6 Veteran Techniques to Focus and Get Ready for Work QuicklyDavid - About Lifestyle - August 09, 2020
A Summer Morning, by Jef Martens. That's the only song I need to quickly collect my thoughts and focus on work.
See, my problem is, I have insane difficulties to concentrate on a specific task for an extended period of time. It's a daily struggle with myself, and I'm not yet done with it. Oh, wait. Are you in the same boat?
Good news. I know exactly how it is, and in this article I'll give you my personal techniques to focus and start working in no time.
Ready, set, go!
My Personal Techniques to Quickly Focus
After years of struggle, these are the techniques that work for me, and hopefully will work for you:
Act I - The Smartphone Vanishes: Your smartphone must be both completely turned off and out of sight. If you neither see it nor hear it, you won't be tempted to use it. If just like me you've got strong difficulties to focus, I recommend putting your phone in a place you don't like, or one which is not easily accessible (under your bed, or on top of a high shelf for instance). By having an obstacle between you and your smartphone, you will be much less likely to go for it. That's a good technique to break a bad habit in general.
Act II - The Sound Vanishes: It is absolutely necessary that you find a place where there is complete silence so you can focus, think, and talk to yourself. It's not always easy to find such a place, and you're right. My tip here is to buy decent earmuffs with noise reduction. They will make you feel like you're in a bubble, and that will help you focus quickly. Earplugs exist. For sure. I wouldn't recommend them. Although earplugs provide better noise reduction than earmuffs, having your whole ears protected by earmuffs will increase this inside-of-a-bubble feeling. You can still combine both though.
ACT III - The Sound Appears Again: Silence is good, but music can help you focus and work quickly. Here's my secret tip. Use classical conditioning. In other words, find a music style that helps you focus (classical, lo-fi, house, jazz, etc), and which you enjoy. Then, play a full playlist of that style right before focusing and getting ready for work. This specific playlist will become your stimulus. Every time you hear that playlist, your brain will associate it with focusing and working. Eventually, after several weeks, you'll be able to focus in seconds just by hearing that playlist you chose ahead.
ACT IV - The Internet Vanishes: If you're working on a laptop or any smart device that has access to the internet, read carefully. First, you'll put your device in airplane mode, or just deactivate the WIFI / roaming and remove the ethernet cable if there's one. Second, you will either shut down your router/box or unplug it. That will put an extra step between you and having access to the internet, and that's good to keep you from being tempted to deactivate the airplane mode of your device.
ACT V - The Tools Transform: If you're using all the techniques described above and you're still struggling to focus and get ready for work, change your tools and your routine. For instance, I love writing but I have huge difficulties to write articles consistently. I found out I was much more consistent when I wrote on paper using a simple pen and a tea in place of a laptop. Try to work differently, and most importantly, try to do your work and focus using different tools to achieve identical (if not better) results.
ACT VI - The Scene Shrinks If you want to work for a long time, start slow and short. If you're trying to focus and work for an hour, just start like it will take only 10 minutes. That will help you start quicker, and it will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. It's really hard for your mind to accept the fact that it will be blocked in "seriousness" and work for a long time. If you trick it into thinking you'll just be there for several minutes, you'll start and won't see the time pass by. 10 minutes will quickly become two hours and you'll feel proud of yourself.
Focus on What Matters
Here I'll go about two points that I believe are extremely important:
Relax. We've all been there. To these days, I'm still having times where I chill and do nothing but waste my time. Don't worry if you're in the same situation. I mean, at least you're aware of it and that's already a huge step. Now work on it, and try to use the techniques I gave you to focus and get ready for work quickly. Do not feel guilty, and do not self-sabotage.
Intent is everything. That is my "secret tip". When I don't feel like focusing or working at all, I just remember what drives me to do what I do daily. I say to myself "David, you'll help somebody today.", and that keeps me motivated. Remember why you need to focus and work, and that will help you align with your needs and values.
Wait a minute. You've got an excellent technique to focus and get ready for work? Please share it in the comments!