August 05, 2021
How to Focus: Concentration Tips From The Experts
Feel like there's not enough hours in the day? We’ve compiled the top tips from bestselling concentration kings and queens to help you to exercise your brain, and focus on what’s important.
Are you constantly losing focus?
Do you self-diagnose yourself with ADHD?
Are you finding yourself already drifting off into another train of thought?
Then you might just want to work on your concentration levels. We've cherrypicked four guides for showing you how.
Cal Newport proposes that we’ve lost our ability to properly immerse ourselves in complex tasks. To help with this, Deep Work provides tips on how to focus better than ever before.
1. Deep work requires intention
To properly envelop yourself into deep work, you have to be intentional about your approach.
Whether that’s by completely shutting yourself off from outside distractions, or tracking your productivity throughout a typical day to find your most active time cycle, it’s important to figure out what works best for you.
2. Meditate to dedicate
Many people use meditation as a way to destress whenever they’re feeling particularly overwhelmed.
But it’s also a great tool for maintaining focus and keeping your mind dedicated to the ‘right’ things.
3. Keep a routine
Most of us will make the effort to plan out our working hours during the day, but very few people will do the same for their free time.
Cal Newport recommends deciding a time for completely stopping work and sticking to it.
If you know you have a time where you have to stop working, it’s more likely that you will focus more intensely during your working hours.
Gary Keller & Jay Papasan propose that there’s just one question we should ask ourselves when aiming to declutter our lives.
1. The ONE question
“What's the one thing I can do, such that by doing it, everything else will become easier or unnecessary?”
That’s one hell of a question.
Its aim is to help you realise that not all tasks are created equal. Therefore, it helps you to decide which task you should prioritize in order to take the biggest step forward.
2. Learn how to say no
Asking a ‘focusing’ question is easy. It’s learning how to say no to all of your other seemingly important tasks is the difficult part.
Keller & Papasan recommend creating an environment where the answers to low-level questions are obvious - whether that’s via an FAQ, or by laying out clear boundaries from the start.
3. Your personal life is paramount
Let’s say you’re juggling five balls named work, family, health, friends, and integrity. Think of work as a rubber ball, and the other four as delicate glass balls. Work can be dropped and picked up again, but if you try to catch it, you risk breaking the other four.
To be fulfilled in life, you need to work in a way that still gives you enough time for yourself and your loved ones.
Surprisingly, Brian Tracy’s book is not a French cookbook; in fact, it’s a deep look into the science of making the most of your time.
1. Make use of your downtime
We all have our fair share of unavoidable, unproductive downtime, whether that’s the commute to and from work, the long drive to visit family, or standing in the exceptionally long line at the grocery store.
Brain Tracey recommends not simply switching off and going into passive mode, but instead using that break to do something productive like read a book, listen to calming music, or even learning a bit of Spanish.
2. Get to know yourself
We’ve all got our little quirks: some we’re aware of, some we’re not.
By taking some time to properly get to know ourselves, we can fully understand what makes us tick and what drives us.
Getting to know yourself also includes being kind and gentle with yourself. Focus on your needs first, then you can be more receptive to helping others with their needs.
3. Invest in you
Make sure you set time aside in the day to work on yourself. Do you have a particular passion project? Good - now take an hour and work on it.
By dividing your time into small chunks and assigning actions to these chunks, it’ll make you more aware of the progress you make.
First Things First is here to help you figure out what’s important in life. So settle in and learn the power of focus.
1. Order things by importance - not urgency
Life would be easy if everything that was important to us was also urgent. For example, it may be important to catch that dance recital, but it’s not as urgent as that task your boss has been breathing down your neck about.
In the long run, living this way will only lead to regret. So figure out what’s important to you and be brave enough to say no to urgency.
2. Decision-making is way simpler than you think
Here’s a question to ask yourself: What would my ideal 80th birthday look like? Do you see yourself surrounded by loving friends and family? Or surrounded by your business partners and staff? Or maybe you’re simply sitting on a remote beach somewhere with that one person you love the most.
Don’t sleep on your dreams. Figure out your goals, then base every decision on how it will help you attain those long term goals.
3. We all depend on one another
Life isn’t an independent race - it’s a team sport.
Whatever you’re trying to achieve in life, it’s guaranteed to be made easier by reaching out to people along the way.
No man is an island. Individualism doesn’t pay when it comes to growth.
It can be difficult to improve your concentration. But through studying yourself, you can realise what makes your mind tick.
We all work in different ways, you just have to find your own way that’s unique to you.
Do you want to sneak a closer look at any of these concentration masterpieces? Then head over to the Uptime App to read the full version.