There are more things than ever that exist to distract us from our daily duties, so it takes effort to focus. From the suckhole of social media to the seemingly endless list of things we can do on our phones and tablets, it’s hard to not get pulled down the proverbial rabbit hole. When things called “fidget spinners” become a multi-million-dollar industry, you know it’s take time to take stock in our productiveness as a society. Sure, multi-tasking is great but it can distract from our focus and, not only that, but also our ability to get things done to a (more than) satisfactory level. And, while we believe a work-hard/play-hard mentality is best, getting things done does take a bit of scheduling. Looking for ways to structure your routine to increase your focus? Read on for our four suggestions.
Wake Up Earlier
A lot of research has been done on Presidents and CEOs of companies, and what these studies often show is that these successful and driven people often have many traits and habits in common, and one of them is waking up early. HuffPost co-founder and power-woman Ariana Huffington, Facebook creator and informal leader of the online world Mark Zuckerberg, and business magnate Richard Branson are all early-risers. As the author of this Inc.com article notes, “The average U.S. individual wakes up between 6:00 and 7:30 a.m., which means when I’m up at 5 a.m., I have a good one to two hours before my phone starts buzzing.” Imagine the productivity you could have during all that quiet time. Even if you start the day slowly with a cup of coffee and the morning paper or you enjoy have a bit of music playing in the background to offset the silence, you’ve still got quite a head start on the competition. You can also be more productive if you leave this time for exercise, as you won’t be able to come up with the many excuses that often go with sweat sessions that come later in the day. The brain children behind innovative San Diego-based beach accessory company Slippa make sure to get up to surf every morning before they start their day, as that’s how they clear their heads.
Now, we’re not saying that this will be an easy transition for you if you’re used to sleeping later but give yourself a gradual transition and watch the magic happen.
Keep a Regular Routine
This one goes hand in hand with #1, as it’s easier to get up early day in and day out if you keep a regular routine. There have been numerous studies that show the health benefits of getting the proper amount of sleep each night, and that starts with going to bed and getting up around the same time as much as possible. As this Bustle article notes, there are other benefits to keeping a regular routine besides a good sleep schedule. You’ll also have more time to relax, less stress in your life, you’ll procrastinate less, and you’ll get more done. You’ll be like a well-oiled machine. And if you hop off the regular routine schedule, don’t let that be like a snowball rolling downhill. Simply get back into the swing of it the next day. Your mental health will thank you.
If you’re not a yogi or someone who goes to therapy on the regular, you might think this sounds like a lot of self-help bunk. But the harsh life reality is that you’re going to be thrown a lot of curveballs, and meditation will help you to be centered enough to handle them with no (or few!) problem(s). One of the biggest misconceptions about meditation is that it takes a long time and, if you’re already worried about your productivity and focus, this might seem counterintuitive. All you need to do is download a meditation app to realize that sessions can range anywhere from five minutes to over an hour. On top of the increase in focus, meditation has been shown to reduce stress, lessen the effects of aging, and increase happiness. Say it with us: “Ommmm…”
Eat Well and Exercise
You might think, “Duh,” in reaction to seeing this recommendation, but you’d be surprised by how many people let these things go by the wayside in the name of getting things done. But the thing is that all of these things are cyclical in that you might feel like you need more time to dedicate to your business so you neglect these things, but neglecting these things can lead to poor focus and energy levels, which leads to decreased productivity. Take the time to shop well at the grocery store to keep your body running at its best, and even if it’s just a daily 20-minute HIIT routine, you’ll reap the benefits ten-fold.
None of these suggestions on routine changes to increase focus is reinventing the wheel, but implementing these small tweaks will mean big improvements in your life.