Text from your friend. Text from your wife. App alarm is going off. News, have to check the news. Call mom. Get oil change. Finish project. Deadline! Deadline! Deadline!
Our brains are getting pulled in a million different directions and it makes it hard to focus on one thing at a time. A big problem to overcome is the screens in our life. You know, the screens on your desk, in your hands and now on your wrist. How can you ever escape them?
The problem isn’t really the screens though, it is the stimuli that is within them. It is the app notifications and loops that we train our brains to continuously run through, thinking they make our life easier. Your brain LOVES stimulation.
Society to Blame?
Unfortunately, society can not be blamed for your lack of productivity. Everyones brain needs to be worked out and trained. Either society is training your brain or you are. You must never forget one simple fact: You have complete control over your own brain… if you want to.
If you want to find out what modern entertainment is doing to your brain than read the book Hooked. It breaks down exactly how modern developers get your addicted to applications. Powerful knowledge.
Here’s How to Focus Without Meds
A great deal of focus is your environment or “productivity setup”. Many of us have surroundings that make it easy for us to jump from one thing to the next. Our brains love this novelty.
How many tabs do you have open? Most people hop from one thing to the next every minute and finishing is unbearable.
Become a Finisher
In order to become a finisher you must ask your self: What is the one most important thing to focus on right now?
Once you know the answer to this than you simply close out all tabs, applications or distractions and focus on that one thing. This is assuming your project is on a computer. It is very possible that you just want to focus on your kids without looking at the phone every 2 seconds. How do you do this? Leave your phone in another room, in the car or out of site. Take off your damn Apple Watch.
At first, your brain will hate you. It may even breakdown since it now has to deal with itself and not some endless loop an app runs it through all the time. After you go through the brain-hate phase, your brain will begin to love you once again. You will see people and talk to them. Your posture will get better. You will be a finisher.
Empty Your Brain
In the book Getting Things Done, David Allen talks about emptying everything into an inbox and then filing it appropriately. This is an important thing to do since there are thousands of thoughts hitting our brains every day. Some things sit up in the noggin for decades before we actually do anything with them. This stuff is so important to get out or it will weigh you down and actually cause disease.
After you read Getting Things Done you should try Toodledo. This is one of the best productivity applications i have come across and i have tried them all.
Simplify Your Life
Too often we complicate our lives by putting way too much on our plate. A lot times we start too many projects at once and our mind becomes exhausted. When the mind becomes exhausted or stressed it can be easy to turn to addictions that come in the form of medications, food, smoking and drinking. We are unconsciously killing ourselves because we no longer want to deal with the stress of doing so much.
Remember what i said earlier? You have complete control over your own brain… if you want to. This applies to your entire life. Cut out the garbage that you do not want. Sell or giveaway things that you do not use. Say no every once in a while. The book Essentialism as really helped me with this concept of simplification.
List out all the different projects that you are doing. Now, list them out in order of importance. Now eliminate anything that really is not essential.
A project does not have to be business related. It can be something with your family, friends, etc. Just by listing your activities out you will begin to take back control of your life. Control is the first step to focusing on one thing at a time.
Supplements to Focus
Once you get addicted to pharmaceuticals it is very hard to stop. The more stress you are taking on in your life the harder it is to avoid these drugs. I have always relied on a few supplements to gain a mental edge. Some people refer to such supplements as Nootropics. You need to be careful as everyones body reacts differently. You should consult a doctor before trying any of these.