Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tips for focusing your attention

Tips for focusing your attention
By: Marissa Anteby

We are all pulled in so many different directions these days, it's challenging to stay on task. There are are a multitude of actions we're compelled to take in rapid succession. It seems like we're expected to keep pace with an ever-increasing bombardment of information and stimuli, and still manage to get our work done proficiently. However, multitasking may not be the ideal solution you've been led to believe it is. You really don't have to get swept up in the tide of excess. Instead of juggling a few jobs at one time, a better route is to stay committed to one project until it is nearly complete. Finishing touches can be handled later, but the bulk of your work should be behind you, before you move on to the next order of business. Completing the lion's share of the assignment will free up your mental energy. Then you can proceed with a clear head, without the previous project looming over you. Returning to edit your work or reconfiguring it, is a useful step that often gets overlooked when doing too many things simultaneously.

Here are three steps you can take to help eliminate distractions and keep you on point:

1- Prioritize:
Compile a list of things that need to get done, noting tentative deadlines.

Your frame of mind will become more goal orientated as you mentally break down the project's key stages and timeline for completion. Seeing a tangible list will help you better evaluate how to handle each phase of the project, dividing it in to more feasible components.

2- Say No: In order to say 'yes' to all that you want to accomplish, you are going to have to say 'no' to peripheral unrelated requests.

When someone asks a favor of you that might derail your train of thought or your plan of staying on schedule, politely decline. If another project comes your way, either don't take it on, delegate it, or find a way to fit it in without jeopardizing the integrity of the work you have already begun. Curb your urge to ruminate about the newest project before finalizing others.

3- Don't over-think: Once you're done, let your talents stand on their own.

Polishing what you've created is fine, but don't get caught up in having to re-do everything. Trust your initial instincts. This will save time and energy that can best be utilized on future work instead of drawing you back in to the past.

Training yourself to focus on what you're doing in the present will stretch your attention span and enable you to work more efficiently. Procrastination is just a thinly disguised form of avoiding the inevitable. So, get out of your own way, and enjoy the success that is awaiting you.


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