Technology often takes the blame for our lack of focus, when in reality it is simply a tool that you can use to your advantage, here’s how:
- Commit for 25 minutes
- The tasks you have planned may seem daunting, which is why cutting down how much you have to do will make it much more manageable. Instead of jumping from task to task, and literally clicking on every tab you have open on Chrome, The Pomodoro Technique is helpful for this, which is simply a timer for 25 minutes, except it’s not that simple. You must commit to only doing that one thing, with the justification that it’s only 25 minutes. (A common failing, one that I came across, is to let the timer run past 25 minutes while you force yourself to “focus” or “be productive.” True focus and productivity comes from a simple and efficient allocation of time where you can guarantee that you won’t falter. ) You could even make it 10 or 5 minutes. The point is to get started, and the momentum will keep you going, that is, if you don’t get distracted.
- Remove Distractions
- Every yes is an implicit no. Commitment means abandoning the infinite other tasks you could have done, and your work environment should reflect that.
- Your phone should not be in line-of-sight, and it should be silenced so that you’re not tempted to answer a text or browse Twitter. It’s also a great idea to set a specific time of day when you check all your messages, and it shows you value your time. This way, instead of putting minimal effort into a lot of activities, you can focus on one task at a time, do it well, and get it off your mind.
- You should ideally only have one tab open, and have minimal clutter on your screen. The place you look, usually your screen, should only have things related to your task. I’ve found that even if I SEE Steam open on my taskbar, I get tempted to open up Hitman 2 and take out some innocent people with a fish. Thanks RTgame.
- Music? Definitely not vocals. Your decision to play music depends on what you’re used to and if your environment is too loud.
- Commitment Devices (James Clear’s Atomic Habits)
- Study buddy
- If finding a study buddy isn’t an option, you could have someone observe your progress. You’ll want to perform better (and therefore focus better!) when you’re in the spotlight. Others can hold you accountable.
- (I realize that some of you may not have the luxury of friends, which is why I prepared this second commitment device: )
- There are also ways to hold yourself accountable, like the Seinfeld technique, named after Jerry Seinfeld who marked his calendar for every day he wrote a new joke. After 2 days, there’s already a visible streak that you don’t want to break, which also happens to be why streaks on Snapchat or Duolingo can be so addicting. If you don’t want to mark up a calendar, I find Google Calendar’s Goal feature to be super helpful (The daily reminders keep me on track).
- Study buddy
All these tips are great for optimizing your productivity, but it’ll all be for nothing if you don’t start. Don’t forget to reach out to me and share this article if you want to see more like this (It really helps me, plus I’ll know what you want to see), and subscribe to the newsletter to never miss another golden tip.