It is easy, and indeed normal, to be distracted and as a result hard to achieve deep focus for any length of time. I was excited to try out these three new strategies (to me anyway) to help begin my day strong and be better placed to focus all day. They were from six suggested by Anisa Purbasari Horton in a recent Fast Company article. Her other three suggestions were around taking a walk, enjoying a cold shower and writing about your stress and current worries, which have all worked for me in varying degrees.
I hope they work for you.
1. Tidy your workspace
“Attention is programmed to pick up what’s novel,” Josh Davis, director of research at the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Two Awesome Hours: Science-based Strategies to Harness Your Best Time and Get Your Most Important Work Done. If you’re surrounded by unread books, you might be tempted to procrastinate. Unfinished work reminds you that you have unattended tasks, which can stress you out and make it hard for you to do focused work. Before you turn on your computer, take five to 10 minutes to move any clutter that might distract you to where it’s not visible (even if that means shoving them in the drawer).
2. Find a habit you can repeat every day
For some people, focusing on something (other than work) that they can repeat day in and day out helps them concentrate throughout the day. Matt Galligan, cofounder and CEO of Interchange and The Picks & Shovels Co, starts his day with a laborious coffee routine, beginning with grinding freshly roasted beans and slowly using the pour-over method. He applies an intense level of concentration, which he said helps him focus on one particular thing at that moment, translating into the rest of his day. You can substitute this habit with anything that you want.
3. Swallow a different frog every day
Productivity Experts swear by the advice of “eating your frog” first thing in the morning. But if you’re the type of person who gets bored by starting with the same tasks or type of tasks every morning, it might be best to pick a different priority to tackle that day. Writer Daniel Dowling conquered his procrastination habit by starting his morning with a different priority than the day before. His criteria? A task he’d been putting off the longest, whether it’s learning to play the guitar or writing a blog post. As he recounts , “the only thing that the “eat your frog” formula doesn’t account for is that the hard thing changes over time. “So why can’t your morning habits change too?”
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