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The Enemies of Focus (And How to Defeat Them)

Whoever you are, what you do for a living, or how productive you currently are, everyone can benefit from learning how to find laser focus in daily life. But to find focus, you first need to get rid of what’s interfering with your concentration while working.

There are a few big enemies of focus. Each one impacts your ability to concentrate, which eventually strains your output and holds you back. Knowing the enemy is only half the battle. We’re also going to show you how to overcome each one so it doesn’t interfere with your daily efforts to get more done.

OVERTHINKING

One of the main reasons for procrastinating is overthinking. It consists of wondering what might go wrong, thinking of situations from the past and comparing them to your current one, and playing out scenarios in your head. You’re basically letting your mind wander instead of focusing on the activity in front of you and getting the task done.

Overthinking sabotages your focus as it takes you away from the present. This can present itself as rumination of the past or preoccupations for the future. These thoughts largely turn negative and divert your attention away from any tasks in front of you. The more these thoughts interfere, the further behind you get, creating stress over possibly missing deadlines or turning in subpar work, which then leads to more disruptive thoughts.

To beat that, practice mindfulness. Build the habit of noticing when your brain starts to wander away from your tasks and divert your attention to your work instead. You might keep a journal or notebook nearby to jot down your thoughts, keeping them as brief as possible. Once you let go of the worry, your brain is now free to focus and concentrate on the task at hand.

You are in control, you just need to be aware of what’s happening. Once your mind is calm and present, it can easily concentrate on the one important thing that you planned to do.

NOT KNOWING WHERE TO START

Oftentimes, we don’t find focus and get distracted instead simply because we don’t know where to start.

The solution to this is simple. Get better at planning.

Start by organizing your thoughts. To empty your mind, brainstorm anything you can think of related to the new project you’re about to begin. Then, see which of the ideas on the list are realistic and remove the rest. From there, break down everything into smaller steps so each seems doable and doesn’t overwhelm you.

Once you have a list of steps, focus only on the first three. Forget about anything else. Your goal is to include these three actions into your daily schedule. By breaking it down into these small, simple steps, you make them manageable and approachable. When the time comes to get to work, you’ll find focus as your mind will already be prepared to get this done knowing it’s just one easy step.

FEAR OF FAILURE

Fear of failure is an enemy not just of focus and productivity, but success in any aspect of life. It can make you lose hope, cause you to compare yourself to others, direct your focus on the negatives, and, in the worst of situations, lead you to give up.

To overcome this enemy, you can’t fight it. To truly overcome your fear, you have to learn to let it go.

Understand that failure is a stepping stone to success. Failure is only permanent if you give up. If you let it win. Usually, there’s a lesson in every failure. And even more common, whatever worst case scenario you’ve created in your head, typically isn’t that bad in reality.

There’s not a single person who succeeded without making a few mistakes. Be okay with that and know it’s part of the journey. This mindset will help you stay consistent with your goals, but also stop procrastinating, find focus more easily and get more done each day.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is addictive. 210 million people suffer from Internet and social media addition. Common side effects include the fear of missing out (when you check your newsfeed as often as possible knowing there’s always a new update to like, comment on or just read), information overload (consuming too much unnecessary information online is bad for your mental health), and procrastinating (using social media is one of the most common ways to kill some time these days, especially when there’s a long to-do list waiting).

All this is shortening your attention span and leads to being distracted.

Experts suggest you limiting social media usage. One helpful tool can be using an app to block social media sites on your phone for a certain period of the day, especially when you’re doing focused work. It’s also important to turn off your notifications and only allow yourself to log in and check what’s new 2-3 times a day.

Conclusion

Now that you know what the biggest roadblocks to finding focus are and how to eliminate each, you can start working on the first barrier to laser focus and overcome it as soon as possible.

If you want to learn how to tap into that ultra-productive flow state, watch this video:

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