8 Ways to Gain Laser Focus in a World Full of Distractions

personal growth

[6-minute read]  Is that too long for you to focus? Here's why...

Our ability to focus has been reduced dramatically, with now even more distractions to manage throughout the day– like the immense distractions of technology. And as disheartening as it sounds, many of these distractions were engineered to be as distracting as possible.

Our brains quickly become addicted to them and our ability to focus on important work suffers. Every notification and every news update is fed to you instantly.

Beyond digital distractions, being an entrepreneur has another layer of distractions: mistaking busyness for productivity, not having a routine or a process to manage things more efficiently, and listening to too many people pulling you in different directions. It's easy to get overwhelmed, stressed, and stuck.

Learning how to focus will help you take control of distractions, get more done, more effectively, and have more time for what's most important to you.

 

Here are eight ways to help you get laser-focused...

 

1. Single-tasking vs. multitasking

Avoid fooling yourself– You think you can do it all, but the reality is, you can't. It’s not efficient or effective for your brain to switch back and forth between different activities. It’s proven that you’ll get more done and feel more relaxed if you focus on a single task at a time. Focus on your goals and set priorities and complete them in order as best you can. 

Do deep focus activities early in the day. Your ability to focus deeply is greatest in the morning and decreases throughout the day. A few people also do well late at night (if their day isn’t too demanding).

A good morning routine puts you in the best mindset, so you can schedule your more demanding mental tasks earlier in the day, and save the simpler items for later when your focus is weaker.

 

“Life gives you plenty of time to do whatever you want to do if you stay in the present moment.” — Deepak Chopra

 

It's so important that we are 'present' in all moments of life. We've lost the ability to be present and invest ourselves fully in our experiences. 

Prioritize and focus on one thing at a time. Make a schedule as best you can. Work smarter not harder.

 

2. Practice Meditation.  

Whether you are into it or not, understand why it's important and be open to it. Meditating doesn't mean you have to sit in a temple on a special pillow, cross-legged, chanting Om. 

It starts with calm and concentrated breathing while focusing on just that. Meditation recalibrates your mind and body so you can think more clearly. 

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as “relaxing breath,” involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds. [Medical News Today]

Whether it's part of your morning routine or your wellness practice later in the day, meditation is proven to help you think more clearly and focus.

Meditating can change the structure and function of the brain through relaxation, which can: Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Increase focus and learning concentration. Improve memory and attention span. [Columbia University Medical Center Research]

 

3. Get enough sleep.  

I can't stress this enough. It's easier said than done. As an entrepreneur, I know this all too well.

Sleep is important for focus and energy. Your brain needs at least seven hours of sleep to be at its best. Try to have consistent times for going to bed and waking up. 

Getting less than 7 hours of sleep on a regular basis can eventually lead to health consequences that affect your entire body. [Healthline]

One survey concluded that over half of all CEOs got less than six hours of sleep every night, and startup founders were even worse. It stems from the trend that entrepreneurs brag about burning the midnight oil and wearing it sort of like a badge. Unfortunately, studies show a direct link between sleep deprivation and various problems and illnesses. 

Try sleeping for seven hours each night for a week and rate your ability to focus. The following week try 7.5 hours. If you see an improvement, try to get to eight hours or the most optimal time for your needs. 

 

4. Eat healthy foods.  

This is an undeniable fact. Your body and brain function better when you eat healthy. You don't have to go on a diet, but have some respect for what you put in your body. Start by eliminating the foods you know aren't good for you: sugar, fried foods, and excessive carbs. Eliminating one thing at a time is a good way to start and keep working on it.

Incorporate foods that are good for your brain: Leafy greens, berries, fish, and walnuts for example.

Leafy greens such as kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are rich in brain-healthy nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Flavonoids, the natural plant pigments that give berries their brilliant hues, also help improve memory, research shows. [Harvard Health]

Thankfully, coffee, tea, and chocolate are also listed among the 11 Best Foods To Boost Your Brain and Memory.

Consider incorporating a tincture or supplement if it's right for you for naturally enhanced focus. Studies show taking lions mane mushroom may help with focus, memory, and even mood. CBD has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress and helps you get better sleep, allowing you to be more focused. 

 

5. Bullet Journaling.

Many of us have used, or are using, some sort of planner to maintain lists, schedules, etc. They either become a mess of notes or half-empty template pages.

Many of us also tried transitioning from traditional pen and paper to one or several of our favorite phone apps (Evernote).  

But neither of those methods truly helps you to be less distracted and more focused.

Introducing Bullet Journaling. This method is a game-changer! 

It's a beautifully simple system of organization and planning that helps keep you focused and less distracted. Learn more about it here.

Bullet Journaling may not be suitable for everyone– It's more about WHY to get organized rather than HOW– but that's the beauty of it! Clarify your goals and figure out the most efficient and effective tool to help you. This is my favorite method.

 

6. Set Personal Boundaries.

This is important for your mental health, but also to help you eliminate or minimize distractions.

You may need to be very clear to family and friends when you are in professional work mode or need personal space and are not available for casual conversation. 

You must be very clear in professional relationships with expectations and communication. 

You must also learn to say NO when asked to do something that is a distraction from your goals. 

Setting personal boundaries is important for your mental health and productivity. 

 

7. Control Your Distractions.  

Yes, a simple concept but somehow it's hard to do. Once you are more aware of all things that cause distractions and realize you can set boundaries for those too, you'll be able to take control of it. You'll actually make life easier for yourself by removing as many distractions as possible.

Put your phone away. Turn off the TV. Block any websites that you find compelling. Close any computer tabs you don’t need. Remove any distracting sounds. Turn off your music.

Decide on what you need to do on your phone and do just that. Decide on a set time for when you want to watch TV, otherwise, turn it off. Decide on what websites you are focused on at the current moment, and close the rest. Listen to music when you are relaxed or working out, not when you're working on a project or problem-solving. 

Learn to be comfortable with silence. When you’re focused and working, some people say it also feels boring. Most of us choose to distract ourselves because of a need for entertainment. But the better you can handle quiet, the easier it is to avoid engaging in those distractions.

When you have the urge to distract yourself, force yourself to wait 15 minutes longer. After a few days of this, try 30 minutes. Keep building on this.

Plan time for your most common distractions. You don’t have to avoid your favorite distractions 100% of the time. Schedule time for those activities after you've completed something. Put a reasonable limit on how long you’ll spend on them.

 

8. Build Focus Resilience.  

You can’t be good at something you don’t practice. It’s harder to focus deeply than you think. That's why you have to work at it and make it a habit.

Try observing yourself for 15 minutes and keep your attention entirely on performing a task. Notice how stray thoughts constantly interfere. Notice how strong the urge to check your email, text messages, notifications, and social media becomes. If you try being more aware and avoid reacting to distractions, you’ll be able to focus for longer periods of time before you need a break.

Planning your time efficiently, while allowing space for yourself throughout the day, helps you build focus resilience.

~

Life is a never-ending series of distractions. The most successful people are able to focus in spite of distractions. It takes practice to focus intently in the face of other things vying for our attention. 

Be mindful of distractions and take control as much as possible to manage your time more effectively; and see how it makes a difference in your productivity, mental clarity, and focus.

Look at you... #winning if you stayed focused enough to read this far!

I'd love to know how this helped you - follow me on Instagram and DM me your feedback!

 

What's next for you? Are there obstacles holding you back?...

Yes, I don't know how to make progress