The ability to focus on a single thing for an extended period of time is becoming a lost skill. As it goes, grit goes, and production decreases.
As we, individually, give away our ability to focus on a single thing for an extended period of time, our ability to produce at a high level decreases dramatically. And that’s essentially what we want to do in life: product at a high level.
We want to accomplish something great and of value. Yet by noon we find ourselves lethargic, unable to make good decisions, unable to do what we set out to do as we watch our to do lists get perennially pushed to tomorrow.
Our productivity drops. Our goals become safer, easier. Our value and purpose as men begins to conform to what everyone else attempts. We join the sea of mediocrity that has become culture. (Read This: Fuck Mediocrity!)
You want more. You want to become something better than what the masses attempt. It hangs on your ability to focus and the energy you gain from having a singular focus.
3 ways to get more done with less energy and in less time.
1. Only Make Necessary Decisions
Our brains have a limited capacity to make decisions. There’s actually a limited number of decisions we can effectively make in a day before our decision-making well runs dry.
When it runs dry we lack focus and our ability to optimally produce declines.
The solution is simple: only make decisions you have to make, especially early in the morning.
Steve Jobs cut out the decision of what to wear by wearing the same thing every day. Maybe that’s why nuns seem to have so much energy. Another solution would be to choose what you wear the night before.
The better route is to have a morning routine that doesn’t change. Have the same breakfast. Wear the same clothes. Perform the same routine so you don’t have to choose different paths.
This applies to work as well. You shouldn’t have to choose whether to answer an email or a text or a call. Shut everything off. Have blocks when you can check your phone or email or social media accounts.
Get in the habit of having habits, good ones, habits that take your decision-making out of your hands and give it to routine.
2. Remove distractions.
If you don’t want to eat candy, don’t go into a candy store.
Remove all distractions from your work space, even if that work space is a hobby space or a place of practice. There should only be one focus at all times, be it your work, your family, the craft you’re trying to perfect.
If you’re writing, there should be no phone nor internet. (Try This: The ‘Put Your Phone Down’ Challenge)
The single thing that gets in the way of much of our ability to produce is our phones. We like them because they give us instant gratification, but they rip meaning from our lives. Meaning hangs on being of value, of doing something worthy and of worth. We can’t accomplish much if our focus is being pulled in more than one direction.
Determine what it is you want to be focusing on. Focus only on that and don’t allow anything else to get in the way of this single focus while you’ve blocked off time to focus on this one thing.
We’ll cover ‘blocking’ in a sec (see “c” of the 3 tools section).
3. Tools to Help You Focus
a. ONE FOCUS
OneFocus is an app that shuts off everything on your computer but the thing you want to be doing. If you want to be writing, it’ll shut off the internet and every other app for whatever time you tell it to so you can work on the single thing.
Here’s the thing with focusing on one task; you get better at it the more you do it.
Initially you’ll want to check your phone, you’ll have to fight off the urge to turn your internet on or check social media. But focus is like a muscle, the more you do it, the more you resist those things trying to pry you from your mission, the stronger you become, the easier this focusing thing gets.
To be productive I haven’t found a better resource than ‘time blocking’. That is, setting aside time to focus on a single thing, and when that time is finished, you immediately stop focusing on that thing.
Using a timer is ideal. The extent at which we can effectively focus on a task is 90-minutes. Build up to 90, start with 30.
Train your mind to focus. Other studies have shown a
c. THE PERFECT DAY FORMULA
The Perfect Day Formula is one of the best tools I’ve come across for scheduling and planning not only your days, but your life, the things you should be focusing on and removing the things that shouldn’t attract your time.
I rely on the journals and the tools within the kit heavily. When you craft our a perfect routine, a perfect day, and the perfect habits, you gain an energy that can’t be described. Energy becomes habitual. Your body becomes programmed to do whatever is it you should be doing and you get a thrust of energy to complete the task at hand.
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.