My alarm goes off at 8 a.m on a Tuesday morning, and I am off to the races. Wake the baby, feed the dog, feed the baby, pump more milk while entertaining the baby and checking emails. Text sister and friends while scrolling Instagram and skimming other social media. Put baby down for a nap. BREATHE. Open the bible and finally attempt to block out all distractions.. but of course, I have the baby monitor up.
In a world filled with distractions, focusing becomes almost impossible. Between social media tugging at your attention, sustaining a social life, going to work every day, working on your passion, committing to nurturing a thriving relationship, and getting those three square meals a day (ha!), you have a lot screaming for your attention. Some say apps are the issue. Funny enough, there are an extreme amount of apps created to help you block other apps from distracting you! We can blame it on many things but let's be honest, it is easy to want to be entertained and feel "connected'". But in the sarcastic words of the witch from the amazing play (later turned movie) Into The Woods, "... what really matters is the blame, somebody to blame".
WHO CARES WHY! Let's just figure out how to fix it. Like the first step for many things, one must admit there is an issue. It is the first week of January, and we have all made goals for the year, some grandiose and others minute. No matter the size of your goal, you have to have time to work on it. Where do you get the time? Do you wake up early? Do you go to sleep later? Maybe you flake on some events that you really don't want to go to anyway, but now you have a reason because "you're bettering yourself". (too close for comfort? sorry). Here is a list of things you can do to focus.
1. TURN OFF YOUR PHONE
I promise you the number one source of your distraction is that handy dandy cellular device. Al Gore did not create the internet so you could be unproductive. TURN. IT. OFF. I am one of those people who cannot turn off their phone for various reasons, so proceed to number two if number one just isn't for you.
2. DO NOT DISTURB
Place your phone on do not disturb. This is available on just about every phone. You can set some people as favorites if you have to get their calls or texts the first time they're sent.
3. SET BOUNDARIES
As someone who is home every day, people assume that I am always available since I don't have to clock in and out of a job. WELL, THEY ARE WRONG. You have to let other people know that you are working on X so you cannot be disturbed. One good way of knowing someone truly needs your immediate attention is ignoring the first phone call. If they call again, then answer the phone with, "Hey I am busy. Do you need something?". Do not ask them what they want, because if it is a want, then it's not important enough to be interrupting your focus.
4. CREATE A SACRED SPACE
If you have the space for an in-home office, then use it! Go sit in your guest room. Go to your basement. When you are in this space often enough then others will recognize it as your zone time, the time where you are in your zone and cannot be bothered. If there is nowhere in your home, then get out of the house. Go to the library or maybe even a coffee shop. BE WARNED, if you are going to a public place then people watching may ensue. In that case, go to number five.
5. PUT IN HEADPHONES
When I have in my headphones, I am transported to another world. Sometimes I listen to music that I know puts me in good vibes or sparks my creativity. When I must truly focus, I play music in another language. I can feel the beat, but I have no clue what they are saying, so I don't get lost in the lyrics.
There are so many other ways to increase your focus, but I highlighted these five because they are a guaranteed way to start seeing results. Try implementing them tomorrow, or even better yet, TODAY! Let me know how it increases your focus and/or boosts your productivity. What other tricks do you use to focus?