Put Down that Cellphone!
And Other Tips to Help You 
Focus: Part l

Woman holding a cellphone

Reaching for your cellphone again? At this point, you're probably not even thinking about it. Or maybe you're struggling to get some work, any work, done, and you reach for your phone to get your mind off the struggle. You open your favorite app to catch the latest news story or to find out what Chase, Millie, and Sky are up to (I kind of hope you have no clue who I'm referring to, but if you do, don't worry, we can train ourselves to focus better.).

Sometimes, we convince ourselves we're being super productive by staying up to date with the latest news and happenings on social media and responding to emails immediately. The reality of the matter, though, is you are distracting yourself from bigger things.

When you're at work your focus should be on work. When you're at home your focus should be on your home life. This blog will be broken up into 2 parts. This week we will focus on dealing with multiple distractions.

In part l, here are 3 tips to help you focus. Take back control of your mind and your time.

  • Create a Distraction Free Zone

To the best of your ability, eliminate distractions when working on a task. This can be difficult for those who must share their workspace, but not impossible. Let those with whom you share space know that you're going to need some quiet time alone while working. If that is not possible and you really need to put the petal to the metal, find a different space, at least temporarily, to get the work done, such as a library. I know of a couple of writers who, when pressed, will rent a hotel room for a couple of nights in order get in their desired word count.

Some of you just need to open up your phone settings and turn off notifications. For the rest of us, just thinking, "Isn't that new video about to drop?" is enough temptation to pick up the phone when struggling with a task. In that case, turn off the phone or place it in a different room until you're done.

You don't need an update about who sent what Tweet yesterday. You don't need a constant stream of distressing news updates breaking your focus. Check your email and social media at set times, and ignore it the rest of the time.

  • Hit the Pause Button
Cup of iced-coffee with Have a Break sign

When your mind and schedule feel all-over-the-place and the world is throwing distractions in your face, it is difficult to relax. However, renewal is vital. As your energy dips, the mind can feel frazzled. Stress feels like it is creeping in and taking over. It is important that you withdraw from the chaos and take time to regenerate.

Just concentrating on one thing for too long a time can cause one's attention to fade. Take mini breaks. If possible, go for a walk. Some light exercise can go a long way to rejuvenate your energy, memory and focus.

  • Why All the Extra?

Do you fancy yourself a multitasker? If so, are you good at it? If yes, you're probably wrong. Sorry. Your attempt at multi-tasking is slowing you down and reducing your productivity.

You want to get as much done as you possibly can, and you want to get it done quickly, so you try multi-asking, but you're not doing each task as well as you can. Most of the time, when you think you're multi-tasking, most likely you are task switching or context switching. Context switching involves working on one thing and then being distracted by something else, such as cellphone notifications. Although you're trying to be efficient, you simply end up distracted. Your attention is divided, and you're not fully committed to the present moment. Limit your focus to the task at hand so that you can give your all to the present moment.

Click this link if you'd like help to gain greater clarity and focus.

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular. ~Tony Robbins

The next post will have more tips to help you get focused. If you'd like to know when another post drops. Sign up for our free newsletter.