The Art of Focus

In our insanely fast paced world, where we have so many different ‘things’ competing for our attention, sustained focus has become incredibly difficult to achieve.

Watch any child for just one hour, and you will witness their attention span go from 0-100 different things. TV, phone, toy, video game, food, drink, pet, music, outside, inside, drawing, book, paint, ball… When it comes to choices, television for example, we now have hundreds and hundreds of programmes, channels, playbacks, on demand options, and so on. This range of choice extends across toys, foods, clothes, music, apps, and all consumables, and even non-consumables. There are just so many options, and so much advertising for those options, our children now grow up with infinite choice at their disposal 24/7. As we advance into adulthood, being exposed to such an increasing amount of products, advertising, opinions, news, changes, shifting technology advancements via multiple mediums, does seem to create many issues, this blog will focus on focus.

What is focus? Many people struggle to concisely answer this question.

Focus is to direct and maintain your interest, involvement, and concentration on one topic, item, or activity.

To focus on one ‘thing’, you have to ignore or place aside many other ‘things’ competing for your attention. Without focus, our productivity suffers. Without focus, our efficiency declines. Without focus, we split ourselves across multiple tasks, starting most and finishing few.

Therefore, focus is the key to high productivity, efficient performance, effective time management, attention to details, and personal improvements.

Recent study has suggested an adult attention span is now down to 8 seconds! Putting us just under the attention span of a goldfish, who has a 9 second span. Why? Content, marketing, emails, calls, apps, meetings, screens, digital reminders, calendars, texts, social media, family commitments, bills, travel time, advertising, food, drink, snacks…There is just so much available information and product being presented to us, our brains go into overdrive trying to take it all in.

So, let’s focus on focus. Here are 3 key tips to develop the Art of Focus.

  1. Focus is a muscle. To strengthen our focus we must exercise it. Too much multitasking and spreading ourselves thin across many things all at once = a weak focus muscle. To begin to strengthen our focus muscle, we could use a favourite approach of mine called 1/24. 24 hours in a day. Divide them into 1 hour slots. Commit to certain tasks and activities in 1 hour or 30 minute brackets. Only do your listed activity for that designated time frame. To avoid slipping up, schedule in smaller blocks of time for emails, messages, and social media etc. Stick to the plan. No excuses. Repeat this process and watch your focus increase in all areas, including writing, conversation, learning, physical activity, and stamina.
  2. Create your space. Be sure you have your own personal space to work in. A room, or office, or outdoor area, specifically for you. Develop this space into a zone free from outer distractions. What inspires people to work to their best capacity differs. Some people are minimalist and want very little around them, others thrive with personalised touches and inclusions. You do you. Your space must be personally inviting, comfortable, and an off limits zone to others when you are working, unless invited otherwise.
  3. Get enough sleep and water. 8×8 works for me. 8 hours sleep. 8 glasses of water. This will ensure you avoid the focus killers of fatigue and dehydration.

Get yourself a copy of this brilliant book ‘Focus: Bringing Time, Energy, and Money into Flow’ A great read to focus on  Focus: Bringing Time, Energy, and Money into Flow

Focus like a laser, not a flashlight.

Image: Courtesy http://www.itl.cat

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