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The Power of Focus

The brain is always seeking out what’s new and what’s next, but we get better results when we focus. Focus improves efficiency and growth. Identifying what’s important and what’s not will also help determine what to focus on. Focus gives you the clear and sharply defined condition of an image, situation, task etc.

In the 16th century, there was a legal Chinese punishment called ‘The Chinese Water Torture’, where a continuous stream of dripping water strikes the same spot on the offender’s forehead for a prolonged period of time, cracking them up emotionally and leading to death in some cases. An investigation on the effectiveness of this torture found that it was effective, capable of causing so much damage even in a controlled environment.

That is what focus does. A drop of water would not have made an impact, but the consistency ensures each drop leaves the spot worse than it was.

As at the time of writing this article, 420 hours have passed from a total of 8760 hours of the New Year. If Les Brown’s quote expressed thus ‘What you focus on the longest becomes the strongest’ is anything to go by, then what you have focused on the most in the first 420 hours might turn out to be where you get the best results so far.

Staying focused can be tough sometimes due to several distractions and dwindling attention span. When you need to focus without distractions, here’s what to do:

Focus on what really matters

Identify what is worthy of your energy and what is not. Ask yourself, for optimum results, what really requires your focus today, tomorrow, this week, this month, this year? Make a plan and prioritize. Identify when you function better and take advantage.

Don’t let the tough tasks build up

Typically, we tend to take care of the less tedious tasks before we move on to the tough ones.  As you continue your tasks, your energy level drops, and sometimes, so does your productivity.

If the task requires creativity and more concentration, carry it out before you move to the less difficult ones.

Manage distractions

The same way you ask what needs your attention, you need to ask and understand what is worthy of your distraction. While at work, you can schedule a time to attend to some of these necessary distractions. Eg. Checking your phone etc.

Pause to replay

Sometimes you need to take a few minutes break from everything to re-energize your brain. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task.

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