I recently discovered a great little e-book that deals with the question: how do you increase productivity and focus? about how to achieve more by getting focused.
The book is called “Focus” and it’s got some great information in it – if you can get past the distractions around you long enough to get into this little book and apply what it says.
The book covers some good stuff about getting focused as a life-pattern:
Here are some things that you will learn in this guide:
- The psychology of staying focused;
- What science has to say about concentration and boosting focus;
- How to stay motivated;
- What is the Pareto Principle and how to use it;
- Setting goals that keep you on track;
- Organize your workspace so that it helps you stay focused;
- How to stay focused in the digital age;How to minimize distractions from your phone and the internet;
- Practice “digital minimalism” at work;
- How to take back your time;
- What is Parkinson’s Law and how to use it;
- What is the Pomodoro Technique and how to use it;
- How to prioritize tasks;
- Single tasking versus multitasking;
- Why breaks are important throughout the day;
- How to take breaks in a way that leads to increased focus;
- What you should eat to remain energized and focused;
- How water intake impacts your concentration
Now, you might know you’re distracted but if you are, you might not know how much you’ve made your lack of focus habitual.
I was amazed when I started to analyze my patterns, how unfocused I was. Where it really hit me was when I worked alongside a friend on a personal project who has achieved tremendous accomplishments in Silicon Valley. And when I watched him work, I noticed he was focused to the point of not even being able to pick up on it when I was trying to interrupt him.
He said to me, when I asked him about it, “multi-tasking is a myth. I’ve learned to focus and the ability to focus has powered my ability to achieve what I have in my career.”
The result is that we feel like we are behind. When we spend most of our day checking notifications on Facebook or responding to unimportant emails, we find that there is very little time left to get projects and other work done. This can leave us feeling overwhelmed and may drive us to overwork ourselves, while feeling like we get nothing done.From “Focus,” page 6
Bottom-Up Thinking vs Top-Down Thinking
I think I have long realized this as a “fuzzy concept” but never understood it until I read it in this book. If you take time to think about what principles you want to guide your life, what kind of a legacy you want to leave for the next generation and about what is really important in life, that is an example of “top-down thinking.”
If you’re constantly distracted by your Facebook notifications and the doorbell, or if you’re constantly checking your email, that is an example of “bottom-up thinking.” It is being driven by the tyranny of the urgent. As the book says,
The ultimate goal is to become a top-down thinker. This allows us to focus on what is important and avoid all the rest. Unfortunately, because of our natural instincts, we are often bottom-up focusers instead. Willpower and focus are finite resources, which means that the more you are distracted, the harder it is to get back on track. And since we are bottom-up focusers, every little thing is enough to distract us from our goals.From “Focus,” page 11
The good news is your lack of focus is habitual. And habits can be changed.
This book will walk you through important concepts and how to apply them – concepts like creating a “focus haven” where you learn to discern what your distractions are and how to create ways to isolate yourself from them (both on the inside and the outside).
It’s a wonderful little book that will change your view of time, of priorities and of your ability to command your world and manage your time to manage your life.