The question was asked on Quora, How can I improve my focus? and per usual, Quorans came through with some pretty good advice. Here’s a roundup of my favorites.
But first, do this…
Because Vurb is about taking action, not just reading and nodding, please do something for me: If you want to focus more, pick a single habit from this list and start practicing it.
When you make a single positive change in your life, you’re saying (to yourself) that you understand that behavior matters. It does.
What we do we become. LeBron James became one of the best basketball players that ever played the game because he practiced… he practiced regularly. Not just on Monday, Wednesday and Friday or when he felt like it.
Focus is a habit just like distraction is a habit. To break the habit, read up on these genius hacks to get your head out of the clouds and focus.
Dylan Woon said this:
Perform tasks in batches
If you’re writing, dedicate your entire morning to it and put your emails aside [and avoid task-switching]. Switch off social media. Catching up with your friend’s statuses probably isn’t one of your goals. Constantly remind yourself about your [real] goals.
Sleep well. View sleep as a productivity investment.
Once I treat my sleep as a productivity investment my waking hours become much more productive.
Elias Scully said this:
Group your impulses
We all feel the urge to want to check our emails, watch YouTube videos, or check our phones when we’re working. Next time you feel the urge to do so, try to group your urges together instead of pursuing each urge individually. Schedule a time for when you can “satisfy” all of your urges at once.
Arnav-Wadhwa said this:
Run! Running changes your brain’s wiring
Research showed a runner’s brain to have a greater connectivity in regions involving ‘working-memory’ and ‘self-control’. Running demands immense self-control, and a ‘not-giving-up’ attitude. [Running produces] endorphins which helps you overcome negativity. This gives you more mental control over yourself and lets you focus on what is important.
When I started preparing myself for the marathon, I lacked focus. When I pushed myself everyday into running regularly, I started developing the ability to focus.
Simon Rakoff said this:
Consciously use your phone
Every time you interact with your smart phone, try to make it a fully conscious decision PRIOR to physically reaching for the phone. In other words, begin each interaction with your cell phone with the THOUGHT,” I am going to use my phone now.” Then reach for it and do what you need to do. The important part of this practice is the concept that your MIND moves to the phone well before your physical body does.
Be prepared to change entirely
When I lost my first kickboxing match there was nothing I wanted more than to wait for the next match and rip my opponents chin off (sorry for my language but that was going through my brain). …I waited one year and finally the day came. I had two months to practice. During those two months I was another person. My friends said that I seemed a bit different. They thought I was “another guy”. I would say that I wasn’t another guy; I was entirely focused on my opponent.
Be prepared to change entirely and even become a new person because focus will change your overall perception in life. That’s what focuses tastes like when you want something so bad.
Look back (from time to time)
The biggest motivational boost is to check out on our achievements from time to time. It will give us enormous boosting ground and it will make us stay super focused.
Find a partner in crime
Teaming up with a coworker will keep you accountable – if she’s coding while you’re checking Facebook, you’ll feel foolish.
Use the Pomodoro technique
Taking its name from a Pomodoro timer, which runs for 25 minutes, the Promodoro technique is a practice of focusing intently on something for 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break to get coffee, go to the bathroom, whatever.
Wake up at the same time every day
The regularity, giving you the most energy, clarity, and focus through the morning.
Do things you enjoy focusing on
It takes “” to do work that you don’t engage with, so try to arrange your work day around that engagement, and when it’s not there.