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 when studying or working on important projects.
Eat 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.
Take 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.
Slay 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.
Break Down Big Projects Into Smaller Tasks
Starting a massive project can be both daunting and stressful, especially if you think about it as just one giant task. 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 mindset for bigger projects.
- How To Stay Focused On Goals: 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 goals of a bigger project.
Prioritize Your To-Do List
Don’t drown yourself with smaller tasks that don’t align with your overall priorities. It’s time to prioritize your to-do list.
- How To Stay Focused:
- Add your tasks to a spreadsheet and assign a priority rating from 1 – 10 to each task.
- Sort your list from highest to lowest priority.
- Outsource and delegate as many tasks as possible.
- Focus on the most important tasks on your list.
- Only entertain smaller tasks after the bigger tasks are done.
Create 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.
Add 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.
Create A Not-To-Do List
In addition to a To-Do List, it might also be helpful to create a “Not-To-Do List” for yourself.
- How To Stay Focused: Think about all of the tasks that might derail you or suck up too much time from your workday. These can be anything from tasks that you should have delegated to longterm strategic projects that aren’t important right now. Add these tasks to your Not-To-Do List a reminder to stay away from them.
Only 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 achieve.
- 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 tasks for a later date. Having a list of only 6 things will help you focus, prioritize your day, and keep you from being overwhelmed.
Turn 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 When Studying Or Working: 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. Your phone, e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. will be there when you are done.
Disconnect 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.
Immerse 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.
Keep Your Workplace Clean And Organized
Nothing can stop you from being productive faster than a messy workspace. Just the thought of cleaning it up before you start working can be both defeating and demotivating.
- How To Stay Focused: Keep your desk and general work environment clean and clutter-free. A chaotic workspace will just lead to distraction and drain your energy. Then finish your day by cleaning up your desk so that you can start the next morning ready to focus. Clarity of your workspace and your readiness to work will result in increased productivity.
Block Out Your Calendar With Focus Time Before Your Day Gets Totally Booked
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 Keep Focused On Studying: 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.
Add Motivational Quotes To Your Focus Time Calendar Reminders
Instead of just adding Focus Time work blocks to your calendar, consider making them a little more motivational.
- How To Stay Focused: Create a list of inspirational and motivational quotes from influential personalities like Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban, Whitney Houston, or even Forrest Gump. For example, I have a Focus Time calendar appointment for 8-9 am every Monday with this quote from Beth Comstock: “The future is not in our stars but in our imaginations, and our actions.” It’s much more inspiring than seeing a calendar reminder that just says “FOCUS TIME in 15 minutes.”
Surround 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.
- How To Stay Focused: Who inspires you? Your old boss? Your Grandmother? Tiger Woods? Steve Jobs? Keep a picture of someone who inspires you nearby when you need to stay focused on important tasks. Just put their picture in a small picture frame on your desk like they are a family member.
Surround 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 When Studying: Here are quote examples that might help motivate you:
Spend 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 Keep Yourself 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.
Use 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.
- How To Stay Focused On Work: Keep some office toys or desk toys nearby and play with them anytime that you start to get bored or lose focus. Or play a game like solitaire on your computer. It will keep your body busy so your mind can focus on the more important task.
Find 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.
Create 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 On Work: 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.
Use 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.
- How To Stay Focused: Use a timer for every idea or daily project that you have set aside for yourself. Just ask Siri, Alexa, or whatever voice assistant that you use to set a timer for you. Then focus on that one thing until the timer goes off.
Take 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.
Work In 55 Minute Bursts
If you have trouble remembering to take regular breaks, then consider building them into every hour of your workday.
- How To Stay Focused On Work: Work in 55-minute bursts with a 5-minute break at the end of every hour. Use your break to do things like play games, stretch, make a cup of coffee, or get some fresh air.
Take A Walk Break Or Go For A Short 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. It’s also a good idea to take a walk after you get some bad news, like missing a budget.
Treat 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 focus reward that you love. For example, a beer or glass of wine at the end of the day. Then concentrate on earning that focus reward by getting your work done. No cheating!
Tips On How To Stay Focused On Work And Studying
Thank you for reading our tips on how to state focused. What did you think about them? Please share any additional motivational tips that you think that we should have included in the comments below.
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I’m a dog owner that loves poetry, vampires, mountain biking, and cosplay. I’m open to ideas and still trying to figure my SFO life out one blog post at a time. LF ISO SWF GSOH SI DDF.