Learning how to stay focused through the ups and downs of each day is critical to your achieving success. Why?
Because distraction is all around you.
Lurking behind every corner is a time-waster waiting for you to give in. To ruin an otherwise productive day and derail your progress. But you don’t want that! You want focus.
Because focus leads to achievement and achievement leads to success. And I don’t know about you, but that sounds good to me.
What does it mean to stay focused?
To stay focused means to simply persist with the task at hand. To continue to work towards whatever it is that you need to do and ensure that you stay concentrated on that one activity.
It isn’t multitasking. It isn’t daydreaming. It’s focusing in on the task at hand and putting in the work to get it done.
Now, staying focused is an easy concept to explain, but is it easy to do? It can be with practice.
I’ve always found that the more deliberate I was about my focus, the stronger it was. Meaning that the times where I never considered my focus levels were times that I was completely distracted.
But, when I actually put in the effort to improve my focus, I found that I was able to hone in on my work that much more.
Which is great news for you!
Because by being here, by taking the initiative to enhance and learn how to stay focused, you are being deliberate in your methodology and are well on your way to better concentration.
It’s all connected
Focus is a powerful thing. Sure, it’s great for getting a task done in the moment, but it’s so much more important than that.
Because what focus actually allows you to do is something much bigger – it allows you to make progress.
Progress in your work, on your goals, with your fitness. Focus, properly aimed, is a strong tool in your tool belt. See it like this – the stronger your focus, the more you can get done and make real progress.
The more you progress, the more you will achieve, and the more you achieve, the sooner you will be able to achieve your goals and create your ideal life.
It’s all connected. And focus is at the heart of it all.
So be sure to use the following tips to help you increase your focus each day. Remind yourself how important it is to stay locked in on the task at hand and use them to your advantage to move forward faster and better than ever before.
Whenever you need to focus
We’re just about there. Just about ready to start exploring the tips for how to stay focused and productive each day. But there’s one last thing I want to touch on – when to apply these tips.
Because you can’t simply read these tips and move about your day.
You need to actually apply them. To use them in your daily life and experiment with what works best for you.
With that in mind, use these tips whenever you need to focus. Whenever you have a task that needs to get done, whenever you have a plan that you want to make, whenever you want to make progress forward in some way, shape, or form.
That’s when it’s time to focus.
How To Stay Focused: 7 Tips For Solid Focus And Productivity
As I mentioned above, use the following tips to help you stay focused and productive each day. See each tip as an experiment.
Whenever you need to buckle down and concentrate, choose 1 from the list below and see if it helps.
- If it does, keep using it in the future.
- If it doesn’t, try 1 of the other tips until you find a good fit.
Choose 1, try it out, see what works. Continue to run trial and error with the various tactics to discover what works best for you. Everyone is different and what works for everyone is different, but by being here and by taking the time to learn and grow, you’re certainly heading in the right direction.
With that, it’s now time to explore the list of ways to solidify your focus and productivity.
1. How to stay focused – Track your time
You may think you know how much time you spend on various tasks throughout the day.
You’re probably wrong.
That’s nothing against you. It’s just that unless you actually track your time, you’ll never truly know where it goes. In fact, some studies suggest that only a small percentage of individuals can precisely gauge their time.
Don’t work in the dark. Instead, harness your productivity by recognizing where your time goes each day. How can you do that?
By tracking it.
Meaning that for a couple of days try jotting down exactly what you do and when. For example:
- Work on report: 8:15-9:15
- Check Instagram: 9:15-9:22
- Send client emails: 9:22-10:10
And so on and so forth all day. Then after a day or 2, look back at your list of tracked time. You’ll be surprised by where your time actually went.
When I first did this, I was blown away by where my time was going. But by going through this activity, I was able to better understand my time and was therefore able to more deliberately act on it.
Doing so allowed me to increase my focus and work on the things that actually mattered. It helped me turn each day into a productive day where I could better concentrate and work on things that were truly important.
And it can do the same for you.
So grab some paper or start a new note on your phone and try tracking your time for the next day or 2.
2. Take consistent breaks
It may sound counter-intuitive, but taking planned breaks can really help improve your focus.
Short breaks, even if only for a few minutes, will allow you to maintain a consistent level of execution. Taking them will allow you to rest, recover, and reset so that you can get back to your work with renewed energy and concentration.
What happens if you don’t take breaks? Well, you’ve probably experienced it before – decreased effectiveness, feeling cloudy, burnt out, tired.
Be sure to take breaks, then, so that you can recharge and resume your work with better clarity and determination.
This is one of my favorite (and easiest to follow) tips for how to stay focused and motivated in the long term. Breaks are a simple thing that you can start doing to give yourself the jolt of focus you need.
And if you’re feeling a little sluggish, here are some strategies to help you get motivated.
3. How to stay focused – Work towards your goals
Goal setting isn’t something you would normally think of when trying to stay focused, but hear me out. When you set a goal for yourself, you are giving a direction to your time.
You’re saying, “This is where I want to go.”
You are giving purpose and clarity to your time and are taking active steps to achieve or do something of value. And then while putting in the work, you know where to go and what to do along the way with your goal acting as the guide.
In other words, by going through the goal setting process, you will be able to better focus in the moment through the clarity and direction that the goal provides.
You’ll understand what needs to get done and then you’ll be able to put in the work and make progress forward because of the goal you set for yourself.
Goal setting gives you the clarity you need to be effective with your time. It allows you to concentrate on what’s in front of you because you’re working on the things that actually need to get done.
Oh and by the way, if you’re wondering how to stay focused on your goals specifically, well that’s a whole other discussion. And for that, I recommend this post.
4. Have a plan for your time
One of the best ways to help you stay focused is by having a plan for your time. Creating a plan for your time each day will ensure that you:
- Know what needs to be worked on
- Work on things that actually matter
- Make progress in a positive direction
- And are productive with your time each day
It’s a way that you can better harness your time for maximum effectiveness. In fact, this is one of my favorite tips for how to stay focused on a task because of how valuable it is.
Create a plan for your time and watch how much more productive and better focused you will be.
5. How to stay focused – Turn off your notifications
When it comes to how to stay focused while studying or how to stay focused at work, this tip is mandatory.
Turn off your notifications!
It is such a simple thing to do, but for some reason no one does it. But, notifications are incredibly distracting.
Just look around.
If you’re sitting by someone, watch them for a mere 30 seconds. More than likely some new thing is going to pop up in front of them, completely distracting and derailing their focus.
If they give in and check the notification, they’ll be distracted, lose their focus, and then have to spend time trying to remember where they left off.
Or almost worse, if they don’t check the notification they’ll still be doing their work, but will be wondering the entire time about that notification and what amazing promise of entertainment it possesses.
It’s a lose-lose.
So don’t even play that game by turning off your notifications. You can:
- Mute group texts
- Turn off new-email pop-ups
- Disable social media notifications
- And silence your chats (Slack, Skype, G-Chat) too
There is so much noise coming at you all the time. Do yourself a favor and limit some of that noise so that you can focus on the things that actually matter.
Because when it comes down to how to be productive AND how to stay focused throughout the day, turning off notifications is a must.
6. Listen to the right music
Another easy tip for staying focused throughout the day is to play some music. But, not just any music.
You want music that will help you concentrate.
Generally that means music with a steady, uplifting rhythm and little to no words. In turn, that will provide something pleasant to listen to without being distracting.
You can’t focus on your task and sing your favorite song at the same time. At least, not well. So listen to music geared towards helping you focus and watch how your concentration levels improve because of it.
If you’re looking for something good to listen to, I recommend this music for productivity.
7. How to stay focused – Get organized
Finally, when learning how to stay focused during the day, the final tip for this list is to get organized. What does it mean to get organized?
It means that you’ll want to clean up the space around you – both internally and externally. Organize your immediate environment so that you can focus on what’s in front of you.
Externally that means cleaning up those distracting piles of clutter around you. Or tidying up your desk. Or putting in headphones to block out loud co-workers.
Internally that means having a plan for random thoughts that you come across. Have a strategy for where to put them, how to handle them, and when to acknowledge them.
There’s a lot to do when it comes to getting organized, but doing so will allow you to reduce the distractions around you; giving you better focus on what needs to get done.
This is one of those time management skills that not a lot of people take the time to develop, but once you have an organizational plan in place, you will be able to focus that much more.
Moving forward with how to stay focused
Use the tips above to help you stay focused each and every day. Pick 1 and try it out. If it helps you get more done and better concentrate, keep using it. If it doesn’t, try out 1 of the other tips.
Your focus-strategy may take some time to develop, but the results you gain will be well worth it.
Because again, the better you can focus, the more you can get done, and the sooner you can achieve your goals and ideal life. So put in the time and continue to work towards better focus.
Now that you’ve finished this post, I recommend you check out a few of my other posts to help you do even more with your time.
- My guide to time management
- Understanding and applying Parkinson’s Law
- And more productivity hacks to try out