checklist for mental focusPay attention. There will be a quiz.

I was walking my new pup the other day and something dawned on me. He is just learning the ropes as far as training goes and here’s what I noticed: He is very good learning and acting upon new commands as long as he is focused and not distracted. When we are in the house with no other distractions he is almost perfect with commands, but when we go outside there is so much going on that he is easily distracted. Here’s the key: focus on eliminating distractions. You are already focused. That is not the issue. Everyone is always focused on something, but is it the task at hand? Do you control your focus or do you let distractions control it for you?

Rather than trying to focus, I try to eliminate distractions. Now I schedule times for social media and stick with it. I don’t fool myself into thinking that I’m just going to check twitter or facebook for a minute and then resume my task. How many times have you blown 30 or more minutes when you didn’t plan to by checking social media? The same goes for checking email. There are plenty of external distractions. I’ve found that by not answering my phone every time it rings, I get a lot more done. I usually call people back right away but only when I decide to and I am at a good pause point or finishing point for the task at hand.

Then there are the internal distractions. You know, the ones that make you read the same sentence over and over again? You know, the ones that make you read the same sentence over and over again? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

I’ve found that the best way to cut down on, or eliminate external distractions is to keep a list. That’s right, a good old fashioned list. You do still remember how to use a pen and paper right? I keep a daily, weekly, monthly and long term to do list. I have several different electronic devices that I could use, but I prefer to check things off of a real list, with a real pen. It gives me a better sense of accomplishment than clicking a box that makes a check mark or hitting delete. Sometimes if it was a particularly difficult task I enjoy not only checking it off the list but also scratching it out forcefully.

If it’s not on the list, I don’t think about it. I used to think multitasking was a great skill of mine. In reality multitasking allowed me to get a lot of things started, very little finished, and most of what did get finished was half @$$ed. I always start my day making a list of things to get done that day. The first thing that goes on my list is, “make a list of things to get done today.” By doing this I always get at least one thing accomplished each day.

Now for the quiz:

by Matt Fortenbery
CEO Total Printing Solution

One thought on “Focus

  1. Good blog. It’s so easy to waste time being on the Internet, watching TV, or daydreaming, and not even realize it! Those wasted moments can be turned into profit with a little (or a lot) self-discipline. Getting a reminder about that is never a waste of time. Thanks!

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