Generally, people assume that to stay focused is not a big challenge; I do agree with it but it is not the case now, although it was traditionally not so hard to stay focused. I believe the reason why we are unable to stay focused currently is mainly because of our mind. Our mind is bombarder with so much of data, information and new contents every minute that we are so busy on feeding them that we cannot apply our minds on something else. I have understood this that our minds like to feed on new information, messages, images, videos, movies etc….as long as we get new things to hear, read and watch, we will be lost in the feeding process. The amount of data and information created in this current era has exponentially exploded.
Traditionally, if you look at the means to get contents were very few, essentially they were Newspapers, Radio or Television. Therefore, we were able to amount a certain level of control over our minds then; but it is not the case now, due to the development of smart phones, tablets, laptops and smart devices, we are faced with exponential proportion of new contents; subsequently, so much of struggle we have now to stay focused. I do not want to suggest that these technological developments are bad, but rather I want to suggest that we are inherently lazy to do work or to apply our minds to do something worth. So, we spoil ourselves with these technologies to the extend that we cannot redeem ourselves without real struggle. However, I do not mean to suggest that this particular subject is all the distractions that everyone is entangled in, there are other distractions also. However, this type of addiction of a person to feed in new contents is widespread across globe. So if it is any consolation, you are not only the one in this mess.
Personally, I totally sympathise with all those who are unable to stay focused. It has been a personal struggle for me as well. The benefits of staying focused is lot to ignore. Especially, if you are a person who is ambitious, who likes to be well off than your current state and who wants to live a life healthy, wealthy and properous; then it is must to stay focused consistently to see some results. Above all, the thing that I hate the most, which many of our fellows experience is this we fall into a deep well of self-loathing and low self-esteem, I know this is true in my case. Unless, we take some strong steps we will endlessly be lost in the cycle of all the distractions around us.
Over the years I have learnt few tips which I believe will help you to stay focussed. I do not want to overly describe these points though, you can use them as steps also
1st Create your Goals :
I believe focused life begins with setting goals. May be you are not in a position to even have a thought of what you dream of becoming; although that may seem to you impossible, yet I urge you to believe that it is possible. Setting goals is a major step to make even a small progress in the direction of your goal. Progress is progress even if it is small. But without goals we cannot measure your progress.
Begin again to give your brain the doze of your ambitions, dreams and goals. I do not know, how many of you remember that during the kinder garden classes, we were asked to paint or draw what we aim to become when we turn adults. Such activities were very important to form our brains, so if we have lost our way now, surely repeating these activities will help us. It is so important to picturise what we want to become. You can do different activities to keep yourself aware of your goals. May be you can make a VISION Board where you pin your ambitions or you can write them down in sticky notes and stick them every where in your house or you can write your goals in BIG BOLD LETTERS on your wall. There are so many ways you can use to repeatedly tell yourself what you want to become. I believe you are never old to become what you dream of, do not delay anymore, start now!
2nd Create an Environment :
This is a continuation of the previous step, it relates to creating an environment that suits your goals. I do not know, how many of you realise this that when we see certain items or things around us, they trigger a response, a memory or an action from us. The best examples to prove what I say is your couch or your bed, as soon as you see them before you know you are lying on it. These items they trigger a response that has been associated with them for long time . For some Couch will be the place where they have been playing video games, so the trigger would be to play video game as soon as they see the couch.
I do not mean to say that you need to get rid of these items, may be you need to get rid of certain things with which you are undeniably hooked up; if you are better off without it why not get rid of it then. Moreover, the better thing to do would be to bring in things that triggers you to get some progress done. The things that you can use to create an environment entirely depends on your goals. Some try to have an entire room just for their profession so that they may not be distracted by anything that should not be there. Additionally, I want to recommend two more factors that impacts our environment very much; lighting and music, they cortribute hugely to create great ambience for us to stay focused. This is why if you visit Gyms, there they play certain genre of Music to pump us for any type of difficult workout. So, I hope you will take steps to create for yourself a suitable environment.
3rd Create Just Do it Attitude
The toughest thing to do on our journey to stay focussed every day is to get started. It is so much difficult to make the start. I hope many of you can relate to this. I want to talk to those people who are not very motivated to get started. If that is the case in your life then the best thing not to do before you start everyday is that you never analyse or think on your tasks before you start, the very thought of the work that you have to put in, will make you tired. And if you are a person who is habitually lazy, you will be left with no motivation to start your task. Basically, many things contribute to this mannerism, may be our laziness, may be we are overwhelmed to do so many tasks together or may be our fear to loose; and there can be many more factors in it.
This was one of my personal challenges to overcome to just get started, although I wanted to achieve great goals; I would linger around and do something else instead of doing what was needed to be done. The best remedy to overcome this is to stop thinking about it and just do it. Otherwise, we will take forever to just start everyday. I mean to say if you want to get anything done ever towards achieving you goal, you should just start doing it daily without pondering over it too much.
4th Create real Friends
This point is not just to suggest that you need to have real friends other than the just social media friends but it also suggests to create friends who are inline to make you progress towards your goals. Sometimes, we make real friends who further pull us into the lost world of our distractions, here is where you have to use the unfriend button in the real world.
More specifically the recommendations I want to make on choosing friends is that you should attempt to choose group of friends with whom you can hang out weekly once or twice, who bring different view points, who are motivated also to achieve their goals. Especially, when you are together, you need to set a rule for the hangout that all friends during this time will stay away from all those things like social media, online gaming etc that keep them from being focused and those things that frequently distract them. You make these sessions as time where you detox yourself from your distractions through spending time with real people. The time that you spend in these hangouts will not go waste, rather you are learning to get grips on your mind and you are replacing your source of enjoyment with real people instead of the virtual world.
I do not know how much practical is this recommendation. However,in my case instead of going out to look for friends I took the help of my better-half to detox myself; I spent quality time with her in talking, cooking and cleaning. I will be honest so many times I was physically with her but never really was with her. This step really has helped our relationship and also refreshed my mind to focus more.
5th Create an escape from Distractions
This is a practical tip, it is not too hard to implement really. I have spot this in Sportsmen, they have a peculiar mannerism just before they are about to go in action. I have seen this in cricket that after each ball the batsman will look around the field to spot all the fielders which genuinelly takes their focus off the bowler and then in order to return to his stance he repeats a mannerism, which can be opening his gloves and tightening it. There are different acts that different players follow to get themselves focused to face the next ball. The mannerism that they repeat tells their mind subconsciously to focus hard on something that is more important.
You can choose any such action, may be rising up from your place going up to make a coffee for yourself or taking a sip of water in different intervals. An act/action/habit to remind yourself to focus. You can utilise this tip for two purposes, one is to remind yourself to deviate your focus onto something more important. Second application of this tip is when you are totally distracted and you have been distracted for sometime, so you use this action to return to what you are suppose to do.
6th Create a Stable Mind
I do not intend to assume that you do not have a stable mind, instead let me acknoledge that the very fact that you have reached reading this part of the article tells that your mind is quiet good. However, the reason why I suggest this point is because like mentioned in the introduction, our brains develop apetite towards what we feed the mind with the most. So, assuming the focus that you require to achieve your goal requires your mind to focus on things that is totally different from what your mind was fed previosly, therefore there is a probability that your mind may take time to develop a sense of focus on something new. I do not say this to discourage you, but I understand this that you need to be aware of it. This awareness will enable you to work with the your mind.
This is were you realise that you cannot radically shift from what you were doing with your mind earlier to something new. You attempt in stages to develop focus on things that you know is useful to make progress. Your mind is a powerful tool, if you apply it properly. Once you reach a stage where you can indulge in some type of recreation for yourself and at the same time you are able to focus on your ambitions as well, you can congratulate yourself for the fact that you reach a point where you have created a stable mind.
7th Create Routines for yourself – Your Routines are Key
In continuation to the previous tip, develop daily routines which constitutes of all that you want to do. Human Beings live and work inside time cycles. We live in cycles of days with 24 hours, cycles of weeks with 7 days, cycles of months with 4-5 weeks and cycles of years with 12 months. We live in cycles of time. We can choose to work with these cycles to develop a daily routine or a weekly routine. Some may thing it is confining ourselves in same patterns and it may be boring to some.
But I think, if we develop routines in our life, we can use them to stay focused consistently day after day for goals that we want to achieve. I follow a typical routine
- wake up at 6 AM
- from 6 AM to 06:30 AM – Morning Duties
- from 06:30 AM to 07:10 AM – Work out Time
- 07:10 to 07:45 AM – Cook your Breakfast
- 08:15 AM – All set to work
- 11:00 AM – Prepare and Eat your Lunch with my wife
- 12:00 PM Start Again
- 04:00 PM Spend some time in Social Media & Create Posts & Read News
- 05:00 PM Time with my son & Drink a Tea or coffee
- 06:00 PM Blogging
- 07:00 PM Develop my Programming Skills
- 08:30 Prepare & Eat Dinner
-09:00 Catch up with Family or Friends
-10:00 Go to sleep
The advantage of repeating routines is this that you do not need to put much effort to stay focused, you float along with the routine smoothly. Consistent efforts will eventually yield results, in a month’s time you will see the difference. Quitters don’t experience rewards. But those who consistently put in efforts for longer period of time will see the difference. Small efforts made consistently still gives reward in longer time span. So stay put don’t give up
I wish you all the best for a focused life.
Hope the blog was helpful; if you like to leave a comment please do not hesistate.