If only we knew how to keep focus in life, we would make the most of our time and our energy.
Consider how many times you’ve been attempting to achieve one goal when you find yourself continually distracted. Now add up all the time wasted because of those distractions. What would it amount to over your life time? A thousand hours? Probably more? That’s more than a year of your life.
A survey by career builder showed just how much time people waste at work the results were as follows:
TIME WASTED BY EMPLOYEES AT WORK
25% waste 1 hour
33% waste 2 hours
17% waste 3 hours
10% waste 4 hours
16% waste 5 hours or more
TOP SOURCES OF DISTRACTIONS AT WORK
Cell phone: 55%
Social Media: 37%
Co-workers stopping by” 27%
Noisy Coworkers: 20%
Sitting in a cubicle: 9%
Phones are the number one distraction. But why do people waste so much time on the phone?
WHY PEOPLE CHECK THEIR PHONES AT WORK
Personal Messaging: 65%
Weather Sites: 51%
Traffic Sites: 12%
Adult Sites: 4%
Dating Sites: 3%
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Clearly there are lots of distractions at work. And there are distractions everywhere else too
Sadly, distractions are everywhere, and if you don’t know how to keep focus in life, you are going to find yourself distracted very, very often.
We all know what it’s like to lose focus.
You’re trying to write a letter to an employer, so you’ve got the computer open with Microsoft Word running. You begin to write your letter. At first it’s easy. But then you suddenly think “Oooh, I wonder what’s happening on Facebook?” So you stop your letter and turn to Facebook. And as we all know, once you’re on Facebook you’re sucked into a black hole of distractions where time slips right through your fingers. And before you know it, the day’s over and your letter is nowhere near complete.
There are so many ways in which we lose focus. Internet. Food. Cats… don’t even get me started on cats (love ‘em, but spent far too much time snuggling ‘em). Wherever you look there are distractions. It’s like 21st Century society was custom-designed to induce ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disroder).
Do you ever feel as though you are always busy but you never get things done? It’s probably due to scattered-attention.
Personally I’ve suffered from attention-related problems for years. I have some of the symptoms of ADHD, and a lot of the symptoms of extreme empathy. Those two traits mix in my brain to create a debilitating lack of focus. But thankfully I know precisely what to do about it, as I’ll tell you in just a sec.
The focus in my life would be all over the place if I didn’t know how to handle distractions.
Not so long ago I used to have zero focus. I’d start working, and then a friend would say they needed help with something, I’d spent half the day helping them, and then at the end I’d be so knackered I didn’t have time for my own work. Then there’d be the stray animals to look after. Then there’d be the internet…
I spent my life ricocheting like a ping pong ball from one distraction to the next. And I’d never get anything done because before I reached the end of a task I would be distracted and wander off in some new direction.
It’s no exaggeration to say that one of the most important skills in life is knowing how to keep focus so that you can make the most of your time. When you have focus you can get things done faster and better.
So how do you do that?
My answer is meditation. But with a very significant twist.
As you guys know I’ve written about meditation on here ooooooh, about a billion times. And I’ve already covered every meditation technique from Loving Kindness to Chakra-clearing in my guide to different types of meditation.
But I’ve never written about this. So, let’s get right into it shall we?
How to keep focus in life (whether for work, study, or anything else)
This is my self-prescribed solution for my ADHD-ish brain. And it will do wonders for you. Honestly, give it a shot, and if you’re not 100% satisfied I’ll give your money back (only kidding, it’s free).
Living Between Meditations—The Best Way How To Keep Focus In Life
My elixir of monkey-brain, my solution to distractions, and the way I keep focus in life, is this.
I follow the F.O.C.U.S system.
F.O.C.U.S : “Follow One Course Until Successful”.
Let me show you how to do that.
How To Follow The FOCUS System
Essentially, this entire process is designed to stop you multi-tasking so you are more productive. Because focusing on one thing at a time is proven to be a lot more effective.
1) For starters, when I wake up I’ll meditate. Because if I don’t meditate my monkey mind will hit the roof and my focus will be all over the place.
So to start, sit yourself down in the morning and meditate (or just do it in bed). If you’ve never meditated before then read this guide to beginners meditation (and also join us on Facebook because you’ll learn a ton about meditation there).
After you’ve meditated for 20 minutes you will have focus temporarily.
But here’s the problem. You may very well lose your focus because as you go through your day there’ll be more distractions vying for your attention than there are stars in sky.
- After meditating you’ll have focus, but you will lose it if you don’t do the next step.
2) When you’re ready to finish your meditation, ask yourself what’s the next thing I have to do.
Simple, right? Just ask yourself what the next thing you have to do is. Not the 100 next things you have to do, the one thing you have to do. If you have to eat breakfast, eating breakfast is the answer.
Right answer: “Eat breakfast”
Wrong answer: “Well, I have to have something to eat, and then I have to shower, and then brush my teeth, then I’ll have to phone work I suppose…” Stop it.
Decide the one action you must take next.
Next up, meditate while doing that one action.
Do that one action mindfully (never done it before? No sweat. I’ve gone ahead and written a complete guide to mindfulness meditation for you.).
So do that one thing mindfully.
3) When you finish doing that one thing, take a short break to just focus on breathing.
This is very important.
As you were completing your one action from above, you will have started to think about other things. You’re eating breakfast but you’re thinking about your meeting at work.
If you don’t erase those thoughts they’ll multiply until they’re swarming in your mind. Basic snowball effect: the one little thought gets bigger and bigger and bigger until that little snowball becomes a real issue.
So take a moment to focus on your breathing. This will clear your mind like cleansing scrubs clear your skin (consider how many times you wash your hands a day—you should wash your mind as frequently).
So, take a quick break to clear your mind.
4) Decide on the next one thing you have to do. Do that mindfully, and repeat.
5) If at some time during the day you lose your focus, stop. Do breathing meditation (anapansati) for 20 minutes.
6) If you find that you lose attention still, read my article on improving your self awareness levels.
The this exercise, it will help you to relax while you get your work done.
And that is the best way how to keep focus in life.
Honestly, give it a shot.
And if you’re thinking “But Paul, I can’t meditate because I’m at work / the gym / on an airplane / anywhere” then I’ve got news for you: you’re mistaken.
You can meditate anywhere and at anytime. And I’d like to prove that to you. That’s why I wrote the indispensable book: Zen And Now.
So how about you? Are you able to maintain focus? Do you have any special techniques you use? I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.
Oh, and by the way, another great technique to improve workplace productivity is by method acting. Read that link. Amazing stuff.