If there is one thing I have learned from living in Las Vegas for the past 5 years while simultaneously running a business, having a social circle and trying to hold down relationships it’s this: You have to take responsibility for everything going on in your life and be completely focused.
I’ve managed to stay centered here, so I feel that my advice to you is valuable.
Step 1: Set Boundaries
What is a boundary? It’s a mental fence between what you will and won’t accept. Are you always taking on things that you don’t have time for? Are you getting 2 hours of sleep every night? Do you have an obsessive relationships?
It’s time to set some boundaries my friend. Set them with your family, friends and most importantly yourself. Stop agreeing to things you don’t want to do. Let people know in a non-bitchy, down to earth way that you won’t be able to do that certain thing anymore.
Step 2: Meditate
I meditate 20 minutes a day and it has greatly improved my focus. Now instead of being all over the place when working, I can zone in and be present. My attention span can go from chill to in the zone because i do this every day. How does one meditate? I’m not going to get all spiritual here, because the way i meditate is very simple yet effective.
Sit in a chair upright or sit on the floor (Indian style). Set your phone alarm for 20 minutes. Either keep your eyes open and focus on the wall or close them (i personally keep my eyes open). Breathe in and out slowly 5 second in, 5 seconds out. As you are doing this feel the aliveness of your body. If a thought comes (and they will) just let it pass and keep breathing. The goal of meditation is to get to a place of no mind (no thought). What you may not realize is just how distracting your brain can be, taking up meditation daily will increase your brain power and lower your cortisol (stress hormone).
Step 3: Get rid of Distractions
Take a inventory of your surroundings – objects, people and events. Which of these objects, people or events are a complete distraction to you? Remove them (be civil). I have been off facebook now for months and I didn’t realize how big of a distraction it was until I was off. What a massive waste of time.
A few months ago, I made a mind map of everything I did often – the places i ate, the websites i frequent, habits i have, etc. I started slashing things that didn’t work in my favor and were actually highly distracting my productivity. You have to be honest with yourself here. It’s very easy to write off your bad habits, but good luck being focused.
Step 4: Make a To-Do List
Take a sheet of paper out or use Work Flowy. Each day start with writing what you need to do. Don’t put more than 5 things each day. As you get things done cross them off. Anything you don’t get done, start a new list for the next day.
The biggest thing with a To-Do list, is your need to get momentum. Don’t put 5 hard things you know you will never get done. Be realistic. If you want to get more hardcore into this I recommend David Allen’s Getting Things Done.
Step 5: Take Supplements
I had an intense workload over the summer. I began to search for my version of NZT (from the movie Limitless). In reality these supplements are known as Nootropics. I don’t have much time to go into massive detail, but twice a day I took:
These supplements gave me 4 hours of pure focus like i can not explain. I did all kinds of research online when I came up with taking these 4 together. I was also inspired by reading Younger You by Eric Braverman & The UltraMind Solution by Mark Hyman.
Step 6: Read Books and Listen to Eckhart Tolle
I listen to Tolle every day. A little much? You don’t understand and neither do I because there is nothing to understand. Stop searching for the answers and live in the present moment. Listen to all of Eckhart Tolle’s audio books and your life will change in ways that are unexplainable. You will see things / people for the first time again, even though they have always been there. When you can put your full focus in the now you won’t have a problem with your attention span, trust me. All your thoughts, past and present worries go out the window when you just let go. Tolle will get you there.
Also, read books on what you are interested in. If you don’t read, start with a few pages a day and then gain momentum. What does this have to do with staying focused? Well if you can put your focus on reading a book for a period of time, you can likely put your focus on anything. Why do you think companies hire people who have degrees? Mostly it has nothing to do with what they learned (a few obvious exceptions). They hire people with degrees because they know how to focus and have an attention span to spend that much time doing something without getting distracted. That quality is an asset to any company.
Step 7: Change How You See Things
Perception is reality. Start responding instead of re-acting to everything that is going on in your life. The more you react, the more unfocused you will be. Instead of looking at the task you have to do as easy or hard – just look at it for what it is and then DO IT. Stop telling yourself mental stories about the things that need to be done, people that need to be attended to, and so on. You’ll be surprised when your productivity skyrockets just from this small change.