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September 12, 2013

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Focus Produces Results

William James, father of American psychoanalytic theory, was once asked how long can the mind hold a single thought. He replied, about four seconds.

Four seconds.shutterstock_82054228

That means that every minute, your attention is wandering 15 times!

The ability to focus is a critical factor in being positively productive and getting things done.  Focus can be learned, and here are some tips to help you reign in that wild mind and harness it for greater productivity.

  • Get enough sleep. It’s hard to focus when your brain is tired.
  • Take breaks every 60 – 90 minutes. Get away from what you are doing. You will return to the task refreshed and have more focus than if you force yourself to push forward without letting up.
  • Stop multi-tasking. Doing more than one activity at a time actually makes you less productive since your focus is fractured.
  • Manage interruptions. Don’t break focus to answer the phone, check e-mail, or visit with people. As I teach in my GO Program, when you are interrupted, it can take up to 20 minutes for your focus to return to what it was before the interruption. Ask if the interruption is worth a lost 20 minutes.
  • Practice focusing. Set an alert for 30 minutes and commit to remaining focused on the task at hand for that entire time. You will be amazed at how much you accomplish with a period of solid concentration.

Focus takes practice. Use these tools and improve your ability to be positively productive.

Next week in the blog, discover how you can use focus to find an extra hour each week!

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