Life Area: Personal
Topic: Mental Focus
Four Tactics To Help You Be Super Focused
You ever find yourself needing to be super focused to prepare for that special presentation or meet a crucial deadline? Well, if you’re like me that need surfaces often. I’ve written here before about Cal Newport’s book Deep Work, wherein he gives us beaucoup advice on achieving deep, focused work. Here are four tactics I use that may resonate with you in order to give them a try:
1. Use Time Blocking
At the beginning of each week, on either Sunday night or Monday morning, I plan out my week ahead using my Ideal Week Template as my guide (see offer below to download it FREE). I look at meetings and projects that must be completed and I estimate the number of hours I will need for each (if you find yourself underestimating completion time, double whatever you estimate when first doing this routine). Then I look at the week ahead (which already has time blocks for my regular occurring things like my power hours, meditation, and workouts) and I block out first committed appointments and meetings, and then these projects. Treat these focused project times just as you would a meeting with a board member or investor…you’re gonna make it happen!!
2. Eliminate Distractions
Isolate yourself in a quiet place or work from home to avoid those inevitable office distractions. Dress comfortably, make the room a comfortable temperate (69-72o), eat some healthy food free of white flour, caffeine, and sugar so your blood sugar is balanced, and put on some low volume, low key music (personally, I turn on the Spa Radio channel on Pandora).
At the beginning of each week, on either Sunday night or Monday morning, I plan out my week ahead.
3. Set Mini Goals
As you’ve heard me mention here before, it’s best to take a big project and chunk it down to bite size tasks by reverse engineering the many steps to its completion. By that I mean break it down into smaller goals that are tasks that I can finish in, say, three hours. If you’re like me, you’ll get a rush just from checking the box of each smaller task!
4. Set a Timer and Take Breaks
We often get in the zone and reach burnout sooner than we could if we otherwise predetermine break times. The Pomodoro Method advocates 50 minute work spans followed by 10 minute breaks each hour. But each of us is unique and as self-aware individuals that make up my audience, I’m guessing you know your bodies and attention spans and can determine whether a 60 minute work span or a 90 minute work span works best for you before either a 10 minute or 15 minute break, etc.
The moral of this story is that mental focus takes intentional action. Try these tactics and see if they give you greater results.
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