Time is a factor for most people I know and being able to get things done quicker and more efficiently is one everyone’s wish-list. So, today I’m going to talk about something that can help you achieve this, at least to some extent.
Have you ever heard of the 4 essential things you must know to be completely focused? Or are you missing one, two or even three of them without you noticing it?
You have a busy life, your time is limited, so being better at focusing to become more efficient creates more free time for you to do whatever you like.
Think about it, according to the Pareto principle; 80% of your results are caused by 20% of your efforts… which means that you are wasting as much as 80% of your time!
If you are like me, you certainly want to do something about it.
The 20% of your peak performance obviously happens when you are comfortably focusing deeply on your specific activity.
Imagine … you usually spend an average of 5 hours to work on a specific project each day and after optimizing your focus skill, you get the same results done in a single hour.
With these methods you can get this level of efficiency and either make more free time to enjoy activities that are important to you, or you can achieve much more in the same amount of time.
Chase & Eliminate Everything That Distracts You
“Here are two truisms to keep in mind:
- Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.
- Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important.”
The greatest success secret of Timothy Ferris I understood while reading his best-seller “the four hour workweek” is that being busy is NOT being productive. In other words, it doesn’t matter how long is your to-do list and how much you do well on it if they are not directly relevant and important to your objective RIGHT NOW.
Focus is nothing else than the elimination of the distractions around you. Turn off your phone, set aside time where you do not read your e-mails, close your door, do one thing at the time.
Just deeply focus on the task you want to achieve.
Start By Remembering The Big Picture: What Is Your Ultimate Objective?
We are sometimes so focused on our to-do list that we tend to narrow down our vision and end up losing our sense of purpose. We lack energy to accomplish certain actions that need to be done and begin procrastinating.
There is a very simple way to overcome this.
Once you have eliminated every distraction that might prevents you from concentrating deeply on your subject, simply start by remembering and thinking consciously about the big picture of your objective.
Why do you want to achieve this task? What is so important beyond this simple task?
For example, if I want to learn 50 new Chinese words, the learning experience in itself can be fun, but my bigger goal is to reach fluency in Chinese. So before I start focusing on my Chinese vocabulary I remind myself that I am doing this to become fluent.
Then, and this is extremelly important, I imagine my bigger goal already achieved and feel the emotions of this particular situation. I imagine myself discussing joyfully with Chinese friends and travelling around China, meeting amazing people on the road.
All of these feelings give me an amazing force, vitality and energy to start focusing on my task.
It is as simple as visualizing clearly your bigger goal and let the emotions flow in as you are imagining yourself already enjoying the benefits of it now.
By the way you can also begin your day by thinking deeply about your big goals, I guarantee it will give you a boost of energy for the day!
Clear Your Mind
Clearing your mind is about eliminating the distraction inside your mind. If you are not familiar with meditation, you can simply close your eyes, relax and count slowly your breathing. Even few minutes of it will give you tremendous results in terms of mind clarity.
If this process is a bit difficult for you; you can also add mindful movements.
You can for example do simple squats mindfully, which means that you will do them really slowly being fully conscious of the movement you are doing. Then just sit and do the breathing count meditation. Mindful movements are a great tool to get clarity more quickly.
Mindful Soundtracks to keep focus
If you are in a lousy environment, or like me, you are just so addicted to listen to something while working, I recommend you to switch to mindful sounds. They will calm your mind and help you to focus.
You can find plenty of them on Youtube or on Omvana app.
Organize Your Task Efficiently – The Pomodoro Technique
If you are like most of us, it is difficult to get the same amount of concentration for 5 hours that you would manage to master for just 20 minutes.
According to the famous researches that initiate the Pomodoro technique; we are most efficient while working in split periods of 25 minutes.
To optimize your concentration, you can therefore focus completely on a task for 25minutes, rest for 5 minutes and then repeat the 25 minutes concentration spot. After 4 cycles of 25 minutes or Pomodoro (by the name of the inventor of this technique), it is recommended that you take a 15 minutes break.
You can actually download a free app to help you track these cycles.
With this technique you can easily measure your improvements. One day you might be able to do only 5 Pomodoros and the day after reach 8 Pomodoros!
It also helps you to build your concentration muscle.
Clarify Your Goals
Here is a great exercise if you want to define your goals in less than 10 minutes. I love it because it makes you ask the right question to find out the most important and meaningful goals.
In this exercise Vishen Lakhiani, CEO of Mindvalley helps you come up with a list of goals in 10 minutes and explains you the difference between the mean goals and the end goals.
The mean goals are the goals we are told to pursue in order to reach happiness. They serve as a mean to achieve higher ambitions.
A classical mean goal would be to save up a certain sum of money.
You never do it just for the sake of saving money but for more the experience you can experience with it or reach important goals such as having financial freedom, going on a trip or buying a new car.
The trap with these mean goals is that you cannot be fully satisfied with them and they can overly take importance.
“We got some obsessed with our mean goals that we forget our end goals”
The end goals are the ultimate desired goals from the essence of our being and should be the one that you need to pursue.
Learning a new skill, travelling around the world, finding love are examples of end goals.
How can I recognize my mean goals and start pursuing end goals?
By asking yourself these 3 questions:
- What do I want to experience
- How do I want to grow
- How do I want to contribute
That’s it. You’ll be surprised at the answers once you take a deep look inside and try to answer the above questions.
Getting focus is a clearing process:
- Clearing your environment, get rid of every distraction.
- Clearing your objectives: don’t only focus on the short term objectives but also immerse yourself into your bigger ambitions to stay motivated and energized.
- Clearing your mind: everything gets easier when you are not distracted by other thoughts, do a brief meditation practice and use mindful sounds before starting your task.
If you can think of some other tools and tips to become more efficient, you’re a rock star and I want to hear from you in the comments.