Focus, motivation, and concentration are the substance of productivity. Manage them well, and you’ve mastered the art of fast goal accomplishment.
People who manage to pull off deep-focus work over an extended period are those that are most driven, successful, and satisfied with their work.
It is impossible to grow a business if you don’t know how to increase focus and productivity because they are inextricably related.
You know that and you still allow getting sidetracked.
To build your productivity muscle, you need to understand how focus, motivation, and concentration figure in the overall productivity scheme.
What is Focus?
When we speak of focus at work, we usually think of mental focus.
Mental focus is the person’s ability to keep the mental effort on a singular piece of relevant information in an environment full of distractions.
You can keep the focus on certain pieces of information at any given point in time. Otherwise, your brain would be scattered mush.
However, to increase focus and productivity and accomplish important meaningful, and profitable goals, you need to be good with deep focus.
Deep Focus Work
Staying deeply focused is crucial to doing deep work, the type of work that requires a person to produce a complex piece of work over long periods.
It is impossible to complete a complex cognitive task if you are unable to stay focused, motivated, and concentrated. Examples of deep work include strategic, analytical, research, and planning activities.
Work that doesn’t require strict mental effort is checking your chat messages and emails. An example of deep work with a powerful focus is writing a business strategy or programming.
The Importance of Mental Focus
Focus is important because it allows you to recruit multiple cognitive abilities for important tasks, including perception, memory, learning, reasoning, decision-making, and problem-solving.
Simply put, when focused, you think better!
Focus vs Concentration
Although focus and concentration are often used interchangeably they do not carry the same meaning.
Focus is about intentional attention. Concentration is more about what you do with the intention – the mental activities you take to accomplish goals.
Focus is chosen attention. Concentration is the action taken as a result of that focused attention. For example, you can choose to concentrate on writing your marketing strategy instead of meetings.
Staying focused allows you to retain information efficiently. When you are concentrated, you can better use all your resources to execute tasks and solve problems.
The rule of thumb is that:
- Internal distractions are the archenemy of focus.
- External distractions are the archenemy of concentration.
However, both types of extractions can create obstacles on your way to increasing focus and productivity.
Practices such as self-reflection and mindfulness help with removing internal distractions.
A time management system helps with reducing or eliminating external distractions.
Focus and Motivation
Motivation plays a huge role in setting goals. Motivation helps people engage wholeheartedly by pulling off all resources, skills, and abilities to create meaningful creative work that grows the person, the team, and the organization. Motivated people perform to the best of their abilities at work.
Once you know what are your goals and why are you motivated to accomplish them, motivation increases your chances to stay committed and focused on them.
Motivation has an energy of enthusiasm about it. It brings an emotional component to any goal that is hard to beat. It is impossible to set and realize loft goals without the burning desire to reach out to them. In that way, motivation is the intrinsic, internal helper to increase focus and productivity.
Learn more about How to Motivate People at Work.
How to Increase Focus and Productivity
There are myriad ways to boost focus and productivity, and not all of them include keeping you locked to the screen.
From listening to alpha brainwave music to strength training and taking time off to meditate, you can do a lot for your focus and concentration out of the office.
Here are nine proven ways to make sure your business works for you, and not the other way around.
1. Dedicate to deep work.
Deep work that requires engaging your core cognitive abilities is the one that brings the greatest return on investment of your time. Find your optimal productivity slot in the day and mobilize your strengths to develop the structure of your business. Delegate and automate the rest.
2. Set up daily timeboxing routines.
An effective timeboxing system consists of clear, well-defined time boxes in your schedule that you stick to maximize productivity and sharpen focus. Whatever it looks like, make sure you follow through and use it as a framework for streamlining the path to your goals.
3. Prioritize complex cognitive tasks with the greatest impact.
What is a complex cognitive task? Language use is one example of a complex task in which people engage since the earliest age. Problem-solving is another. Concept thinking or the ability to classify information in new meaningful ways due to new experiences based on prior knowledge is a complex cognitive task necessary for solving business problems. People with complex cognition skills are able to perceive nuances in meaning. You need all these skills to add fuel to your leadership profile.
4. Get a time-tracking tool.
Time tracking helps you keep focused and productive. For example, a time measurement tool based on the Pomodoro technique is an effective method to complete your timeboxing schedule and dissect complex strategic goals on smaller tasks and activities structured via SMART goals. Even Facebook has an integrated time tracking tool to help you measure the time spent logged in, and make corrections if necessary.
5. Eliminate external distractions.
A clean, distraction-free desk will help you work on your goals with greater concentration. A focused work environment includes minimum digital distractions, too, such as being distracted randomly by mindless app notifications.
6. Avoid toxic productivity.
The toxic work productivity trends can make you stressed and sick. Being healthily productive is taking steps towards growth without compromising other life areas and needs. In fact, digital detox breaks are necessary to refresh your cognitive abilities and come back to work in full force. This brings us to…
7. Schedule time to recharge.
Recharging time is necessary to replenish the brain circuitry and pump up your creative juices. A creative void, or taking the time to do “nothing” usually precedes a period of major reshuffling after which you can set new, even bigger goals.
8. Track progress.
Tracking progress toward your goals is not only good to increase focus but also to make adjustments and ensure you are productive, as well. Rather than looking busy, progress tracking is the unbreakable link between focus and productivity that you sorely need.
To improve focus and concentration, you need powerful motivation. As long as you are aware of what your goals are, using tools and systems to save time and keep track of goals will keep you motivated and focused.
If you want to know how to increase focus and productivity and build a self-managed business, there is an entire roadmap you can download for free below: