In today’s fast-paced world, the ability to focus has become a rare and invaluable skill. With constant digital distractions and the demands of modern work, mastering focus has never been more important. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a remote worker, or a corporate professional, the capacity to concentrate deeply on tasks can significantly enhance your productivity and career success.
The Power of Focus
Focus is the cornerstone of productivity. It involves directing your undivided attention and mental resources towards a specific task, allowing you to complete it efficiently and with higher quality. When you’re fully engaged in what you’re doing, you’re more likely to generate innovative ideas, solve complex problems, and produce outstanding results. This level of engagement fosters a sense of accomplishment, boosting your confidence and motivation. Also, by focusing on one task, you can achieve the state of flow, also called a time of “optimal experience” , an ideal state where the person can find themselves enjoying their work, feeling productive, and totally immersed in what they are doing, and performing at their best. So, in the end, being able to focus is not just about being more productive, but it is about being happier and increasing your positive experiences during the day.
Common reasons to struggle to focus
Some common reasons people struggle with focus are:
– daily distractions, like notifications and messages
– a disorganized workplace
– boredom, when a task is too easy or you have been doing it for a long time
– no connection of the current task with your purpose or ideal future
Strategies for Maximizing Focus Time
Now the central question is how to increase your focus time. The solution will be different depending on the main reason you struggle to focus, so it is a good idea to try to identify first what is triggering your lack of focus. Nevertheless, here three main tips help in most circumstances:
1) Divide your activities or projects into smaller chunks of time
Big tasks tend to overwhelm and drive procrastination instead of action. By seeing smaller and clear action items, it is easier to start and get done with them. Choose chunks of time aligned to your preferred work style, that could be 30 minutes (you can use the Pomodoro timer to help you), one hour or two hours (use apps to help track your time based on your specific needs). With smaller tasks, you will be more prone to focus on one thing at a time and get motivated to finish it.
2) Find your power time
Find out what is your best time of the day to focus. Some people prefer the morning, while others prefer the evening. Research shows that you usually have more willpower in the morning to stick to a routine, while it dissipates through the day. Depending on the type of task that you need to do, it may be a matter of finding the right combination of timing,m opportunity and work style to define when you can focus the most.
3) Define a routine
Focus improves over time if you are disciplined about it. Find a routine to help your body know when it is time to focus. If you successfully studied in grad school, part of it might have been that your routine was clear and stable. There is no reason to believe you cannot achieve a routine at work too. It could even be only a half-day routine, it doesn’t have to be the full day to be successful, but it can help you achieve the harder tasks for you. Allocate specific blocks of time for focused work. Also, choose your preferred system to support your focus time: apps, environment, coworkers, partners and devices. The more you choose intentionally your support system, the more it will work in your favor.
In a world of distractions, cultivating the ability to focus is a career superpower. By implementing strategies like task prioritization, time blocking, and mindfulness, you can harness the true potential of your mind and maximize your productivity. Focus isn’t just about completing tasks; it’s about unlocking your best self. As you embrace the art of focus, you’ll find yourself achieving goals that were once seemingly out of reach, propelling your career to new heights.
This article was written by Luciana Paulise, career coach and author of the book We Culture. She is an MBA, ICF Professional Certified Coach, Quality Engineer, Agile Coach, Scrum Master and Master in Design Thinking. She is an Argentinian living in Texas, bilingual English-Spanish. Contact me to book a coaching session. https://www.lucypaulise.com/