A great manager of time has the ability to point this laser light of concentration on a task to the exclusion of everything else.
Without focus, your quest to get things done is futile. You may get a few quick tasks out of the way. You may get your work done in tiny little chunks. You may even get through your daily to-do list, but without the ability to focus, you’re doomed to a wandering mind, interruptions, and your subconscious playing games with your priorities.
There are high level focus techniques out there that you could learn to hone-in on your tasks even if there is a fire alarm going off, but quite honestly that kind of stuff can take months if not years of continuous practice to perfect, and for most of us probably isn’t worth it.
Being the productivity junkie that I am, I prefer to focus on the low-hanging fruit of the world. The low hanging fruit of focus revolves around one simple thing – freeing yourself†of distractions.
We’ll start with an easy, but often overlooked area that has a drastic impact on your ability to focus – your environment.
Take a deep breath and imagine for a moment you’re on a beach. You’re lounged out on a comfortable beach chair without a soul in sight.†The warm sun shines down on your skin. Waves are crashing gracefully into the shore. Seagulls serenade you with their relaxing songs.
How does that make you feel?
I’ll tell you how. You’re at peace with your environment (assuming you’re a beach person), and your ability to focus is at it’s highest because you’re in a relaxed state of mind. We focus best when we are completely relaxed. There are no noisy office machines churning away. There are no annoying co-workers to bother you. There are no phones ringing or emails dinging at you to answer them.
You’re all by yourself, without a distraction in sight, and you’re relaxed.
This is what you need to try to replicate in your work environment. All of the distractions I mentioned above and then some are present in office environments. While they’re meant to bring like-minded people together to accomplish a common goal, office environments are HORRIBLE for productivity.