Wednesday, October 17, 2012

How To Focus Your Attention

Hi friends, it has been a while. My study life consumes my attention so much. For the past several months, my classmates start to ask me why do you read so fast? why do you finish your assignment so fast? do you have particular training to do this and that?

I honestly do not know how to answer it because I thought it is very normal. I do not do everything in a rush without put my attention and dedication to details and quality. No, it is not me. Since I was a kid, I only push my self to do everything fast but in a very good quality.

Thus, it needs practice. I believe so.

Let me give you a brief explanation of the nature of my personality. I am easily distracted person. My parents were quite struggling to handle me while I keep my attention to everything, everywhere, and everyone. But hey, they trained me to make a priority and to focus on the first thing first in orderly manner. However, it doesn't mean that I can abandon the rest of the points. I need to cover all of the things but keep my attention to the most important one.

After years of living my life like this, all I want to do right now is just to share how you keep or stick your focus on the most important thing first. Keeping your attention on what is most important in your life is one of the most essential ingredients if you want to be able to stick with your goals, achieve what you want to achieve every single day, appreciate what you have in your life, and of course, it is very clear to see how you can use your time here in the best way.

Like all of the inspirational speakers have said, this is something that is of course easier said than done. It is easy to get distracted way too much and to feel overwhelmed, stressed out and spread out too thin. But with some limits, with some barriers that keep much of the daily clutter out you can become sharp and focused once again.

So, I hope I can share my story or my tips to start with the new habit to establish and to remind yourself of a very few helpful habits.

You need an agenda and a post it. Write down your top 4 priorities and post them where you see them every day. 

To keep your attention in the right place it is essential to remind yourself every day of what is truly most important. So, what is the most important for you this year? this semester? this month? today? An important project at school or at work? How about your family? How about meeting friends to improve your social life? How about your hobby? Your blog, photography, piano, and so forth?

Think about it and reduce what is important in your life to the top 4 most important priorities. Write those four things down and post them in your workspace or on your bathroom mirror or on your bedside table. For me, I love to put everything in my agenda as I live and being raised by adopting Dutch culture, my Mom always put agenda as our Holy Bible. I won't miss every single thing if it is well-written in my Agenda.

For example:
Day 1
1. Assignment A (gathering case studies, collecting references, etc)
2. Assignment B (finishing the conclusion, preparing the slides, etc)
3. Take a look at my niece (preparing handmade card for her 1st month celebration)
4. Go shopping to Bugis for cheap summer dress

Work in a no-distractions zone.

When you work then do not work in a place filled with unnecessary distractions. Instead take a few minutes and make a plan. I cannot work in noisy environment, too many people, coffee shop, even in library. I can work and focus on my assignment in completely isolated room, my bed room.

I always ask the 3 most common distractions that keep me from doing my work in a focused way and figure it out on how I can prevent those things from distracting me. Even in my isolated room, I can open Facebook, check my Plurk, post status in Twitter, update this blog, strolling through Pinterest for another handicraft ideas, searching for another inspiration for my painting in Tumblr. See? Even my laptop can provide the world to me.

However, I have several tips for that. I usually shut the door of my bedroom. I shut down all the instant messaging programs and put my cell phone in silent mode for an hour or more at a time. But the most important thing is I need to commit myself not to check those platforms. I always think that I can reward myself later after I finish all of the assignments. At the most I can do, I always work with I have and what I can work with it to make work much more distraction free.

Limit your input.

Reduce the number of blogs, newsletters, magazines, book clubs, podcasts, twitterers, etc. you are subscribed too. Just keep the ones you are really getting something out of :)

Limit your time in your favorite place online. 

I love my blog, I love (even) just to stare at it and do nothing and I believe many of us have favorite places where we get stuck online. What I can suggest is just limit your time, consider your duty, consider your team members, do the best you can. You cannot always post everything to the forum or hope that you're the active contributors. What those are for, if you procrastinate your group work assignments? You cannot demand people will praise you all the time for becoming the most active people in online, sometimes you have to show what you have done and stop chirping.

Take a media and internet free day (or weekend). 

I usually take at least one day during my Sunday off from using the internet, reading the paper, checking my email and so on. That break helps me to better focus my attention on the most important. I usually do my handicraft or playing my piano. It helps me to set clear limits between the work-hours and the home-hours and it helps me to relax a bit and recharge myself so I can focus on the upcoming week.

Have an awesome day, everyone. Hope it is a useful reading.