This post was prompted by a question from a workshop participant about staying focused. She mentioned that she found it terribly difficult to stay focused when you have a long list of tasks. Therefore, I thought I should dedicate some time to this topic. I’m certain a lot of folks out there have the same challenge.
I’ll discuss the key points shortly. But before I get into that, I wanted to mention that I’m ecstatic about a recent victory that I’m really proud of. And the only way I achieved that was to stay focused on what mattered. If I went off in a hundred different directions, I wouldn’t be able to pull it off.
You see, I had a goal of leading a live workshop for this year. And now I’ve been able to check it off. It’s done and dusted and I couldn’t be happier – there are multiple reasons for that, which I’ll cover in another blog post. But suffice it to say, this was a humungous achievement for me.
Easiest Way to Staying Focused on Your Goals
I have a very good understanding of this problem of staying focused because I’ve had to deal with the same issue for many years. My problem of getting focused had become so acute, that I had started to believe that I needed medical help.
I started researching how to stay focused because I knew I had to find a way to overcome this problem.
I came across a multitude of tips and tricks on how to stay focused on your goals, but the best technique I’ve found of getting focused is to use a timer. Can you believe what a no-brainer that is? And there I was thinking I needed to seek help!
You can watch the quick explainer video here:
A productivity and time management technique called the Pomodoro technique talks about working in 25 minute windows. This technique is very similar to the time boxing technique and is super helpful when you want to focus.
Of course waking up early in the morning also helps with how to be focused on your goal. The peace and quiet in the mornings is unparalleled and your mind is fresh. No distracting phone calls and if you can shut off social media and email, that’s all you need.
The way it works with the timer is that you set it for 25 minutes. You stay completely focused and try to finish the task within that time. Once the timer is done, you take a 5 or 10 minute break, and you pick up the next task. I cannot tell you how effective this is!
There is an online pomodoro timer you can use for this. It’s FREE.. yay! You’ll find it here: https://tomato-timer.com/. You can set short breaks and long breaks as you please and then come back to your tasks.
Why Is This So Effective In Staying Focused?
There are 3 reasons that I think play the biggest roles:
- It’s easier to have a goal that isn’t overwhelming. Knowing that you’ll have to focus for only 25 minutes at a time is much easier than having no hard cut off.
- When you set yourself a deadline and know you only have 25 minutes to complete a task, you just stay focused on your work. This eliminates distractions in the form of emails, browsing, social media, etc.
- You get really good at planning your tasks to fit the 25 minute slot and accomplishing even the smallest goals is rewarding.
Reward Yourself When You Complete Your Task
When we reward ourselves for a task well done or a goal accomplished, the brain’s rewards centre gets activated by releasing the happiness hormone called dopamine. When that happens, the brain wants to do whatever it takes to repeat that state.
So, setting a reward for yourself for completing something is a great way to stay focused. This is the proverbial “carrot at the end of the stick” situation.
When you know that there’s a reward waiting for you after you’ve accomplished something, you invariably want to accomplish it to get that reward. That ensures you stay focused on your task.
And just to prove that point, I have actually set a reward for myself for finishing writing up this blog post. The reward is a movie! 🙂
Therefore, I’m trying everything possible to complete my task. I’ll claim my reward as soon as I’m done!
It’s a great idea to try and break up your task into 25 minute sub-tasks. This will help you complete them in an organized fashion. And if you set a reward for yourself – however big, or small, the brain will push you to complete it. This is a great way of getting things checked off on your goals.
Additionally, we all know that all tasks aren’t equally interesting. So, if you set yourself up with a reward at the end of the task, there’s a promise of pleasure as well. Is that an incredible idea?
I hope you found this useful. If you have some other techniques you use to stay focused, please don’t forget to share in the comments. I would definitely update this post with your ideas and credit you of course.
Hit the share button if you think someone might benefit from this simple technique.