Improving your focus and productivity is subjective. Ever since I started my solopreneur journey, I’ve had new writers asking me this one question over and over again. Almost 3 years into the business and I have found ways that have worked well for me. Today, I am going to share them with you.
As someone who has struggled with distractions and low productivity, I understand the impact they can have on your daily life. The human attention span has shrunk to 8.5 seconds. All it takes is a random notification on your phone or iPad and you’re back to mindless scrolling. And the question remains the same: How can you improve focus and productivity in your daily life?
In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get sidetracked and lose focus. But you got to do what you got to do. You cannot let distractions throw you off track and stop you from working on your goals.
In this article, I’ll share with you some effective techniques, tips, and habits that have helped me to improve my focus. And I am sure they will strengthen your concentration and show you some reliable techniques that will teach you to improve focus and productivity.
How to Improve Focus and Productivity? 8 Simple Steps to Guide You
Before diving into sharing all the tips to improve your focus and productivity, you must understand why is it even important to be focused. How does it matter? Why do people talk so much about it? Is there any secret that differentiates focused people from those who are unfocused in their lives? Let’s find out:
How to Improve Your Focus and Productivity? 5 Benefits You Must Know
Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day, but why do some people achieve more than others? How can you do that too? How can you improve focus and productivity? The answer lies in their ability to focus and produce more. When you’re focused, you’re able to concentrate on the task at hand without getting disturbed by distractions. Productivity, on the other hand, is the measure of how much you’re able to accomplish within a given period.
Improved focus and productivity have 5 major benefits:
- When you’re focused you learn to live in the moment
- Better focus leads to better quality work and less stress
- Focusing on one single project at a time builds momentum
- With focus, you complete tasks faster, leaving yourself much spare time
- More productivity gives you a sense of accomplishment and boosts your self-confidence
While these are the major benefits of being focused and more productive in your daily lives, you might still be figuring out ways to improve your focus and productivity. But an important thing to understand is why has it become so difficult for you to focus. What stops you from focusing on your goals? Let’s learn.
Why can’t you focus on your work?
Have ever found yourself in this situation?
You continuously delayed your work, you procrastinated for days to complete the work. As the deadline approached you became more and more nervous. And right before the deadline, you worked straight for the night and completed the project.
Most of us have been through this situation because the human brain doesn’t have problems focusing on the project, it has problems with deciding and prioritizing what’s important.
If focusing was a problem, you would not have been able to complete your project overnight. The problem is that you chose to wait until the last moment, the problem is you couldn’t prioritize your tasks.
You cannot prioritize because you swamp yourself with so many mundane and unimportant tasks that the important tasks take a back seat until the deadline approaches. You think you’re busy doing all the unproductive tasks when in reality you’re just procrastinating.
Thus, here are 8 ways that will show you how to improve focus and productivity and get out of this loop of spinning your wheels:
How to Improve Focus and Productivity? 8 Full proof ways that will help you
1. Keep your phone away
Whenever I am working on something super important, I keep my phone away from my eyesight. “Out of sight, out of mind” is 100% true when it comes to leaving your phone in a different room. If you want to go a step further, you can also turn on the “Do not disturb” mode on your phone. It works great for me, you can give it a try.
This will help you to improve your focus and concentration because it eliminates one of the biggest sources of distraction from your work time.
2. Stop Multitasking
Wanting to complete all the tasks at hand can get overwhelming. This often leads to multitasking. You may think you’re being ‘productive’ and handling it all well. But, in reality, multitasking kills your focus because you’re constantly going back and forth to attend to two or more projects at the same time.
This leads to poor quality of work because the constant shift in attention makes it easy for you to make mistakes, ultimately hampering your focus. Hence, you must work on one thing at a time.
3. Spend time in nature
Spending time in nature can fix most of your mental health problems. If you cannot spare a few minutes to go for a walk, you can include nature in your routine manually. You can decorate your workspace with indoor plants to keep yourself in the presence of greenery. You can spend time in your garden if you have one. We have a small backyard and I like to go there for a few minutes daily doing nothing. There is a sense of calm and serenity that nature brings.
But, if you’re a “go out” person like me, then a 40 minutes walk to the nearest public park can also do the work for you. This improves your concentration by refreshing your mind.
4. Fix your sleep schedule
Deep sleep directly impacts your level of focus and concentration. A study by Harvard showed how a deep sleep at night can sharpen your thinking skills which results in improved focus, attention, and concentration. If you’re like me and you struggle with building a sleep routine, try reading in bed.
While there are many benefits to reading, reading from real books (and not from a screen) at night relaxes you naturally. It makes you go to sleep effortlessly. When I find it hard to sleep, this is what I do, maybe you can try it too.
5. Set a daily priority
Brain Tracy in his book “Eat That Frog” talks about improving your focus and productivity by setting a daily priority. You can do this by planning your day the night before. Writing a list to work on makes it easy for you to understand what your day will look like. Hence, you’re mentally prepared to focus on one important task for the day.
For example, my priority for the day is to complete the next two sections of this blog so that I can publish it on the weekend. Thus, here I am completing it first thing as I sit to work.
6. Choose to live in the present
I am convinced that living in the present is a difficult mental state to achieve. It takes years and years of dedication and effort to train your mind to only look for the bright side of the situation. Here’s how I try to do it. Whenever I am having a rough day, I like to sit by myself and think about the things that are going right in life.
For example, March 2023 was a slow month for my freelancing business and I was disappointed with myself. But, then I chose to remember that it was also the first month when my blogs started ranking on Google (which by the way is a HUGEEEE WIN!). The next thing I knew, I went all in to focus on my blog and build a strategy for it. So, count your blessings and choose to live in the present.
7. Move your body
As a wellness writer, I always wanted to walk the talk. I tried working out at home but the fast pace of cardio didn’t work well for me. So, I ordered a Yoga mat and in November 2022 I started practicing yoga. As per my experience over the past 6 months, I will 100% recommend you develop a daily yoga practice to improve your focus and concentration.
If you’re like me and you hate fast pace workouts, practicing yoga can be your thing. It releases your stress, improves your deep breathing, and most importantly, you learn to enjoy daily movement without dreading it.
8. Create a conducive environment
Your surroundings play an essential role in building your focus. If you’re in an environment that is filled with distractions, your focus will get compromised. Hence, it is important to isolate yourself when you want to focus on something. This is whenever I am writing, working out, or in a meeting, I inform my family not to disturb me for the next few hours.
Also, make sure that your workspace is clean without any source of distractions. Keep your gadgets away. Only have stationery that is important for you to work on, rest everything else can be stored away.
How to Improve Focus and Productivity? 3 Additional Techniques that will help you
While the above ways are habits that you must build consciously to improve your focus, there are a few techniques that can help you in the process. They improve your focus and help you to become more productive at meaningful and result-oriented tasks. Here are the 3 most effective techniques of them all that I have tried: :
a. Pomodoro Technique
It involves breaking down your tasks into 25-minute intervals, separated by short breaks. This technique helps you to stay focused by providing structure to your workday.
This involves scheduling specific periods for each task. This technique helps you to prioritize tasks and ensure that you’re not your wasting time on unimportant tasks.
This helps you to be present in the moment and improve your concentration through deep breathing. If you find it hard to meditate, stay still, and gather your thoughts, you can also practice yoga.
Common Distractions and Their Impact on Productivity
Distractions are the biggest hindrance to focus and productivity. They can take many forms, such as social media notifications, emails, phone calls, and even people around you. While some distractions are unavoidable, they can be minimized.
The first step to improving your focus is to identify the distractions that are hampering your productivity the most.
Social media is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to distractions. You can often find yourself falling into the trap of checking your notifications every few minutes, which can consume a significant portion of your day.
Similarly, emails can be a major distraction, especially when you’re working on an important task. Random phone calls during work hours or even the people around you can also take your attention away from work, leading to lower productivity.
Distractions screw your productivity. Every time you get distracted, it takes you some time to refocus on the task at hand. Studies have shown that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back on track after getting distracted. Therefore, you must eliminate these distractions and restore your focus. The simple methods I have mentioned above will help you do that.
Overcoming Procrastination and Staying Motivated
Procrastination is the biggest enemy of focus and productivity. It’s easy to get sidetracked and put off tasks until later. To overcome procrastination, a sustainable method is to break down big projects into smaller, manageable chunks of tasks. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and approaching it as one big project, set your intention to complete just one simple task that will take you closer to the goal. Go step by step into the process. Additionally, set deadlines for each task to ensure that you’re making progress.
A few months ago, I was working on a white paper for a client. It was a crucial project for me. I prepared an outline for the paper and sent it to my client. The outline had 8 chapters. My client sent me the review and we mutually decided to narrow it down to 5 chapters.
I was nervous, anxious, underconfident, and all of it. You name any negative feeling that makes you feel unworthy, I was feeling all of that.
But, I also knew how important this project was for me. So, instead of feeling overwhelmed about writing the entire paper, I approached it chapter by chapter.
Honestly, even writing a chapter wasn’t the solution. Because the demand for research for this paper was huge. So, I approached it one paragraph at a time.
I only focused on completing 3 to 4 paragraphs each day. And I was able to complete the project successfully. My client was elated with the result and I was on cloud nine since it was my highest-paying project till then.
So, it’s simple. Don’t dread climbing the ladder, just focus on the next step. And before you know it, you’ll be at the top of the ladder, ready to climb another one. Because let’s face it… the cycle never ends 😂
As far as motivation is concerned, an effective way to stay motivated is to set goals. Your goals will provide you with direction and a sense of purpose. They did that to me. And when you achieve those goals, don’t forget to celebrate those wins, no matter how small or big they are.
How to retain your focus: Measuring and Tracking Your Results
You’ve achieved your goals. What next? How do you retain the focus you developed working on your previous project?
Your focus can easily fade away with a lack of feedback. If you’re a remote worker and a solopreneur like me, it can be HARD to have people who give you feedback to improve yourself.
And an independent way to do this is to measure your progress and track your results. When you keep a record of your work process, you get two things:
- You know what worked for you and,
- You know where you failed
This not only helps you to celebrate your accomplishments but also identifies the areas for improvement. It is also an effective way to learn and build a healthy relationship with yourself. You can either do this digitally on apps like Notion or use a physical planner as I do.
A simple way to measure and track your progress is to track the amount of time spent on each task and identify areas where you’re wasting time.
Next, you can plan your day in the direction of improvements where you lacked before and double your efforts on achievements that worked for you.
One thing I have learned in my journey of self improvement is that irrespective of how many hacks and tips you read or study online, it’s only fruitful if you can implement them in your life.
To improve your focus and productivity you need to make a conscious decision. They are crucial pillars of your professional and personal development. Most people spend their lives wasting time doing things and activities that don’t do any good. They think they are using their time wisely when in reality they are just killing it.
I hope you won’t become one of those who only absorb the information and never act. I hope you are from the 0.1% of the people in this world who believe in taking action.
Because the harsh truth is no one is coming to save you. People can root for you, support you, and guide you but it’s you who will have to do the work.
So, I am rooting for you too. I hope you achieve those big dreams. I’ll see you next week!
Until then, keep slaying your goals!