Six Tips to Focus Your Attention

Focus!How’s your attention span these days? Are you checking your email on your phone while watching a YouTube video of a cat waterskiing yet? How many browser tabs do you have open? How many times have you checked your Twitter feed in the past 30 minutes?

We’ve entered an age where you have to make an effort to take control of your focus. It’s incredible how much you can accomplish once you dial down the distractions. Here’s how to reclaim your own mind:

  1. Block off time on your calendar every week. Ideally, you should be able to pick 2 — 3 continuous hours. If you can’t get that much, start with one good hour (and not your lunch hour!).
  2. Make it known you’re not available. If required, notify coworkers, clients, and friends in advance that you’ll be off the grid.
  3. Treat the time like an absolutely non-negotiable meeting. Don’t sell yourself short by letting obligations creep in. Remind yourself that this isn’t “free time,” it’s time that will yield progress in working towards your goals.
  4. Plan in advance how you’re going to spend the time. By assigning a specific task, you’ll accomplish two things: First, you won’t find yourself frittering away the time when it comes. Second, your brain will gradually begin preparing for this uninterrupted time– those moments daydreaming in the car may actually be spent mentally preparing for your zero-distraction zone.
  5. Determine what you want to have happen by the end of your focused time. A new marketing plan? A strategy for client relationship building? It’s best if the session produces a tangible result, such as a document, diagram, or action plan.
  6. Kill the interrupters: Turn off instant messengers, cell phones, and desktop alerts. Put on headphones if you need to.

Odds are, you’ll begin to really look forward to this time, and the amount you’ll be able to accomplish will surprise you.

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