A great idea can be both a curse and a gift. If you have a great idea but lack the ability to focus on its execution, then it will probably just get buried or forgotten by your next great idea, the one after that, and so on. Don’t drown yourself with ideas that never become a reality. It’s time to get things done! Here are some easy tips on how to stay focused.
1Eat Before You Start Working On A Project
One of the most important things that you can do before you start working on a project is to eat. Don’t let hunger or a snack break stop your groove and kill your productivity.
- How To Stay Focused: Did you eat? What about the other people in your group? It is hard to concentrate when your belly is rumbling. Eat a light snack before you settle into working on a project. Not only will you avoid the “When is lunch?” thoughts, but a healthy snack will also give you more energy and help you to think better, too.
2Take Supplements And Vitamins That Make You Smarter
Did you know that there are foods, supplements, and vitamins that can make you smarter?
- How To Stay Focused: Consider adding some of these vitamins and supplements to your daily diet. Of course, please consult with your doctor first.
- Flaxseeds: Add some ground flaxseeds ($8-15) to your diet (you can’t digest them whole). You can sprinkle flaxseeds on peanut butter or add them to oatmeal, cereal, or even a smoothie. The omega-fatty acids in flaxseeds can help keep your mind sharp.
- Caffeine: Drink coffee! The caffeine in coffee doesn’t just keep you awake but it can also help you concentrate, stay focused, and alert.
- Supplements And Vitamins That Make You Smarter: Consider adding some of these vitamins to your diet: Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, Omega 3’s, Melatonin, and Theanine. Numerous tests and studies have shown that they can help improve and enhance performance related to mental capabilities like awareness, and memory.
- Combine L-Theanine And Caffeine: Combining caffeine and L-Theanine has a synergistic effect that produces heightened focus, creativity, energy, and alertness.
3Slay A Dragon Every Day And Harness Your Fear
Every day we will have a series of big and small tasks. We often have a tendency to focus on the smaller tasks to get them out of the way. It feels good to get something accomplished, even if it’s small. However, leaving the big task to the end is a bad idea, especially if you are pressed for time.
- How To Stay Focused: Pretend that your big task of the day is a dragon. Start your day completely focused on slaying the dragon. After you slay a dragon, then you can worry about the little stuff.
4Break Down Big Projects Into Smaller Tasks
Starting a massive project can be both daunting and stressful. How do you climb a mountain? One step at a time. How do you build a wall? One brick at a time. Use the same advice for big projects.
- How To Stay Focused: Break your big projects into smaller tasks that are easier to achieve. The smaller and more regular accomplishments will feel good and help you focus on smaller parts of a bigger project.
5Turn Off Your Phone
Using your phone is a dangerous addiction. The second someone doesn’t remember something, try to resist the urge to take out your phone and look it up. Otherwise, you might risk a tweet or email dragging you down a rabbit hole and taking you off task.
- How To Stay Focused: Turn off your smartphone, switch it to Airplane Mode, or turn on Do Not Disturb. Don’t touch your phone until the task is done.
6Disconnect From The Internet (If You Can)
Working on our computers can help increase productivity, but it can also be a huge distraction.
- How To Stay Focused: Do yourself a favor and disconnect from the Internet if you don’t need it. Everything from emails to social media alerts can interrupt you and take your focus away from your work.
7Immerse Yourself In Your Work
Have you ever heard stories of “method actors” who completely transition themselves into their roles? Some actors will gain or lose weight or even temporarily refuse to leave character until the project is done.
- How To Stay Focused: Get into the spirit of the project that you are working on. Dress up, get in character, play relevant music, or place props next to your workspace. For example, if you are writing an article about sexy Halloween girls scout costumes, then consider dressing up as one. Or at least, buy some Girl Scout Cookies.
8Surround Your Workspace With Pictures Of People Who Inspire You
Why are you in your field of work? Who inspired your career journey? Remembering your influencers can have a powerful motivational effect on your daily routine.
9Surround Your Workspace With Motivational Or Inspirational Quotes
Instead of just keeping a picture of someone who inspires you at your workspace, consider displaying their picture along with an inspirational or motivational quote.
- How To Stay Focused: Here are quote examples that might help motivate you:
10Spend Time Doing… Absolutely Nothing
Sometimes you need to reset your brain before it can start solving problems. Even members of the sleepless elite will need to take a few minutes to rest their minds.
- How To Stay Focused: Do nothing for ~10 mins each day. Just look outside, at the sky, or even traffic. Solutions to problems become obvious when you have an opportunity to clear your mind. That’s when you’ll usually get new ideas or inspiration.
11Take Walk Break Or Go For A Hike
Even a little bit of physical activity can get your blood flowing and help your mind focus.
- How To Stay Focused: Try to take a 20-30 minute mid-day walk. This will give your mind time to rest and refocus before you continue your workday.
12Use Timers To Help Keep You Focused On Specific Tasks
Have you ever noticed how much more efficient you can be when you have a short deadline? When you’re under the gun, you will use your time more efficiently.
13Use Desk Toys To Keep Your A.D.H.D Under Control
Not everything that you do needs 100% of your focus. For example, a webinar probably won’t require your full attention. But you can’t fully listen to a webinar and do something else that requires focus, like write a blog post. Your mind can only handle one major task at a time.
14Create A Prioritized To-Do List And Display It Where Others Can See It
Often times, a lack of focus is a result of not establishing priorities, accountability, deadlines, or a mix of all three.
- How To Stay Focused: Write down your priority list and hang it up so others can see it. This can be as simple as writing down one single goal on a Post-It note (i.e. lose 5 pounds by next month) and hanging it on your bathroom mirror so your partner or roommate can see it. Or as complex as assigning goals to your team in HR or project management software.
15Add To Your To-Do List Before You Go To Bed
If you have a lot on your mind, then sometimes it can be impossible to fall sleep. Instead of stressing out about trying to remember everything that you need to do in the morning, just write it down before bed.
- How To Stay Focused: Instead of laying in bed sleepless trying to remember your tasks for the next day, write a to-do list before you go to bed. The process of writing it all down will help clear your head and motivate you first thing in the morning. Wake up, grab your list, and get started.
16Only Schedule 6 Tasks Per Day For Yourself
Trying to accomplish every item on your to-do list every day isn’t realistic. You need to prioritize and limit what you try to accomplish every day.
- How To Stay Focused: Charles Schwab only attempted to focus on 6 items or less per day. If he had more than 6 things on his daily task list, then he would reschedule some tasks for a later date. Having a list of 6 things will help you focus, prioritize your day, and keep you from being overwhelmed.
17Find A Focus Friend And Check-In With Them On A Regular Basis
Who is holding you accountable for the follow-through on your projects and ideas? Telling someone what you are working on will help keep you accountable for your progress.
- How To Stay Focused: Find a focus friend. This should be someone who will be disappointed that you didn’t complete a task. In many cases, this will be your boss or coworkers. But if you’re a solo entrepreneur or working on a personal project, then consider asking your spouse or partner to help.
18Create A Meditation Schedule
Going for a walk or spending time doing nothing can be relaxing and help rest your mind. But if you really want to clear your mind, then you should try meditating. Many famous business leaders and successful celebrities meditate on a daily basis. For example, Steve Jobs, Sting, Jennifer Aniston, and Howard Stern have all publicly talked about how much meditating helps them focus.
- How To Stay Focused: Create a meditation schedule and try to meditate several times a week, if not daily. Clearing your mind will help you become more focused on matters related to both your business and personal lives. Steve Jobs famously meditated on all of the important decisions that he made while at Apple.
19Block Out Your Calendar Before Someone Else Does
You can’t focus on your important projects if you are stuck in meetings all day. Make sure you leave time in your day to work on your important projects.
- How To Stay Focused: One of the questions that I hate being asked, is “When are you free to have a meeting?” So much time can be wasted emailing back and forth trying to coordinate schedules. Using a shared calendar service, like Calendly, lets people automatically book time with you when you are free. But your calendar can quickly get out of control if you’re not careful. Make sure you block out times for yourself every day. This could include lunch, a meditation break, and of course work blocks. If you are more productive in the morning, then block out 8-10 AM before someone else does.
20Pay Yourself With A Focus Reward
Rewards can be powerful motivational tools. Without a reward, you may start to lose daily motivation.
- How To Stay Focused: Pick a daily reward that you love. For example, a beer or glass of wine at the end of the day. Then focus on earning that reward by getting your work done. No cheating!
21Take Regular Breaks
Endlessly working on the same project or task can start to burn you out. Once you’ve fried your mind, then your time working will be less productive and valuable.
- How To Stay Focused: Have an activity that you can do at any time during the day. This could be anything from taking a coffee break to playing a quick multiplayer match in Call Of Duty. Then use this activity to give yourself a short rest. You’ll come back to work sharper, more relaxed, and ready to focus.
22Prioritized Excel Task List
How To Stay Focused: 1) List current tasks in an excel sheet and assign a priority rating from 1 – 10. 2) Filter the list and sort by highest to lowest priority. 3) Run through the list once outsourcing any tasks you can and delete or move these tasks off the list. 4) You are now ready to focus on your most important tasks instead of wasting precious time on less important tasks.
23The Fountain of Youth (and Focus)
How To Stay Focused: Get a water fountain that burbles. It puts you in a relaxed state, settles your mind, and helps you concentrate. Whenever I have a power conference call, I snap the thing on. It helps tremendously to keep me on task.
24Think of That Previous Life
How To Stay Focused: When I get overwhelmed or stressed with all there is to do…I simply take a deep breath, put on some Jimmy Buffet, and close my eyes. Then, I remind myself of a prior life of a job I hated and how I never want to return. Follow that with a reminder of all that I’ve accomplished and the customers that love the brand. Then I am able to refocus on all there is to do and continued growth.
25Keep it Simple
How To Stay Focused: Stay organized and know everything that you need to get done, but when it comes down to it; focus on one thing at a time and FINISH IT. Your phone, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. will be there when you are done. (don’t get distracted!)
How To Stay Focused: Establish a work environment to keep you focused. Have a command center for action papers, a desk drawer for reference and filing, and a clear desktop to keep distractions to a minimum. Productivity comes from the clarity of the space and your readiness to work.
27Calendar Self-Generated Motivational Statements
How To Stay Focused: I used to have meeting “alerts” pop up that used to drive me crazy (and made me feel more overwhelmed than motivated). Now I have phrases like: “Don’t Forget the Passion You Have for this Business” or “Keeping Focus Results In Good Things” or “Leaders are Disciplined” popping up on my calendar once or twice a day (usually before lunch at 11 am and around 2 pm to help me maximize the last hours of the day). It also reminds me of the things my staff needs to hear too—making me a better and more motivating manager to them.
28On a Tight Leash
How To Stay Focused: I have found that wearing headphones that are connected with a very short cord to my computer helps keep me from wandering away from my desk, and the music keeps me going too.
29It Only Takes Two Minutes
How To Stay Focused: My tip is the phrase “it will only take two minutes.” Whether I’m doing admin work, organizing paperwork or filing, I have to remember that if I just keep up with it (instead of catching up), it will only take two minutes to put things in their place. It helps me stay focused later to not have those tasks tempting me to procrastinate.
30A Vision Not Lived Remains Only A Dream
How To Stay Focused: To stay focused and get from your dream to your vision requires a plan. First, set your intention. Second, act on your intention. Third, reset your intention and decide on an action daily. Your dream has now become a vision you are living.
31Work in Bursts (55/55/30)
How To Stay Focused: Work on one task/activity at a time.
Use a kitchen timer to maintain pace, sense of urgency, and focus.
Work in 55-minute blocks (with a 5-minute break in between.)
Take a 30-minute break every two hours to do something fun or relaxing.
32Clear The Clutter!
How To Stay Focused: Keep your workspace clutter-free so your current focus isn’t distracted by the chaos around you. Clutter saps energy and brainpower. Save that energy and power for your project and making money!
33A Swift Kick In The Grass
How To Stay Focused: Play Kickball!
Sounds counterproductive, but I’ve always believed that refocusing your energy on a project requires you to step away and reevaluate the way you’re doing things. Team Brazen plays kickball every Thursday with a group of friends from other startups in the area. Something about taking your entire team out of your traditional work setting to do something fun really changes the momentum of your group when you finally come back.
34Create a Not-to-do list
How To Stay Focused: A not-to-do list is work that *you* do not add value to your company by doing. It might be work that’s not strategically important now, it might be less important work than you you could do now, or it might be work you should or have delegated.
If you catch yourself thinking about anything on that list or doing something on that list, you’re not adding the most value to your organization.
How To Stay Focused: Take a deep breath and hold it for a moment. As you let it out, take your fist and thump aggressively on your solar plexus—just a little lower than the middle of your chest. As you exhale, (try to make the exhalation last for 60 seconds) loudly say “Ahhhh.” Do this 10 times and you will be amazed at how focused, energized and powerful you feel!
36What’s So Hard About Easy?
How To Stay Focused: To stay focused on a task, break it up into the smallest possible activities and do the easiest first, the second easiest second, etc. By the time you reach the hard part, you’ll be so pumped (because of all you’ve accomplished), it won’t feel nearly as hard as if you had started with the difficult activities first.
37Daily “To The Point” Meeting
How To Stay Focused: Our CEO, Razor Suleman, has all of our employees participate in a “TTP” (To The Point) daily nine-minute meeting. Everyone is required to attend including the CEO, to ensure that he is always aware of what is going on with all aspects of the company and can focus on tasks that are truly important. Agenda wise, it is broken down by the minute based on topics that we feel are of importance.