Have you ever caught yourself losing…
…I need a coffee…
…oh, an email!…
I’m just getting back in the saddle after two weeks paternity leave, following the birth of my son. Mother and baby are doing well, after a long labour, and I’m just about recovering from some very sleepless nights!
But having got back behind the desk, I’m struggling to concentrate.
I keep catching myself drifting, and I realise that I have had some very unproductive days since paternity leave.
Thankfully, I have found some really helpful resources to help with focus. I found this article from www.howtogetfocused.com really helpful:
The 8 Things You Need To Know About Concentration
1. You can’t start concentrating until you’ve stopped getting distracted
The phrase above is self-explanatory. Yet, it’s amazing how most people look for some crazy, obtuse solution for the reason why they can’t concentrate. They reason, “I just have ADD. I can’t concentrate.” In reality, their situation likens itself to Mike’s situation above.
In the late 80′s, two researchers asked themselves a chicken-egg question. (“What came first the chicken or the egg?”). Their version centers on distraction and boredom. They asked themselves, “What came first, distraction or boredom.” What they found is rather subtle, yet it’s profoundly significant. They found that distraction leads to boredom (not the other way around). This displays that we must cut out distraction in order to get focused; or else, we’ll get bored.
2. Just do one important thing per day
Scientists also found that we can only focus on one thing at once. Nobody does that. We’ve always got something going on in the background of whatever we’re doing. We’ve always got two-dozen tasks on our to-do list. On top of this, we’ve got a handful of projects that we try and finish simultaneously.
When you’ve got a mountain of paperwork on your desk, the best thing to do is clear it all off. Pick it all up and place it in a drawer. Do anything required to get it out of your sight. After this, kick your feet up and daydream. Yes, I’m serious. Daydream and ask yourself the following question: “What’s the most important thing I can do right now?” Once you’ve identified the item that will actually make a difference, do it.
Try and make it a goal to do just one critical thing per day. This habit proves much more effective than living the routine everyone else lives: doing many insignificant things a day. They live on fooling themselves into thinking they’ve added value.
The quote below by John Wooden summarizes this quite nicely. Recall upon this daily if you’re having a difficult time breaking away from the ineffective lifestyle.
“Don’t mistake activity for achievement.” – John Wooden
You might also like to read my post on the benefits of Flexible Working and consider what impact that might have on your productivity and concentration.