Think of driving in your car, with the final destination being the other side of town.
How much faster are you going to get there, driving a straight road with your foot constantly on the gas, as opposed to starting, stopping, changing directions, starting again, stopping again, changing directions, and so on?
If you take that straight road with your foot constantly on the gas, you'll get to your destination at least 10-times faster than if you're constantly starting, stopping, and changing directions.
Focus has the same effect on your life - the longer you maintain it without a distraction, the faster you'll achieve your goals.
So, what are you doing right now that might be killing your focus?
Well, it's all those little, tiny things you do that don't necessarily take up a significant amount of your time, but engage your brain just long enough to DISENGAGE it from what it was doing before.
This would include:
- Constantly checking stuff every few minutes - Email, news, blogs, etc.
- Notifications - Email, Twitter, IM (someone just got on, or offline)
- Searches - Doing a search whenever something pops into your brain
I'm telling you, these tiny distractions are killing your focus, thus greatly diminishing your overall productivity.
So, what can you do about it - how can you manage these things better and reclaim your focus?
I've noticed that the reason most people allow these things to disrupt their day on a sporadic basis (like every 5-10 minutes) is usually because they have absolutely no system in place for taking care of them. And without a system in place, they feel like they have to give them a chunk of their attention every once and a while - even if it is sporadically, for fear that they'll miss something important.
But here's a better way. It's something I call a Break Away Session.
Here's how it works...
First, disable every single notification gizmo on your computer. Turn them off!
Then, every day, schedule two, 30-minute sessions - one in the morning, and another in the afternoon - where you do nothing but check and answer email, make phone calls, check the news, read your favorite blogs, check twitter, or do any searches you've been thinking about doing. If you use The Action Machine, create a couple timers for these sessions, or a single timer that you use in the morning, reset, then use again in the afternoon.
Think of a Break Away Session as single chunk of time that you use to handle all the minor tasks that you need or want to do, so that they don't interfere with the more significant things you need to get done.
When you schedule, and KNOW that you have a specific amount of time to deal with these things, the less they'll sit at the corner of your mind, poking for your attention, and the less you'll feel tempted to allow them to disrupt your focus at random times throughout the day.
NOTE: If 30 minute sessions aren't enough, choose a time limit that suits your needs. Just make sure it's enough time to take care of all the minor stuff you have to deal with each day.
Remember, that when you're tempted to interrupt your focus to do something minor, like check your email (so that you don't miss some incoming message), that you now have time set aside to take care of it, and let the temptation go.
Take back control of your focus, eliminate distractions, and see your results soar!