How you can be laser-focused.
Everyone has those days where they’re super sluggish and just can’t seem to concentrate on the task at hand.
Days like that make you feel terrible because it feels like you’re getting nothing done and even the things that do get done just feel subpar.
During days like that, you really wish that you could be laser focused on what you’re doing to get it done as efficiently as possible.
Well, here’s some good news. You can be laser-focused more often than not.
Read on to find out exactly how you can focus on your work, your studies and anything else that you happen to be doing.
How do you get laser sharp focus?
There’s no hack out there that will give you laser sharp focus. The one, sure-fire way for you to get laser sharp focus is for you to practice having laser sharp focus. How do you practice having laser sharp focus? Here’s how!
- You need to set clear goals before you start working.
The most basic thing you need to do in order to have better focus is to decide what you want to accomplish before you start working.
How can you focus on doing something if you don’t even know what you’re doing?
If you have a big project you want to finish, then divide it out into smaller parts. Then make it your goal to finish a set amount of those smaller parts in a set amount of time.
For example, say that you’ll finish doing parts 1 to 2 in one afternoon and then parts 3 to 5 the next afternoon.
- Work in set blocks of time.
Despite what some people may say, working for 8 hours straight just isn’t possible for most people. Instead of trying to stay focused for 8 hours and failing miserably, you should do work in set blocks of time.
Work with complete focus for a bit, take a break and then get back to work. This will keep you alert and more focused than if you just tried to bulldoze your way through 8 hours of work at once.
The Pomodoro Technique is a popular method for working in set blocks of time. The way the technique works is that you set a timer for 25 minutes and then work with complete focus for those 25 minutes. After that, you set a timer for 5 minutes and then take a break for those 5 minutes.
Then you repeat that until you’re done.
Another popular way to work in set blocks of time is to work for 60 to 90 minutes with complete focus and no distractions. Once that time has passed, you take a break for 30 to 45 minutes. Focusing for a full hour is noticeably harder than focusing for just 25 minutes so you should make it your goal to work yourself up to being able to focus for longer periods of time.
- Get rid of your notifications and tune out the world.
Your notifications will absolutely kill your focus. You need to get rid of every single potential distraction before it becomes a problem.
Here’s a list of the most common notifications and distractions that you need to get rid of when you start working.
- Phone calls.
- Messages on your phone like regular messages, WhatsApp messages and Line.
- Email notifications like normal Gmail notifications and especially Slack notifications.
Tuning out every single one of these notifications just isn’t practical for most people. For example, in most workplaces, turning off Slack notifications for 8 hours a day is a good way to get a stern talking to by your boss.
But even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day, try to completely tune out the world while you’re working. It’ll make a huge difference in terms of keeping your focus.
PS: This is an obvious one but it’s still worth mentioning. Either lock your door or put up a “don’t disturb” sign up while you’re working. Modern day distractions are more pressing but old school disturbances are still a thing.
- Put aside time for distractions.
Does this point contradict the point above? Not really, because scheduled distractions can be good for your focus while random distractions are absolutely terrible for your focus.
Remember the Pomodoro Technique we mentioned above? During your scheduled breaks, it’s a good idea to schedule distractions as a reward for yourself.
For example, after your work block you can take 15 to 30 minutes to browse Twitter or watch videos on YouTube before you continue working. Doing this serves two purposes:
- You have something to look forward to while going through your work.
- You refresh yourself after finishing your set blocks of work.
Just remember that you have to be disciplined with your distractions. If you say you’re only going to mindlessly scroll through Twitter for 30 minutes, you must stop mindlessly scrolling through Twitter after 30 minutes. If you don’t control yourself, there’s no point in scheduling your distractions.
People just can’t focus these days. An ancient practice can help solve this modern day problem.
That ancient practice is called meditation.
Meditation gets a bad rap these days since a lot of snake oil salesmen have started marketing their particular meditation style as the solution to all your problems… while charging thousands to gain access to it.
While there are definitely some meditation books and courses out there that can be beneficial, you can get by with free information online.
Here’s a simple and easy meditation routine that you can start doing today:
- Sit down somewhere comfortable, quiet and where you won’t be bothered.
- Set a timer for 10 minutes.
- For 10 minutes, breathe in and out deeply with your eyes closed.
- Focus only on your breath and cancel out every thought that comes to your mind.
- Stop when the 10 minutes are over.
If this is your first time meditating, you’ll definitely have a hard time doing this meditation. But with enough practice, you’ll get it down eventually.
When you successfully do the meditation above, you’ll realize that your ability to focus has gone up.
6. Get to know yourself better.
What does that even mean? It means pay attention to your habits so you can focus better. Learn when you start to get distracted and lose focus. Ask yourself questions like this:
- Do you start to lose focus when you start getting hungry?
- Do you start to lose focus faster when you’re in a bad mood?
- Do you get distracted easily while you’re working in your bedroom?
- Do you tend to keep your focus better in the morning or at night?
- Do you work better while listening to music or do you work worse?
Learn your own bad habits and tendencies so you can fix them or just avoid them if you can. It’ll help you keep focused while you’re doing pretty much anything.
How do you work with laser focus?
Staying laser focused while you’re working will help increase your productivity. If you’re self-employed, this is key to growing your business. If you have a normal 9-5 job, your boss will love you for being an indispensable worker.
All the steps we mentioned in the section above will help you work with laser focus. But for the sake of being thorough, here’s a list of things you should avoid so that you can work with laser focus.
- You should avoid consuming excessive amounts of caffeine to help maintain your focus.
The stereotype of drinking gallons of coffee to increase your focus and productivity is wrong. Drinking too much coffee or energy drinks will make it hard to keep focused and throw the rest of your body out of whack as well.
Have you tried drinking more than 4 Red Bulls and then tried to keep your mind on a single thought? It’s impossible.
Keep your caffeine intake at a reasonable amount. Drink a big cup of coffee in the morning and then maybe have another one for lunch. But don’t drink more than two cups a day and try to avoid drinking any after about 3pm. Also, try to avoid drinking energy drinks altogether if you can.
- You should avoid trying to do too many things in one day.
A lot of people like making long to-do-lists for them to finish during their workday.
While making a to-do-list is a great way to get focused during the workday, you should try and keep your work to-do-list to 3 tasks a day. This sounds crazy but there’s logic behind this.
You should make a to-do-list of things that you need to do during the day. Let’s say you have 12 things on that list. Organise them in order of priority. Then take the top 3 most important things in that list and make them your top priority during the day.
Those 3 things that are the top priority during the day are what you need to get done and are what’s on your to-do-list. Everything else either gets done or doesn’t. But those 3 things are non-negotiable and need to be done.
A short to-do-list of only 3 items will keep you focused and will be more likely to be completed. A to-do-list that has 10 to 30 things will likely make your head spin and make you dread your workday.
- Plan your work week ahead of time.
This is a tall order because most people have work weeks that are absolute chaos.
But planning your work week ahead of time will help you focus during the workday by getting rid of some of the guesswork during the week.
Having even a rough idea of what you need to do during the week will help you stay focused. Instead of just feeling your way through the day or week, try to make a rough plan for the week ahead during the weekend.
Even having a simple goal like “finish this project” or “sell 20 units of this product” will help you keep focused during the week.
How do you study with laser focus?
Staying focused while studying is difficult for almost everyone. That being said, staying focused while you’re studying isn’t all that different from staying focused while you’re working.
Follow the main section on how to focus above and you’ll do great! But here’s some specific things you can do to get laser focus while studying.
- Make a list of topics you want to cover and focus on one of those topics per day.
While a lot of students like to think they can cram a whole semester’s syllabus into their heads in one day, that’s usually not the case. Instead, try to focus on getting one topic or subtopic of a subject into your head in a day.
Make a list of topics and subtopics that are in a subject you want to study then focus on studying it for one day.
If you feel that you can study another topic or subtopic during the day, go for it! But focusing on one topic or subtopic a day is a good way to stop yourself from feeling overwhelmed and stay focused.
- Set aside time to study aside from your school day.
A lot of students count their school day as time that they studied. Unfortunately, most students need time for self-study outside of school.
Staying focused during class during the long school day is almost impossible for most students and they won’t really grasp what’s being taught in class.
You should try to set aside about 2 hours outside of school per day for self-study. Try and make those hours during the time of the day when you focus best. Whether that’s at night or during the early morning, that’s up to you.
- Study every day.
Momentum is an amazing thing for achieving anything. So if you want to do well in your studies, make sure you study every day to keep up your momentum.
That doesn’t mean that you need to have 5 hour long study sessions every day. You can study for just 15 minutes to an hour during your off-days to keep up your momentum.
But showing up and getting something done every day will definitely keep your momentum up and make it easier to focus.
Why do you lose focus so easily?
If you find yourself losing focus easily, don’t feel too bad about it. It’s a problem that almost everyone is facing these days. Excessive use of smartphones and other tech like laptops has decreased the attention span of the average person by a noticeable amount.
While tech use isn’t completely to blame, social media and “fast media” like TikTok videos as well as YouTube Shorts have definitely played a part in this worrying trend.
Having yourself be laser-focused on all the tasks you need to do everyday is an almost guaranteed way for you to succeed at whatever it is that you want to do.
It takes time and practice to do consistently as well as effectively but it’s something that you need to do if you want to be as effective of a person as you can be.
Don’t be too bummed out if you can’t focus for 10 hours straight a day though. Even being able to stay laser-focused for an hour a day can do wonders for your life!