Most of us try to do too many things at once and it’s easy to understand why. There are so many things to pay attention to. Our phones are always buzzing, pop ups appear constantly, and information is being thrown at us throughout our entire day.
The result of all this noise is that we get less done, are less engaged, and are less connected to the experience of our lives.
Which is why learning how to focus on just one thing is so powerful. Learning to focus not only helps you to become more effective it also helps you experience the challenges in your life fully and grow as a result.
How to do one thing at a time:
Doing one thing at a time may seem simple, but most of us are so used to flitting from one thing to the next, that focusing can be tough. One way to improve your focus is to set aside time for working on one particular task. Here are some of the things I do when I want to create a block of focused time.
1. Choose a task – It doesn’t matter what it is, but ideally, it’s something you need focus to do well. I usually use focus blocks for writing and planning but you can choose anything you want.
2. Set a time limit – It can be short or long, but make sure it’s manageable.
For big work projects, I try to work in 60 – 90 min blocks. When I meet with potential clients, I always block out 120 mins. And when I do my weekly review, I block off at least half a day to get it all done.
My suggestion is that you start with something small and build from there.
3. Get started –
Decide what to do first and get going. Starting is often the hardest part so think about working for whole time. Instead just focus on starting strong.
4. Notice the urge –
At some point as you work, you’ll feel the urge to do something else. Notice this urge and mark it down on a piece of paper. If the urge is something you’re afraid you’ll forget, then write one word as a reminder for later.
5. Return to the task –
After you have acknowledged the urge to do something else return to the task at hand. This is actually the most important part of this practice.
Being distracted alot, feeling tired, or getting bored are all normal. The real key to increased focus is to return to your work again and again, no matter how often you get off track.
6. Stop Working –
When your time period is up, stop working. You may feel really good and want to keep going but I would encourage you to stop. Part of what makes a focus block so powerful is that it’s bounded. If you don’t respect the boundaries, it makes it hard to maintain.
You can always start a new block after a short pause, but make sure you pause and reflect.
7. Take stock-
Now that the time block is over take a few mins to reflect on how you did.
- Did you accomplish what you wanted to accomplish?
- How focused were you?
- How often were you distracted?
- Did you enjoy the work you were doing?
By using this simple approach to time blocking, you’ll be able to increase your focus and get alot more done. I’ve used this technique to write blog posts for this challenge, plan out my year, and make big decisions in my business.
Every time I use a focus block, I not only feel more productive, I enjoy my work more than usual.
Ok now for the challenge:
Challenge #20 – Do One Thing
Choose a task you want to get done and use the guidelines above to create some space to work on it. Make sure to choose something that will push you without stressing you out. It’s important you learn what this is like before you take on something really tough.
Once you’ve done at least one time block reflect on your experience.
- How focused were you?
- What distracted you?
- Was it the same thing or different things?
- Did the focus block help you focus?
- Did you find it hard to focus on just one thing at a time?
- Is this something you might try again?
As always share in one or all of the following ways.
Blog – Write a post about your experience of focus blocking. What did you enjoy about it or struggle with?
Post – Using #30dayhappy or posting in our Facebook group share what task you chose for your focus block and how it went.
Comment – Did you struggle with this challenge or enjoy it? Share in the comments or ask a question.
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