, you still have a lot of work to do. For starters, you need to narrow down your focus.
It’s not right to work with a broad focus. This could be overcommitting to too many projects at once, trying to please all of your customers, doing everything for everybody, being available for contact all the time in both online and offline channels, and more.
Instead, you need to narrow your focus by identifying your priorities. Let go of one unnecessary task at a time. Do less. Include fewer features. Learn to say no to some people’s requests. Accept that you can’t please everybody. Focus on fewer things, things that do matter.
How to Focus on Reading and Research
You can do more work, especially with work that involves a lot of reading and research, if you know how to avoid distractions when you’re reading. So, how can you focus on long blogs or articles?
To finish long reading materials without being interrupted frequently, put your reading material in a separate window without any other tabs open. Expand that window to cover the rest of the screen and show the blog or article on your computer screen alone. Don’t switch to other windows or programs until you’re done reading.
Do the same thing with books. Hold your book and put your computer, laptop or any other mobile device out of your sight. Read in a quiet place and enjoy the experience.
When you do research, don’t open your emails, social networks, and irrelevant windows, tabs or programs. Search about the topic that you’re interested in and open the web pages that you found. Skim these pages and open the relevant links. Repeat these with the new online sources. Open all the necessary articles then read them one by one. Take notes after reading each article and bookmark some. This will help you focus when you do research, despite being online.
Benefits of Walking on Disconnection and Focus
Did you know that you can boost your productivity immensely by walking, aside from staying healthy and slim?
You can follow this walking routine to help you regain your focus:
Walk for about 30 minutes to a destination - a library, park, coffee shop, or cafe. Don’t connect online.
Read or work for 40 minutes, from writing and reading to taking notes or responding to emails. You can insert some snacking in there too.
Repeat this schedule.
Walking and disconnecting are worth trying because you can refocus and can think better after sitting all day long. It will also help you clear your head, enjoy what nature has to offer, and take a break from stress. It will even help you improve physically. After walking, you’ll know how to focus on work again and waste less time on distractions.
Chapter 5: How People with Various Roles Can Focus
How Parents Can Find Focus
A parent’s life is never quiet! You have kids demanding, screaming, squealing, crying, and playing at home, so it’s even more difficult for parents to find focus and peace of mind.
One way to get focus to work for your life as parents is to separate your roles. Assign them to different days or weeks and focus on each role one at a time. For instance, you have to wake up early in the morning before the kids wake up and focus on yourself. Run, jog, walk, read a book, do yoga, or indulge in your creative side by drawing or writing.
Once the kids wake up, prepare them for school while you prepare for work, pack lunches, and more. But this time, focus on being a parent and give time to talk to your kids.