If you’re serious about taking your life to the next level a discussion about focus is most definitely needed. Our focus allows us to get things done with precision and efficiency while maintaining a steady amount of positivity and motivation. There is a terrible misconception that some people are born highly focused while others are born prone to distraction but this is false (nb. however some people do choose to lean into this as an excuse). If you struggle with your focus do not worry. You’re not alone. The great news is,  like many things in our lives, a focus can be learned, and it can be honed.

Below we’ve detailed 5 quick things you can start today to increase your focus and 10x your progress. Try and embody each section as even these small, minimum effort changes to your day will help shape you into a better version of yourself, tomorrow.

In summary, here are some of the things you can look forward to Enjoying:

  1. Get things done with precision and efficiency.
  2. Maintain a steady amount of positivity and motivation.
  3. Improved energy levels and better cognitive ability.

1. Plan your day – don’t just dive in – and tackle the most important task first

In today’s world we are constantly battling distractions on all fronts – whether it be on our phones, laptops, tablets, watches etc – so combining this overload of information with a lack of a plan for the day can lead to terrible procrastination and mismanaged attention. Fleeting from one task to another in quick succession may help to keep you interested, but you’ll never complete anything and it’s near impossible to track your progress! It’s much better to write down a list of goals and then start to tick them off, one by one. We suggest adding a time estimate too, as this helps you visualize your day and plan even more efficiently. Another perk of the list is ticking things off will give you a great sense of ‘completion’, which in turn will give you motivation, which will, in turn, supercharge your focus.

To better Actualize this practice try the following steps:

  1. Write it out. Separate a sheet of paper into 2 sections. In one section add 2-3 major tasks you’d like to accomplish, and in the other add 5-10 minor tasks.
  2. Add Timings. Add a rough time of completion to each task. This allows you to better shape your day.
  3. Tick boxes. Finally, add tick boxes! Ticking them off will give you a great sense of completion and will kick-start your motivation

And here are some likely obstacles you will have to Defy in the process:

  1. A tendency to Overdo. Start small—do not overload your list. If you start to stare down 100+ tasks in one sitting you’re likely to add to your stress rather than remove it.
  2. Impatience & Frustration. Go easy on yourself. Do not beat yourself up if you still have things on your list! If you complete even one major task a day, you’re on the right track.

2. Look after your health

A healthy body supports a healthy mind and keeping yourself in shape is key to optimizing your energy levels. Your energy level affects everything from your mood to your motivation to your memory recall, so it’s time to get moving!

Some light cardiovascular activity in the mornings is also recommended to improve cognitive alignment. Even as little as 20 minutes before you start working has been proven to increase productivity and focus for the rest of the day by waking up those brain cells.

We recommend a practice that encompasses the mind and the body (such as Yoga)  so you’re able to practice 3 of our recommended steps to improve your focus all in one quick session. Yoga allows you to exercise, breathe deeply and delve into your conscience allowing for a perfect alignment of healthy body and mind. There is no better way to start the day.

It’s time for healthy body and mind! Here are some tips on how to Actualize the above:

  1. Reminders. Set a reminder every morning to get out and about. Even a 5-minute jog is better than nothing!
  2. Build a support group. If you can, find others to partner in your activity. This way you can both hold each other accountable.

And here are some likely obstacles you will have to Defy in the process:

  1. Once again – Tendency to Overdo. And once again, start small. If you try and set an hour of exercise every morning, you are likely to fail. Start small, and work up to an amount that is comfortable for you and your schedule.
  2. Mind games. Your own mind can sometimes be your enemy. Push through and get your running trainers on/hit the yoga mat. You’re body and mind will thank you for it!

3. Take Short Breaks/Make time for yourself (10-20 minutes)

It might seem contradictory to suggest taking time away from whatever you’re working on as a method for improving your focus, but it is extremely effective. All of us have a finite amount of energy and attention and if we spend too long hammering away at one particular problem –  especially if stressful or complex in nature – we risk burning ourselves out. It is important to completely remove yourself from the situation and focus on something else as this allows your brain to reset. In fact, when you next approach your work with a fresh mind you may see it from a new angle and strike that breakthrough you needed.

Here are some tips on how to Actualize this practice:

  1. Find a time slot when you could have about 10 minutes for yourself every day.
  2. Finding a quiet spot, sitting with your back straight and eyes closed.
  3. To make the most of your short breaks – 10-20 minutes should do it – we recommend finding a quiet spot, sitting with your back straight and eyes closed, and focusing on the intake and exhale of breath.  Really focus on your body and notice how the breath feels as you inhale and exhale. Focusing inward like this will also help you learn how to be more present in your surroundings, opening you up to even further discoveries and positive insights.

And here are some likely obstacles you will have to Defy in the process:

  1. Fidgeting Resisting the urge to move or stop when meditating can be hard. Trust us that every time you try it, it gets easier! You’ll also enjoy instantly recognizable benefits!
  2. Impatience. Practice makes perfect. Like most things, it takes practice to improve your focus. Stick with it! Not only will you build your focus, your resilience will get a boost too!
  3. Mindless practice. Learn what works for you. Learning when to take a break can also be tough. If you feel yourself slowing down to a snail’s pace, this is a good indicator it’s time for a break! The more you practice, the more you will learn when is the right time to break for you.

4. Understand that better focus will come gradually

To expect your focus to suddenly turn superhuman overnight is unrealistic, and thinking so can be quite disheartening and actually have a negative effect on your motivation. Instead, try and understand that gradual improvement will be made each day. The more you practice the above steps the easier it will become and the more efficient you will get. Be patient with yourself. The quick positives found in this way of thinking is knowing that each day will be slightly easier than the last which can be very motivating on its own. Practicing this deeper level of understanding and practice is important for other reasons too, as it can be applied to many other areas of our lives for a much richer, fulfilling experience.

Here are some tips on how to Actualize this habit/practice:

  1. Patience is key. Be patient with yourself and forgiving of your progress.
  2. Reward all victories. Even the tiniest amount of progress is still progress and so you should I’ve yourself praise! Little victories will all add up incrementally over time into huge results.

And here are some likely obstacles you will have to Defy in the process:

  1. Impatience. Anything that comes gradually takes patience and resolve. Don’t worry – in no time at all you’ll see huge improvements in your focus.
  2. Losing motivation. How do you stay motivated? It’s a good question. The answer? Practice and forgiveness. You will slip up from time to time – just don’t punish yourself for it. Be your own personal cheerleader.

5. Create Habits rather than goals

Setting yourself goals may seem like the right way to go, but your focus is much more easily attained when you look at the way you structure your day, and the processes you use. Creating and internalizing good habits means that the goals you set are more likely to be reached, as you’re basically turning yourself into an efficiency machine! Setting huge goals can actually seem too out of reach and have negative effects on your motivation. Also, one last quick tip – don’t tell people your goals. Telling people has been proven to give you a similar feeling of ‘completion’ which means you’re even less likely to actually complete them for real.

Here are some tips on how to Actualize a habit-forming routine:

  1. Start with one habit at a time. Too many will divide your focus and create more problems rather than reduce them.
  2. Get organized. Organization is always a good place to start. Make your first habit of writing out your list of tasks as mentioned before!

And here are some obstacles you will have to Defy in the process:

  1. Uncomfortable start. Go against the grain is not always easy. Creating goals is probably more natural to you than learning habits as it feels like an instant fix. Learning to go against the grain in this aspect can be difficult, but stick with it. You’ll be much more focused for it.
  2. Staying superficial. Internalize it. Once again, internalizing good habits takes time. Be patient with yourself – it will be worth it!
  3. Prematurely broadcasting. Keep quiet! It is in our nature to share our goals! Keeping quiet is hard, but worth it. Be happy with your progress, rather than getting a pat on the back from your peers.

So there you have it – 5 very quick things you can start actualizing today that will drastically improve your focus and 10x your progress. Streamlining our focus is the quickest way to leave more time open to enjoy other aspects of life, while at the same time making our work and projects more enjoyable too! It creates an environment of happiness in all things you do. Pretty neat, right?