It took me YEARS in order to find what work flow worked best for the way my brain was already wired.
I wanted to know how to stay focused so I could get a much work done as possible so of course I read articles on how to stay focused, I watched YouTube videos on how to stay focused and I read books on how to stay focused.
Anything that I could absorb that would help me move to the next level.
In this article on How To Stay Focused I am going to show you all of the secrets I learned in my search to focus mastery.
How Historic Legends Would Stay Focused
I read a book called ‘Daily Rituals: How Artists Work‘ that was about every great in history and how they worked daily to really accomplish big things.
This book uses daily routines of people like Pablo Picasso, Karl Marx, Woody Allen and Ernest Hemingway.
I realized when I read that book that no ones routine is the same.
The only similarities with the people was that they found their sweet spot and they worked their ass off every single day at the same time until they accomplished their goal.
With that being said, if you are trying to learn how to stay focused, you need to understand that what works for someone else won’t necessarily work for you.
You need to find your sweet spot and use mental tricks to help you keep moving forward on your goals and tasks.
How To Stay Focused #1
Here is a little secret I use to stay focused…. use scientifically tested music made for helping you focus.
Right now as I am typing this I am listening to this in the background.
This music is actually custom made by Focus At Will using tested brain science for helping people stay focused.
I heard about it on a Pod Cast I trust and I decided to check it out.
I started using the music in the background when I did tasks such as writing or cleaning the house and it actually works!
There are a bunch of different Focus At Will options but the one I posted above is the primary one I go to.
I just book mark it and open it anytime I am about to start working.
You may not like some of the background music but most of them are awesome. The fluctuation between the types really keeps it you moving.
Click it and jump through out the hour to check it out.
How To Stay Focused #2
DO NOT TRY TO MULTI TASK
Why not? Well… because you literally CAN’T multi task… you just think you are.
And it is hurting your ability to get work done faster. Trust me, I learned this the hard way.
The human mind is not made for multi tasking.
Miller, a Picower professor of neuroscience at MIT, says that for the most part, we simply can’t focus on more than one thing at a time.
What we can do, he said, is shift our focus from one thing to the next with astonishing speed.
“Switching from task to task, you think you’re actually paying attention to everything around you at the same time. But you’re actually not,” Miller said.
“You’re not paying attention to one or two things simultaneously, but switching between them very rapidly.”
Miller said there are several reasons the brain has to switch among tasks. One is that similar tasks compete to use the same part of the brain.
“Think about writing an e-mail and talking on the phone at the same time. Those things are nearly impossible to do at the same time,” he said.
“You cannot focus on one while doing the other. That’s because of what’s called interference between the two tasks,” Miller said. “They both involve communicating via speech or the written word, and so there’s a lot of conflict between the two of them.”
Researchers say they can actually see the brain struggling. And now they’re trying to figure out the details of what’s going on.
How To Stay Focused #3
Make To Do Lists To Stay Focused
Of course you already know this but I want to make sure you know because I don’t know what I would do without my to do lists.
If you really want to know how to stay focused… you need to learn how to organize your time.
When you schedule and align your life’s tasks your mind is so much clearer to focus on the tasks at hand.
When you have a to do list you understand what the day ahead looks like and you aren’t scrambling to figure out what to do now or what to do next.
It’s all in order and you can just get it done.
This clears up your mind clutter and allows you to stay focused on the tasks at hand.
Make sure that you set up your to do list the DAY BEFORE. Do not set it up the day of.
Trust me on this, you are much more motivated and ready when you go to sleep knowing what you are getting yourself into the next day.
How To Stay Focused #4
Reward And Punish Yourself
Set up a reward system and make a deal with yourself.
If I finish this now, I can go to the club later tonight. (or whatever you want to reward yourself with later)
This kind of stuff really works. It’s the same reason a bodybuilder can keep on a good diet. He knows he has a cheat meal coming sometime in the week and that makes him okay with eating the bland food all week.
Just like rewarding yourself, also make consequences if you don’t do it.
Oh.. you didn’t finish writing that song verse and other tasks today because you were playing video games instead?
You better do it before you go to sleep or you’re going to have to stay in this weekend and knock it out to make up for it.
How To Stay Focused #5
Do Creative Work First
Mind numbing tedious tasks drain your energy faster, you need that energy for working on creative tasks.
The mind numbing tedious but easy tasks can be done anytime.
I always recommend that you start with the goal that you are most passionate and inspired to work on first.
This way you are doing something you enjoy instead of draining your mental energy doing something you aren’t too fond of doing.
How To Stay Focused #6
We already went over the fact that you can’t ‘REALLY’ multi task.
So why even take the risk of being distracted by anything?
It’s pretty much common sense that if you want to be able to stay focused you need to get all distractions out of the equation.
Put your cell phone on the other side of the room. Turn off the TV, tell your dog to stfu, tell your Grandma to turn to the Golden Girls marathon.
You have work to do and we both know you suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder or you wouldn’t have looked up how to stay focused in Google.
How To Stay Focused #7
Remember at the beginning of this article when I mentioned the Daily Rituals of greats in history?
Well, we are all different. We have to find what works for us.
So you need to find what type of work flow works best for you to learn how to stay focused on top of all of the other tips I offer.
Once you find the best method that works for you that allows you to work in the perfect work flow, you know that you can get started on work and just knock it out with ease every single time.
You just gotta find the best method for you.
1) First find out if you work best during the day or at night. Sometimes we are just programmed to be better workers at different times in the day.
2) Then find out what kind of method works for you.
You can try a bunch of techniques and methods to fight procrastination and work more such as the Pomodoro Technique.
Which is really just working for 25 minutes straight and then having a 5 minute break then repeating that 4 times. Then take a 15-30 minute break.
I personally find that working for an hour and a half and then break for 15 and then repeating works for me.
How To Stay Focused #8
Gamify Your Life to learn how to stay focused.
This is a HUGE tip on focusing because it turns your work into something fun!
For one I keep a list of things I need and want to do weekly and how many times. Every time I complete them it’s like a level system. I add experience points to the board and tally them up.
I know by the end of the week I need to accomplish each one X amount of times. Then I reward myself, which we talk about later.
Another way I make doing work more fun is to set a time limit on a task I need to complete.
I set the timer for an hour and see how much of that task I can get done in the time limit.
It makes you hurry and it’s kind of a rush knowing time is closing in.
You can download little timers that are more exciting than just a buzz timer on your phone.
I like this site because there is a bunch of different cool count down timers.
The bomb timer is awesome because you can watch the fuse get shorter and shorter.
How To Stay Focused #9
Meditate For 1 Minute! That’s It!
Now I know a lot of people see the word meditate and they think “Oh God!” but hear me out.
Meditation is mostly beneficial for learning how to focus in the moment.
It’s actually for learning how to stay focused.
When you meditate you are simply focusing on 1 thing for a few minutes, your breathing.
This eases your mind and helps you de-clutter and learn how to keep focused on other things in your life.
It’s that simple! Give it a try. Don’t start big, start focusing with 1 minute sessions and work up from there.
This way you aren’t discouraged from starting. It’s super easy, just close your eyes and focus on your deep breathes 6 times in and out. BOOM! You have meditated for 1 minute 🙂
A great start that you will truly appreciate. After 1 minute you will already feel the difference.
Try it right now!
6 DEEP breathes, in and out. Feel each breath flow into your lungs and then out of your lungs.
How To Stay Focused #10
Exercise Then Work
There is a reason my daily routine has me starting my day with a hour and a half workout.
Immediately after the workout my body is ready to go and focus on some work.
You would think that it will exhaust you… but that’s not true! You feel it LATER in the day, not right after the workout.
“While the long term positive effects on cognitive and mental acuity are known, research into the immediate effects of exercise on the brain is starting to emerge as well.”
We already have news that creativity is boosted for two hours after workout courtesy of the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking.
Plus you need to be exercising everyday anyways. Why not give yourself another reason.
How To Stay Focused #11
Drink Caffeine In A Smart Way
I didn’t really need to say this but I kind of did because I have a little secret I have learned to help me stay focused.
Sometimes coffee doesn’t do anything for people or maybe you don’t like coffee?!
My trick is that I often start my day with coffee which gives me a body high and energy boost.
If I keep drinking coffee too much during the day I start to feel the coffee having less and less effect on me.
This is from my sensitivity decreasing but also the mental fact that I know I had coffee already.
What I do is switch to tea middle of the day. These are 2 different caffeine sources that give you a bit different caffeinated highs.
This lets you have 2 big spurts of energy during the day. Use them wisely.
At Starbucks you can earn Green and Gold level which gives you free refills on coffee and tea.
If you aren’t at either of those levels a refill is just 50 cents. Most people don’t know that.
What I do is go in to Starbucks and get a coffee for $2.50 and then drink it there.
But before I leave I go back to the counter and ask for a refill, but this time I ask for tea which I get for free and drink later in the day.
Does this work? Yes, I do it probably 4 times a week on average.
How To Stay Focused #12
Make A Routine And A Habit
When you do something everyday at the same time, your body gets so used to it, you can immediately jump into a tasks and just knock it out.
Immediately upon waking I wrote lyrics for 1 hour every single day for a year straight.
Seemed hard at first but after a few weeks I was writing lyrics and rhymes as soon as my eyes opened because my body was so used to it.
Just like I expect to watch Shark Tank every Friday Night, a habit will form in your mind and body that makes everything easier to do if you just start doing it on a regular basis.
Welp, this is the end of the how to stay focused article, and for that reason, I’m out.
– Your Friend, Rob Level