How to Stay Focused: 7 Easy Steps to Master Mental Focus, Discipline, Concentration & Distractions | Miles Toole | Skillshare

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How to Stay Focused: 7 Easy Steps to Master Mental Focus, Discipline, Concentration & Distractions

teacher avatar Miles Toole, Personal Productivity Teacher

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (1h 10m)
    • 1. Introduction - How to Stay Focused

    • 2. Chapter 1: Step 1 - Avoid Distraction

    • 3. Chapter 2: Step 2 - Focus on One Thing at a Time

    • 4. Chapter 3: Step 3 - Practice Mindfulness

    • 5. Chapter 4: Step 4 - Take Short Breaks from Time to Time

    • 6. Chapter 5: Step 5 - Build Self-Discipline

    • 7. Chapter 6: Step 6 - Set Micro-Goals

    • 8. Chapter 7: Step 7 - Get Enough Sleep

    • 9. Conclusion - How to Stay Focused

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About This Class

Are you someone who cannot focus on the task at hand because of a nagging thought at the back of your head? Are you finding it difficult to remember some important things?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time for you to learn the benefits of staying focused. Stop being a slave to your mind because that is not going to help you in any way in achieving your goals. If you want to take your productivity to the next level, you need to be able to focus. Distractions are going to be endless but avoiding them is possible if you follow the right steps.

"How to Stay Focused" will show you how you can improve your mental focus and avoid distractions that come your way. Using a 7-step process with definitions, breakdowns, and explanations, this will become your go-to guide towards true concentration. Let this guide help you be the best version of yourself.

You will gain focusing abilities like never before. No matter what the obstacles are, you will not cow down once you have gone through this 7-step process. If you want to know how you can balance your life and set your priorities straight, you are at the right place.

‚󏬆The art of avoiding distractions.
‚󏬆How to enhance your mental focus.
‚󏬆Increase productivity by boosting work concentration.
‚󏬆How to practice mindfulness
‚󏬆How to fight self-doubt.
‚󏬆Instilling a sense of self-discipline.
‚󏬆Goal setting techniques.

Stop hopping from one heap of unfinished paperwork to another and try to complete the work that you have already started. You might feel curious about a lot of things in a day and curiosity is not a bad trait, but like everything else, you have to learn how you can practice it in moderation. If you want to accomplish anything in your life then you first have to learn how to be more focused!

Meet Your Teacher

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Miles Toole

Personal Productivity Teacher


Miles Toole is the teacher of the "Personal Productivity" course series. He was formerly a literary agent with Curtis Black Ltd. and writes a popular blog on Personal Productivity. Toole turned to teaching several years ago to fulfil his life dream of educating students on the topic of Personal Productivity. He lives in New York City.

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1. Introduction - How to Stay Focused: Introduction, Welcome to how to stay motivated. The following chapters we'll discuss how focus is the gateway to achieving anything in life. If you're not focused on your life or work or anything that you're dealing with right now, that problem cannot be resolved and you won't be able to come up with any new ideas. And this guide, I will show you how you can focus on your priorities better than ever before by avoiding distractions and practicing self-discipline. Once you've mastered the art of being focused, you can maximize your abilities to their full potential. But the key question that bothers everyone is how can they become more focused? Well, it can be done in a few simple steps, and I have divided the entire process into seven different steps in this guide. With such a fast-paced life that we're all living in, distraction is a very easy concept. And that's why it is all the more necessary that you will learn how you can use the artist focusing to your advantage. Once you learn this, you will see how dramatically your life changes and you'll be keener on building new things rather than fighting old emotions. So if you want to improve your life and be more productive, dive right in. 2. Chapter 1: Step 1 - Avoid Distraction: Chapter one, step one. Avoid distraction. If distractions are the major problem in your path to be more focused, worry not because in this chapter, I'm going to give you some tips with which you can start avoiding distractions and stay focused. When you start a day, it might seem that you have plenty of time on your hands to get your work done. But as the day approaches and end, you'll find that almost everything is still left to be completed. Does this sound familiar? If this is the case with U2, then what you're dealing with, our distractions that are not allowing you clarity of thinking. So here are some suggestions that can help you avoid these distractions. Always keep your goals in mind. Having your goals and your vision in your mind can do wonders to improve your levels of work concentration. You have to ask yourself, why you want to stay focused? What is it that drives you so much that you want yourself to become more focused? Whatever your answer is, that you will be in your goal or vision that you have. Having a clear idea of what you want and why you're doing this will help you remain focused. Accomplishing your goals can be a tedious task, but having your goal in mind at all times will definitely help you to push yourself. Even when the times are hard. When you have a clear vision, you will automatically try your best to find the road on which you should walk. Moreover, even if you start walking on a different path, your goals will bring you on the right track. Your vision in life should be something that inspires you and keeps you going. If you're finding it difficult to figure it out, write down your goals and describe it with every detail that comes to your mind. When you have divided your goal into small parts that are achievable, you become even more motivated to accomplish it. And this boost your focus directly. When you don't have a clear vision or goal, it's very easy for your mind to wander off the tracks. But in the presence of a proper vision, even setbacks or challenges along the way can not stop you from growing. When your vision is powerful, you will automatically have a passion for moving towards it and it will inspire you to remain focused. Reduce chaos. Chaos is the reason behind confusion, uneasiness, and fear in life. And it also prevents you from becoming focused. When there's too much chaos, be it external or internal, you become distracted from your work. Chaos can be in the form of obligations that you have toward your exercise schedule or your family. But that can be postpone when you're doing something very important. But yes, on the other hand, there are certain obligations which cannot be ignored. So you can start by listing the obligations in your life, dividing them into two columns. One will include those which you can postpone, and the other will include urgent obligations that need your attention. Once you've made this list, you know exactly what you can do. To avoid and what you can't. So now you can block time on your schedule accordingly and make sure your primary focus is on your goal. When you block your time toward your goal, make sure it doesn't coincide with anything else so that you can give your maximum attention to that task. Another way in which you have to remove chaos is by working on your messy house and work desk. When things are messy, you're bound to become distracted by it that things presented on a messy desk will derail your productivity wagon. And so you need to organize your desk right now. When you become to scatterbrained, it is not humanly possible to give all your focus to one thing that's most important to you. This is why I'm asking you to keep your focus limited to a few things at a time. You will learn more about this in the next chapter. Try going offline. One of the biggest distractions in today's world is your online presence. Everyone is obsessed with what is happening on social media and keep checking their notifications from time to time. People want to keep up with what's trending on the internet. But take a break and ask yourself, is it really necessary to know all that stuff? Would it hurt you too much if you didn't know what was going on in a certain influencers life. I'm not asking you to withdraw from everything, But what I'm asking you to do is keep your working time and social media time separate. You can check social media after completing work when you're relaxing. But staying away from social media is easier said than done. Not only will you have to fight the urge to check on your Instagram or Facebook? But you cannot just switch off the internet because that's needed for your work. So I know what you might be thinking. Is it possible to stay out of social media and not switch off the Internet? Yes, it is possible certain apps that will not let you open your social media apps for the time period you set it on. But even then, you will have to practice a certain amount of resistance and promise on your part that you're going to set the timer correctly. Otherwise, if you want to turn off the internet, then you can do something. Fix a particular time when you'll be checking your emails because they tend to cause a lot of disturbance while you're working. You cannot afford to be a slave to your email inbox throughout the day. You should also put your phone on do not disturb mode. If you're working on something that's really important. Text messages and phone calls often distract a person while they're working. If you are someone who has to check e-mails frequently, then you can set times after every few hours will you'll be checking emails. This will prevent you from staying glued to your email box at all times. Visualize yourself. Working. Visualization techniques are nothing new but had been used for ages to help yourself get the outcomes you want to achieve and also helps you in avoiding distractions. But if you start visualizing about the distant future, which is not applicable during your work than it can do you more harm than good. So you have to practice visualization in a very controlled and proper manner. Visualization has been used by athletes very often. They're asked to visualize themselves winning the match or tournament and then have to start working their way backwards from there. So in simpler terms, they first imagine themselves to have won the game. And then they think about the entire process in the reverse order until they reach the starting point. This means that they're visualizing every step of the way right to where it started. And this process helps athletes stay focused and motivated. So to make the process easier, you can break your goals down to a small actionable steps. And then you can visualize yourself doing each of those small steps so that you can reach the ultimate goal you have. When you focus on each of these small steps with intent, you do not think about anything else, but how you can achieve what you want. You become focused and when you're motivated towards something, it becomes easier to act on it. You don't have to think big. You can even visualize the smallest step towards the process, and it's going to help you out a lot. The more vivid your imagination is, the more it will feel real and the better it will work out for you. Think of it in this way. If you had spent your time thinking about all those things that would have held you back or all the barriers that come in your way, you would become de-motivated to even start the task. But when your visions are positive, you will automatically feel motivated. Check your internal distractions. One of the most difficult forms of distractions to handle is your internal distractions. You can't really run away from them. And so you have to learn how to handle them well. You have to figure out your own ways in which you can make your mind stronger. So it doesn't waste time string into thoughts that are not essential. You can practice meditation, visualization, and breathing techniques to calm down your inner self and remain focused. You can also set your own deadline, so at least you'll know what you have to finish your work within. There's a certain period of time for this and it'll make you do it with all your focus. You can also try maintaining a journal where you will note down any thought that comes your way so that it doesn't distract you from thinking. Some people find it easier to work when there was some music playing in the background. You can also practice this. Set a timer for say, about 20 minutes. And when that time period is over, reward yourself with something so that you feel motivated to work for the next 20 minutes. Sometimes the internal distractions or because of the people you surround yourself with. If you think that there is something toxic in your life that's draining all of your energy than you need to leave that person out of your life. You need to learn to say no for your own benefit. If somebody asks you to do something in your prime work time, learn to say no so that you can protect your time. 3. Chapter 2: Step 2 - Focus on One Thing at a Time: Chapter two, step to focus on one thing at a time. Every one of us in today's world is trying to cram up too many things in too little time, and this deteriorates our quality of work. Multitasking has become a way of life, whereas a does not improve anything. In fact, multitasking has so many disadvantages. It not only affects your brain, but also prevents you from giving your best at anything. If I tell you that you should do one thing at a time, at first thought, you would think that this is probably the stupidest thing to do when you have so much work lying around that needs attention. But if you think of it deeply, you will know why I'm asking you to start focusing on one thing at a time. In today's world, our lifestyles have become so busy that you can't really run away from distractions? There will always be something or other cropping up. Yes. If you use the tips that I mentioned in the previous chapter, you will be able to avoid most of them. But in general, there is distraction all around you in different forms. And everyone is trying to do the same thing, completing all your tasks on time and meeting all deadlines. But that brings about a lot of stress. And you don't get anytime for yourself or for your family. Does this sound like something that you're going through? Well, to be honest, almost everyone is going through something similar. And because of all this stress, staying focused is something that everyone struggles with. And most people think that the solution to finishing your tasks within the deadline is to multitask. But this is completely wrong. When you're multitasking, you're simply shifting your focus from one thing to the other. You're never focused on a single task. You're constantly juggling between multiple tasks at hand. And this can even lead to more mistakes in your work. But when you focus only on one task, you're giving it your full concentration. There are no other tasks that are competing for your attention here. You even expand on the possibilities of thinking creatively and you come up with better solutions to the same problem. When you have full mental focus, you'll be able to come up with better results. And that too in a shorter period of time as compared to multitasking. If you want to be productive, you have to learn the art of prioritization from which you can find out which task you have to do first and which of them you can do after that, you will basically be giving serial numbers to your tasks so that you can complete them in that order. Moreover, the least important tasks which do not specifically require your attention and can be done by anyone, can be delegated to other team members so that you can reduce your workload a bit. In this way, no one will be overburdened with work and the overall quality of output will rise. But if you're still unsure about focusing on one thing at a time, then let me give you a few reasons why you should. It frees your mind with so much work to do. You have multiple things running around inside your head. There is so much information, so many things to do and so many things to remember. But at the end of the day, you're just a human and there's only so much you can do. And remember. Workaholics often tend to forget that and cram up their routine despite the consequences of facing a burnout. But whenever you want to admit it or not, there are a lot of things to remember for almost any human being. And when this list becomes overflowing, you tend to forget a lot of things. That is why when you focus on one thing at a time, it gives your mind some space and your mind is able to relax, pursue one big goal. Some people think that focusing on one thing at a time means for getting your goals. But if you think very carefully, you'll find that most of your goals in a month can be categorized. For example, if you plan to complete any number of projects in a month, go to a certain number of meetings and recruit more employees than all of this can be included under one big goal. And then you can break that one big goal and to actionable steps so that it can become easier for you to keep track of progress. Once you have the micro goals in hand, you can pursue one of them at a time, complete that step, and then move on to the next step. This will make things a lot easier. This strategy also makes things easier to remember. You will be putting all of your focus on one big goal instead of scattering it to several unrelated goals. And once you start getting results, your motivation will come automatically. You'll soon realize that having this one big goal and breaking it into micro goals that are attainable can really have a huge impact on your life and also helps a lot and increasing work concentration. And you'll never know it until you try it out for yourself. Helps you tackle fear. Fear is something that everyone has to deal with at some point or another in their life. When they're to-do lists are constantly piling up. It's normal to feel fear. It becomes a constant battle where winning seems a far-fetched concept. Moreover, the more the number of goals on your mind, the greater will be the fear. Also, each goal has some kind of fear associated whether it can be regarding self-doubt or even something related to the quality of work. But whatever it is, if the small amount of fear for each goal is multiply, but the number of goals you have, the fear automatically takes a huge shape. And with so much fear in your heart, you can become crippled by it and not pursue anything at all. But when you're dealing with one thing at a time, you're just tackling the fear involved with that one thing. For example, if you have a fear of public speaking and also of speaking in a different language than you should not combine both of them. Try doing any one, and you will not have to face the fear associated with both the tasks. Instead, you will be dealing with only one fear becomes easier when you're handling one thing at a time. Moreover, fear is such an entity that it cannot simply be blacked out from your life. It will always be there. So you cannot go about pretending that it's not. If you want to achieve your goals, you have to learn to work through your fear. A simpler life. The world is already too complex. So why make it even more complex by doing several things at a time when you're handling multiple tasks, you also have to do tons of meetings for them. This means that your schedule is going to be overcrowded and you'll be shuffling between meetings on completely different projects with no time in-between to prepare for each of them. On the contrary, when you're focused on only one thing, you're dealing with, everything related to that one thing. So not only do your conversations become easier, but so does your life. When you are talking to people in meetings or anywhere else, you're only talking about things that align with that one task you're handling. It makes it easier to keep tabs on everything going on. Anything you think is not related to the goal you're handling now can be kept away for later. And he did not have to think about it now. But if someone approaches you with something that doesn't align with your current goal, you simply have to ask them to come to you at a later time and be polite about it. This will increase your work concentration a lot. Generate more value. When you are into one task at a time, you will be thinking about what time and other tasks you will take. This will allow you to go into deep thinking modes, which would not have been possible if you had to shift your attention to multiple tasks at a time. You can even take the time to figure out what things and skills you need to reach your ultimate goal. You will no longer feel like you have to solve all the problems in the world. What you have to do is just deal with your problems, the ones that are associated with that one thing you're working on with time. You will even notice that your problem-solving skills are increasing because you're totally focused on one thing and you're giving your everything to it. That is what dedication is all about. Finding the answers that seem challenging before will seem easier now, because you'll be seeing things in a different light now that your mind is not clouded by tons of other works when there are too many goals in your mind, all of them keep you so busy that you sometimes miss out on answers which are present in front of you all this time. But the more you work on your focus, the simpler your life becomes. Also, you have to keep in mind that you cannot be a jack of all trades because then you will not be able to improve your skills in any of them. When you try to do too many things at a time, the message gets lost amidst the chaos. 4. Chapter 3: Step 3 - Practice Mindfulness: Chapter three, practice mindfulness. The next step to enhance your mental focus is to work on mindfulness. Do what you know that people who live in the moment are actually doing. And what makes them happier. If we're speaking technically, then we're all in the present. But how many of us are actually thinking in the present? Maybe only 10%. Human beings are habituated to living their lives, thinking about the future, about what they want or about what they had. But it's very rare for people to think about what they have and how it's way better than what most people on this earth have. So stop being so preoccupied with your memories and thoughts because that's not going to get you anywhere. You will only miss out on what's happening in your present. Living in the present also helps you focus on what's in front of you and not getting carried away by things that are not here. And this practice of being mindful is known as being present. In this chapter, I'm going to teach you how you can practice mindfulness in your own way. Slowed down. Are you always rushing with things in your life? Then why not start taking things a bit slower? I promise you it's not going to hurt. And in fact, you will start seeing the results after a couple of days. When you're rushing, you are putting enough concentration or focus on the task that you're doing. One of the common examples of rushing into things as multitasking. But some people keep rushing even if they're doing just one task. Rushing is not going to get you anywhere. But when you slow down, you are more in the flow and you start reconnecting with the moment that you're in. When you do one thing with complete focus and attention, you don't start rushing it to the finish line. In fact, when a task has your complete focus, you take it slow and you appreciate the work that you're doing. And you give your best to improve the end result. The mistakes that people make in work are mostly because they were sloppy and not ignorant. So when you take your time to do each of these tasks, you will not make such silly mistakes, but don't get me wrong. When I'm asking you to slow it down, I'm not asking you to slow down your speed to such a level that you are not able to keep up with your deadlines. So that is not what I am suggesting. What I'm suggesting is that you find a balance between everything that you're doing. This way, you'll be able to work effectively. Your productivity levels will improve and so will your self-discipline. In this way. You will not have to do every task over again. There'll be right in the first time, you will be enjoying your work. And when you enjoy what you do, the quality of the work will automatically improve. Your focus should not be to tick off things on your to do list, but to enjoy each one of them thoroughly. The journey is always the most important part, not the finish line. Engage in short breathing exercises. The exercise that I'm going to suggest to you in this section is very easy and will only take a few minutes. So I don't want to hear any excuses about why you don't have time to do it. It will only require five minutes of your time. As you already know that human beings have to breathe in order to stay alive. And breathing is one of the involuntary actions of the body. So when you take deep breaths while playing close attention, it can help you increase your focus and concentration levels. You first have to find a position in a location where you're comfortable and where there are no distractions. Sit in whatever way you feel like you can sit on the floor, on the chair, or even on your bed. It doesn't really matter as long as you're feeling comfortable and safe. Sit in an upright position, but make sure you're not stressing it too much. Pay attention to your body. Start relaxing your muscles. Now take a deep breath. And when you do so, pay attention to the experience you're having. You have to notice how your breath has this natural rhythm. Feel the temperature of the air around you, and now release your breath than a normal manner. Don't force it in any way. Your body is fully capable of releasing the air in a normal way. You don't have to force it. You should also pay attention to the expansion and contraction of your chest. With each breath, your focus should be completely on your body. Sometimes you might feel a bit distracted during the exercise, but there's nothing wrong with that. You should not be too hard on yourself or judge yourself because you are distracted. Don't focus on any thought in your mind. Simply let them flow in and out and follow their natural course. You have to be an observer of your own thoughts. Continue doing this for five minutes every day. And once you finish, you will see that you'll become more aware and calmer in your mind. Now that your mind is incomplete piece, this in turn will have profound effects on your work concentration and your ability to focus. The body scan technique. There are several ways in which you can practice mindfulness that your ability to focus on bangs improves. And one such way is the body scan technique. This is actually quite popular among many people. If you're a beginner than I think you're gonna love this method. As you know, that is the basic idea of mindfulness, that you will be paying attention to what happens to your body. And that is why in this technique, you will see scanning every part of the body to see whether you feel any kind of pain anywhere. When you're stressed. It is quite normal to feel muscle cramps or not in your muscles. You should try to do this exercise two times a day. At least. You do not have to be in any special location to do it. And that is the beauty of this exercise. You can literally do it when you're waiting for your friend. Or you can take a break at your office. Begin by taking a deep breath. Then start scanning the feeling in your head, neck, face, chest, shoulders, back, arms, and legs. If you're feeling pain in any particular region, focus your breath there. You can even watch several videos online to get a better idea of the process. But I'm telling you it is really effective and calming your mind. Label your emotions. Emotions are a constant companion of every human being. They are with you at all times. But even after that, people tend to overlook their emotions and completely ignore what they're feeling inside. This can lead to a lot of emotional complications. At other times, people often overreact to the incidents in their life, but they don't realize that within that anger, there is some other emotion that is hidden. It is so important to find out those hidden emotions. In this section, I will tell you how you can get to know your feelings even better. For this, you have to start labeling each and every emotion you have. Start by closing your eyes. And now think about all the emotions that are going on in your head. Focus on them. Now the next task is to not be judgmental and name your emotions. Let me give you an example. If you think you're angry, you have to think deeply about whether the underlying emotion is really anger or is it because you're upset with something and someone is angering you? Maybe that manifestation is just a feeling. You might also be frustrated or sad. People have this habit of mixing up their emotions and getting confused all the time. One of the ways in which you can educate yourself about your feelings is to learn the different words on feelings that are there. This will teach you that there are more feelings in the world than just the basic ones, then you'll be able to label your emotions in a better way. But learning about different words is not enough. You also have to be able to discriminate between your feelings. When you are more mindful, you will be able to interpret your feelings in a far better way. You'll come face-to-face with the feelings that are affecting your mood. And when you know what's bothering you, it becomes easier to deal with those feelings. Also, you will no longer overreact to everything. Because now you know what exactly is happening. And that is not anger, but something else. When you are not aware of how or what you are feeling, it's easy for your behavior to get clouded by those feelings. But when you're more aware, that won't happen, you'll be at peace with your own self and concentrate better on work. Practice, gratitude. As I told you at the beginning of the chapter, people are so immersed in what's going on to happen in the future or what's already happened in the past, that they seem to forget about their present. Give up this life of anticipation. Learn to be grateful for what you have. When you feel grateful, you will notice that life indeed has some wonderful things. You'll shift your focus from the negative things to the positive aspects of life. A daily dose of gratitude is sometimes all you need to keep going. Even when things tend to go in the opposite direction. You can practice gratitude almost at any point in the day. But I would advise you to do it at night before going to bed. Think about all the good things in your life, or even the basic things. Because there are so many people who do not have what you have and they would give anything to have what you do have. So be grateful for where you are now. Recap your entire day in your mind and think about those small moments that brought you happiness. Even if it was just a small battle that you one, rejoice every moment of it and pat yourself on the back. You can also maintain your own gratitude journal where you keep noting down things for which you are grateful. Acknowledging positivity will set a good mood for you when you go to sleep. And so you will wake up in an amazing mood the next day. 5. Chapter 4: Step 4 - Take Short Breaks from Time to Time: Chapter four, step four, take short breaks from time to time. I think that most of you have faced a situation in life when you were struck and a problem for a long time. But then you decided to take a break. And when you came back, you found a solution to the problem that you are trying to solve like forever. If this sounds relatable to you, then you already know the profound benefit of taking short breaks and how they can boost your mental focus. When you're taking a break, your actually pressing the refresh button on your brain. When you return from the break, you will automatically be able to see the same situation in a completely different light. The solution had always been there. The only difference is that you couldn't see it before. But now you can and all because you took that short break. Now by a break, I mean, a cessation of any work that you're doing. It is not necessarily have to be office work. It can be any type of activity. You take off for a few minutes and then you come back and return to it. That is what a break is. Most people have this notion that taking a break makes you a lazy person, but this is not the case. In fact, it is quite further from the truth. Workaholic extincted. If they take even a five-minute break, people will start telling them they cannot work for longer durations or that they're starting to become lazy. And all of this has made breaks a taboo in our society, but does not have to be that way. Once you take a break yourself, you will see how positively it impacts your levels of productivity. And if something has the power to increase your work concentration, you don't need to pay any heat or what others are saying. The results will speak for themselves. Benefits of taking breaks. But if you are still unsure, then I'm going to walk you through the different benefits of taking breaks, improves emotional and physical health. When you're working, you are probably sitting in one place for long hours. This phase of constant setting is not good for your physical health. In the long-term, it can lead to back pain or even spondylitis. It also puts people at a greater risk of developing problems like depression, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. So you should take a short break from time to time so that all these negative effects can be reduced. Even if you walk around for five to six minutes. That should be enough to break the long phase of sitting and the stress that it puts on your back and shoulders keeps decision fatigue at bay. When you're having a long and tiring day packed with work, you have to keep making decisions from time to time. Have you noticed how that you can actually reduce your ability to reason out things and also wears down your willpower considerably. Also, when you are facing decision fatigue, you're more likely to delay things for later so that you don't have to deal with the different things now. In short, you give no to procrastination. Moreover, people often try to settle for something that seems easier for them because making hard decisions that require brainstorming seems impossible when decision fatigue strikes in. Encourages creativity and productivity. When you work for a long period of time without taking any breaks in between, it can lead to exhaustion and stress. This is because you've been constantly expending your energy and working your brain. And now like everyone else, your brain needs a break to. Once you take the break, you'll feel refreshed more than ever and your mental resources will be replenished. All of this has a cumulative effect and making you feel more creative. Moreover, it has been noticed that when workers are allowed to take regular breaks, their engagement level is much higher. And so as their productivity helps in restoring motivation towards your goals. There is a region in your brain known as the prefrontal cortex, which helps in pushing you to do all the things that are necessary to meet your goals. But when the task at hand is quite challenging, it will also require you to stay attentive for a longer and more sustained period of time. But you can get tired from such a long working period. So when you take a break, all your concentration and motivation are renewed and you can work towards your goals with a greater stimulus. Moreover, when someone has concentrated on any single task for too long a period of time, it affects their performance and it has hindered. So taking breaks is very similar to deactivating your system while it charges up and then reactivating it. That is why students who are preparing for their exams are often asked to take small breaks in between so that their brain is stimulated and there'll be able to stay focused on what they're studying for a longer duration. Which brings us to our next point, helps in improving learning and memory. It has been said from quite a long time that your memories are consolidated when you sleep. But there's also a term that you should know about waking rest. It refers to when a person is awake and yet they are arresting. It has been seen that when people do that, their memory strength is enhanced. When you are arresting, the brain works to revisit everything that you've learned and then properly in grains it into your memory. Sometimes these small breaks becomes so essential for maintaining a proper moral compass in people. So they can keep making the same decisions throughout the day. Now that you know all the benefits of taking a break, I should also tell you about when you should not take a break, and that is when you are amidst a flow. This means that you are totally absorbed and fully concentrated on what you're doing. This is a moment of high productivity and the effortless concentration. And it happens when you actually love what you're doing. And that loved generates so much energy that it instantly boost your productivity. So during such productive times, you should not take a break. Otherwise, you will do more harm than good. Oughtta take a good break. Some people don't understand what taking a break means and end up overdoing it. If you're going to take a break the right way, then you have to stop doing the goal-oriented task that you're doing and divert your attention to something else, possibly one which will calm your mind and help you relax. I've listed some of them here for your help. Take a walk. There are several people who loved the take walks during the day because it boosts productivity and also refreshes the mind. If you think you don't have enough space in your office, you can either go to the terrorists or the park nearby. Simply walk anywhere you feel like. Also, a walking break is always preferable over a sitting break. Change your surroundings. The goal of taking a break has to go somewhere else other than your office space or wherever it is, make sure that you're not doing your work there are break means that you're going to leave your workspace briefly so that your brain is able to switch gears and take some rest. Grab a snack. You can also have a bite of something during your break because it will not only take your mind away from the stressful work that you're doing, but it also recharges you and gives you some calories to burn. Practice deep breathing. If you were doing something that's made you stressed or an extreme state of feeling, why don't you try taking some deep breaths? Because it will definitely help you enhance your work concentration. All you have to do is sit calmly and take deep breaths for about 30 seconds. Take a power nap. Some people who are to overwork prefer taking power naps during their break. And this can actually boost your productivity a lot and also help in improving your cognitive functioning. Meditate. Lastly, you can perform a short meditation during the break. Meditation always helps in increasing mental focus and puts you at ease. It'll basically be a type of temporary respite from strenuous goal oriented tasks. The ones that you're doing at work. Drink tea or coffee. Drinking coffee and moderation is actually quite helpful. And T can actually help you relax, especially the herbal teas. But we're talking about boosting productivity. You should definitely go for coffee without any shred of doubt. You can do anything that you want from the list that I've mentioned before. But what if you're not in a position to take breaks at all? Well, in that case, I would say that you should switch your tasks after certain intervals. For example, if you're making a presentation now, after a certain period of time, you should answer your emails or maybe draft that letter you had to do. Or if you had some work that needed consultation with a colleague, then you can do that too. So in this way, when you finally returned to your original work, it'll be as if you have taken a short break and your mind will be refreshed and ready for the goal oriented task again. But what works for someone else might not necessarily work for you. You have to try out different things to see what is working out for you. There is no generalization here. And only you are the person who will be able to say what strategies show the best results. 6. Chapter 5: Step 5 - Build Self-Discipline: Chapter five, step five, build self-discipline. Everyone wants to make progress in life and be a better version of themselves. But do you know what the greatest struggle is? It's actually with yourself. And that's why learning self-discipline is so important that you keep choosing the IDA bola fudge brownie over maintaining a week of low-carb diet? Or do you keep skipping the gem by giving some excuse or the other? Although you know that you could have made time for it. Well, then what you're facing is a lack of self-discipline. And it can be reinstated by following a few simple practices. And fact. When you learn to incorporate discipline in your life, you'll automatically become much happier. It's been said that those who have a lot of self-discipline are the ones who also show a higher level of self-control. They don't waste any time debating obvious matters where they know something is going to be detrimental to their goals. They're able to make the right decision for their life without hesitation. There are choices are not dictated by any impulsive feelings because they're always level headed. And all of this makes them happier and satisfied with the life they're living. So when you're self-disciplined, you can achieve a lot more things in life and stay focused on what you're doing. Moreover, it will be get a successful life that is stable and sustainable. If you think that since you don't have self-discipline, You can't be helped, then you're wrong. Because this trait is a learned behaviour and it's not something that's present since birth. Once you finish this chapter, you will see that you have to overcome so many bad habits, made plenty of good habits, and with the help of some small and minute changes to your daily life, you've been able to work on your self-control. Here are some of the ways in which you can instill self-discipline in yourself. Know what your weaknesses are. If you think that you're the only one with weakness and everyone else is so strong, then you're definitely wrong. Not everyone shows their weaknesses. And so we think that they're so strong. But weakness is something that everyone has. It can be anything and everything. It doesn't have to be something so big. It can be something like potato chips or those chicken nuggets from KFC. Or it can also be the newly launched game app that's so addictive. It can be something like going through your Facebook feed for hours, whatever it is, you have to start by acknowledging it. And only then can you move forward. The reason why people fail to deal with their weaknesses is that they either fail to notice them or even if they did, they are very good at pretending that they don't have vulnerabilities at all and stay in complete denial. Neither of them is a good strategy for dealing with your weakness. It is okay to have flyers because it's natural. And you have to learn to own up to them. You don't, you won't be able to overcome them. Eliminate temptations. I guess you all must have heard of that famous saying, out of sight, out of mind. Well, self-discipline is somewhat like that in the sense that your weaknesses that create temptations. And if you want to be disciplined in practice self-control, then you have to make these temptations out a site. That is why one of the most important steps toward inculcating self-discipline is to start eliminating the temptations that are present in your immediate environment. The Temptations will obviously not be the same for everyone, and it varies widely with the goal you have. For example, if your goal is to start clean eating, then you have to start from your kitchen and discard all the junk food that you have in store. That is the first step to start working toward yourself discipline. You also have to make changes to your office. If there is someone who brings you your lunch, ask him or her to stop doing that and take your own healthy food for lunch. Similarly, if your goal is to increase your mental focus and start being distracted all the time, then you have to start by eliminating all those things that are causing the distraction in the first place. For example, it can be your phone bombarding you with constant social media notifications and emails. What you have to do is figure out a way of keeping your cell phone away. Or you can keep your internet switched off on your phone for that period of time when you're doing some intensive work. But if you're still having trouble practicing self-control when it comes to addictive social media sites. You can download certain apps that help blocking those sites for a set period of time. And thus, there is no way in which you can give in to your temptations. And with time, this will become easier. So easy that you'll be able to practice self-control even without the app. Have an execution plan for your goals. Those who are struggling with self-disciplined do not face a problem with goal setting, but with executing. It usually happens that they have goals and sometimes they even have broken them into small steps. So it makes the process easier. But they simply can't bring themselves to executed in the right manner. That's why you should first be sure about what you want to accomplish and have a clear and distinct vision about it in your mind. Another thing that you should have a clear idea about, what does success actually mean to you? This will ensure that you're always on the right path and you know what you want. This will prevent you from getting derailed from your path. An important step to solve this problem is to prepare a plan in a step-by-step manner and clearly writing down each step. But if you have already prepared it and it didn't work, try setting deadlines and reward yourself whenever you meet the deadline. This should keep you motivated and inspire you to work more. Visualize achieving your goals. Everyone has dreams and aspirations for their future. But what they fail to understand is that those dreams will not suddenly become your reality. One day, you have to create that future yourself and it'll need work. You have to push yourself to grow as a person. And work on your skills every day. And you have to visualize that you have achieved your goal. Basque and Matt feeling. Take it all in. And when you come back to reality, that feeling you got from visualizing will help you move forward toward your goal with an even greater level of motivation and encouraged self-discipline. When you are visualizing the good things about your future, you're automatically getting good feelings. And in some people, it also enhances their self-worth and eliminates all the insecurity. All of this actually helps people in overcoming their fear so that they can finally move towards their goals. Start small. In order to become self-disciplined, you need to know how to start small and start by making grand gestures. I know that by now you're feeling like you're going to put all in and dive right into that tough project that you couldn't complete for days. But no, you have to take it one step at a time. If you dive in and then you become overwhelmed, then it'll be even worse. In order to transform yourself, you have to focus on small things and then work your way up from there. When you try to change all of your work habits in a span of one week, you will only bring disaster and encounter a burnout. Remember, practicing self-discipline is more like a lifestyle and not just a onetime thing. That'll take time. And you have to start by focusing on one single thing every week. For the first week, you can try to tick one of the easiest tasks off your list. And when you've got that taste of success, you will feel even more motivated to finish up the harder tasks. After about a month or two, you'll be surprised by how self-disciplined and productive you've become. Take the help of a mentor. If overcoming your barriers all by yourself seems too much to you, then you can take the help of someone else as a mentor who can help you maintain self-control. Sometimes we're not comfortable sharing certain things as our family members or our colleagues. And that's when you need a mentor who had faced the same things and then came out of it with success. Mentors have tons of experience in the same matter, and we'll guide you toward the right path. Moreover, you can get unvarnished feedback and advice from your mentor, which you're not going to get from anywhere else. Lastly, I'd like to say that you need to change your concepts of self-control, self-discipline, and willpower if you want to be successful at this time. Some people have so many obstacles in their subconscious that no matter what they do, it doesn't work because of it. So start believing that your willpower is limited to a certain in-text. Otherwise, you're simply not going to be able to surpass your self imposed limits. 7. Chapter 6: Step 6 - Set Micro-Goals: Chapter six, step six, set micro goals. Sometimes it is truly intimidating when you have some really big goals for yourself. Yes, it is true that over time people accomplish a lot of things. But if we're talking about being systematic and focused, How many of us truly track our progress? That is where the role of micro goals come in. There are so many people who fail to accomplish all that they had thought of achieving the, you know, the reason behind it. Well, it's because they have this idea of future where there truly successful. And then they have their conceptualization of their present life where they're doing things, but they can't seem to connect both of these. That's where the problem lies. Sometimes you might think that reaching your goals is easy, but maybe it's not as easy as you think it is. So if you wanna practice self-discipline, but you're struggling to do so, then I would definitely recommend you try setting micro goals. What are micro goals? When we talk about micro goals, most people think that we're simply talking about small goals. But it's a little bit more than that. It's about prioritizing your big goal, which is the macro goal, but not in the way you think. We're going to break that macro goal into small goals, known as micro goals. And even if your macro goal is somewhere far in the future, micro goals are all about your present and doing them right now. Also, these goals will consist of certain very specific tasks or actions that are all oriented toward your ultimate macro goal. But the completion of these tasks will help you in fulfilling your micro goals to they're very similar to the to-do list we make. The idea is that when you are putting all your focus into one specific task, you're giving it your best. And this will give you that push that you always needed to move forward so that you can finally achieve your macro goal. How to set micro goals. Now that you know what a macro goal is, let me give you a brief intro on to how you can set them. Connect them with your long-term goals. Breaking your macro goal or long-term goal into small goals is not a difficult task, but to connect them all together is some people set micro goals would somehow go off track and don't really lead them to their macro goal. And that's not what you should do. All of your goals need to be in sync. And you can even set a deadline that by this date you're going to achieve them all. There's another way which is of great help and that is working in reverse from the final day to have. And this way, you'll have your goals figured out within a fixed timeline. Form a to do list. As I told you, micro goals are very similar to to-do list. Even if you're not used to writing stuff down. You should do this. Write your micro goals down in the form of a list. And this way, you will know what micro goal you have to fulfill today. And once you're done with it and tick off that box, that feeling of achievement in fulfillment is what's going to drive you to complete the next task. It'll also prevent you from going off track. Think about what can be done right now. In this section, I'm not talking about what you can do today, but what you can do, right this second, every small task that you go through throughout the day eventually adds up and helps you to move toward your goal and helps increase your mental focus on that goal. When you're doing these small actions repeatedly, think about all the small actions that you would have completed in a day, and all of them together will help you a lot. If you have a fitness goal to reach, but you can't seem to stay focused. Than what you have to do is go through even one minute of running it if you feel like doing so. This is because when you do that, you come closer to completing things on your to-do list. How can you make this technique successful? Simply setting micro goals is not gonna make you successful magically. You have to work towards them. And in that respect, I have some tips for you to follow. Think about one goal at a time. Don't cloud your mind with too many things at a time. Otherwise you'll be overburdening yourself. Also, when you have too many things on your mind, you cannot stay focused and all of that will automatically make you feel distracted. People often like the idea of multitasking because they think they're completing a lot of tasks in a small period of time. But that is so wrong. I've already debunked the myth about multitasking at the beginning of this guide. But I'd like to tell you again that if you truly want to embrace your mental focus, you have to stay focused on what you're currently doing. Always evaluate your goals. You have to set your micro goals leading up to the ultimate goal. And that's really good. But as your task over now, because once you have set the goals, you have to keep evaluating them from time to time to ensure that they're in line with your macro goal. Sometimes it might happen that on re-evaluation, you have figured out that your micro goals are slightly deviating from what they should be. And that this is your moment to make the rectification and fix things. So make it a scheduled thing that you're going to review your goals if not weekly, then at least monthly forum manageable segments from micro goals. You must have understood by now, excelling in this entire process is not about how efficiently you form the goals, but how well you execute them. And this is why at the beginning, you might be afraid of completing the micro goals too, especially if the macro goal is too complicated. In this case, you should break it off and form small segments that you think would be manageable for you. The best thing about micro goals is that they're attainable, unlike your macro goals, which are not attainable, at least right now. And when you bring yourself to complete this attainable task, you will automatically feel energizing and alive and also get a space of healthy motivation. 8. Chapter 7: Step 7 - Get Enough Sleep: Chapter seven, steps seven, and get enough sleep. Did you know that sleep can actually have a direct impact on your memory and thus your ability to focus? Yes. When you lack proper sleep, the first thing to get affected is your work concentration and overall mental focus. Other things that get adversely affected due to lack of sleep are your sense of judgment, mood, motivation, and how you perceive your surroundings. Although all of these things are still being researched and there's no clear understanding of the co-relationship between sleep and memory. When people are sleep deprived, a definitely lack focus and no one will say otherwise. When you are not fully focused, you're not able to learn the way you should, nor is your work outcome as good as it should be. Consequences of sleep deprivation. When you're sleep deprived, you have to face certain consequences, all of which affect your power of focusing and also your quality of work. Here are some consequences of being sleep-deprived that you should know out. It can hamper the hormonal balance in your body, affecting the level of dopamine, serotonin, and cortisol, all of which affect your overall energy and mood. Your brain activity is affected because of your activation of certain genes. Certain areas of the brain did not get rest and thus remain in the activated mode at all times. People cannot focus on anything for a longer period of time when they're sleep deprived, people face problems and making sense of certain things, especially the complicated ones, when they do not get sufficient sleep or when their circadian rhythm is disrupted. This is because the neural cells in the brain are affected and their ability to translate an absorbed visual data is slowed down considerably. People also face cognitive decline. Sleeplessness can cause problems with storing and recalling a memory. And this is also the reason why we usually tend to forget our passwords are such important things when we do not get sufficient sleep. You become less and less creative. You'll notice that when you're tired or when you are not able to sleep for nights, you'll probably not be able to come up with any creative plan. But when you're well rested, and that is when all the creative pathways in your brain open up, the decision-making abilities of a person are severely hampered by sleep deprivation. People become impulsive and end up making wrong decisions. And that's why you're often advised not to rush into making any decision at night. Based on observation, people tend to indulge in behaviors that are risky when they're not getting enough sleep. Now that you know all the consequences, I'll tell you how to get a better sleep. Some people deliberately sleep late at night. Some people have insomnia, while others sleep late because of their work schedules. But iframe solutions for every one of you, how to get better sleep. Just like a healthy diet. There's nothing that can beat a good night sleep. And so here are some very simple tips that will help you get a better night's sleep. Try to maintain your natural circadian rhythm. Your body already has its own sleeping cycle and you simply have to try and maintain it without causing too many deviations. When you maintain it, you will see the difference for yourself. You'll stay more focused and highly refreshed. Here are some of the ways in which you can stay in sync with your sleeping cycle. The first thing that you should do is wake up and go to sleep at the same time. And this way, you will be optimizing your sleep quality to a great extent. To make it easier, you should go to bed at a time when you usually feel tired so that you don't end up tossing and turning in your bad after lying down. When you're giving your body the sleep it needs, you won't even require an alarm for getting up. You'll wake up at a fixed time every day. Also, if you notice that you still require an alarm clock to get up, then it's probably because your sleep is not complete. And so you should consider going to bed earlier. You should not keep too much difference in your sleep schedules, whether it's a weekend or weekday. If both these schedules differ from each other, then you're probably going to face even more jet lag symptoms. If you had to stay awake too late at night, them instead of sleeping late til morning, you should wake up at the right time and then take a nap during the day time. This is a much better and healthier way of paying off your sleep debt. Every one of you probably experiences the drowsiness after dinner or lunch, but you have to fight it. If you think that it's not your sleeping time and yet you're feeling drowsy. Then you have to get up and do something that will read you up that feeling. Tried to do something stimulating. For example, if you have some cleaning up to do, then do that. Or if you had to make a call to a client, then you can schedule that Carl in the afternoon so you can skip sleeping at the wrong time. But if you decide to give in and fall asleep because of that drowsiness, you'll face trouble at night while falling asleep again. Napping is good, but you have to do it smartly. If you're someone who already faces trouble sleeping at night, the write time is going to be difficult for you to find. Otherwise, things are only going to get worse. If you want. You can take 15 to 20 minutes short naps and try to take the map and the earliest part of the afternoon limit light exposure. Light is one of those factors which can hamper your sleep cycle extensively. So your exposure to light, and especially around sleeping cycles, should be controlled. Light exposure effects a hormone in your body known as melatonin, which on the other hand, is responsible for controlling your circadian rhythm. Here are some tips that you can follow to influence light exposure in the right way. In the morning. Go into bright sunlight. And you should make this exposure as soon as you get up or as close as possible to the time of waking. One of the ways in which you can do this is by taking your cup of coffee and baking it under natural light. In the balcony or on the terrorists, you'll instantly wake up as the light falls on your face. Try spending as much time as possible outside and the light during the day time. You can do so by taking your work breaks, walking in the park, or maybe going to the nearby open cafe to grab some lunch. Or you can also choose to walk your dog when you are home and thus expose yourself to the light during the day. There is a gadget called a light therapy box, which is used by so many people because it stimulated the effect caused by natural light. And it's perfect for people who can't get exposure to natural light during the day. Keep curtains apart when you're working and keep the blinds open in your home or workspace, Make sure it's completely lit up by natural light. Similarly, at night, before going to bed, you should limit your exposure to any kind of bright light, at least a couple of hours before bed. This means that you should not work on your laptop or your phone before bedtime. You should also not read anything on your tablet. It has has a backlight feature that will expose you to bright light. Also, some people have this habit of watching TV before going to bed. And that's also a very bad habit. This is because your melatonin is suppressed by the TV. If you're really into books and you want to do something before sleeping, then you can try listening to an audio book because they're much better and unhealthier option. When you actually go to bed, make sure there are no bright lights in the room and that it is dark. You can install shades or curtains to maintain the darkness in the room. If you're someone who cannot sleep in complete darkness, or if you want to keep some light on for safety than stick to night lights with very dim lights. Keep a check on what you eat. What you're eating can affect your sleep cycle. And so if you want to increase your work concentration levels for the next morning, you need to keep a track on your diet. Here are some of the things that you should maintain. At night, opt for a lighter meal. You might get heartburn or stomach problems because of too spicy food at night. Don't drink coffee before bed because caffeine is a stimulant. Another stimulant that should be limited before bedtime is nicotine. And so you should not smoke at night. You should not drink too much water or any liquid for that matter before bedtime because that would lead to frequent urination and hamper your sleep. Your sleep cycle is affected when you drink alcohol before sleeping. And so you need to avoid that too. If you're someone for whom a light snack is mandatory before sleeping, then you should stick to things like yogurt, milk, low sugar, whole grain cereal, or half a sandwich, or even a banana. But steer clear of any refined carbs or sugary foods because they're known to trigger wakefulness. This means your deep sleep cycle is going to be hampered and the body will not be able to complete its restored if functions. 9. Conclusion - How to Stay Focused: Conclusion. Thank you for making it through to the end of how to stay focused. Let's hope it was informative and able to provide you with all the tools you may need to achieve your goals, whatever they may be. The next step is to start implementing all of these steps in your life. Even if it seems intimidating to start, take one step each day and one fine morning, you'll find yourself in a far better state than what you are currently in. Work overload is something that everyone faces, but there are ways of handling it with increased mental focus. Every one of you is probably chasing a dozen things in a day. And that's exactly why you can't perform any one task with high concentration. Your focus is being distributed among so many tasks that at the end, the result is often affected. Avoiding distractions becomes one big challenge. But I hope are the information that has been given in this guide will prove to be fruitful. Giving up on multitasking because it does not have any positive benefits. Take control of your life today. And if you are too worked, take a break and go for a social media detox. When you resume work, you'll be feeling much better. In order to be an expert and avoiding distractions. You also have to learn how to calm your mind so that none of your weaknesses are able to distract you away from the task at hand. Remember that self-discipline is not acquired in a day. It requires time and patients. And so even if you're not able to achieve the results you wanted in a day, don't be too hard on yourself because you're going to reach the finish line only if you are patient.