Focus is a (if not the) key to your productivity; and finding focus when you are working online can be a huge challenge!
The online world is teeming with information, interactions, and fascinating distractions. Indeed, many believe that our attention spans are diminished by the rapid changes in how we gather information – and the sheer volume of what we are sifting through! So, in your online work, do you find yourself challenged to maintain your focus?
Focus: Not a one-size-fits-all proposition …
I believe that finding focus, for each of us, varies from task to task. Optimizing your efficiency when posting on social networking sites involves a different kind of thinking (and focus) than does writing a blog post or article, or creating an info-product.
So the focus demanded by different tasks isn’t uniform by any means – and our individual abilities to maintain focus is also quite variable. (And in both of these areas, I would add, we can sharpen our skills and extend/deepen our engagement.)
Focus: Where to start …
So, the first step in finding your sweet spot involves observation. For a few days simply pay attention to the different online tasks you engage in and make note of when and how you get off track?
- Do you ‘lose time’ when you are posting on Facebook?
- Does your attention wander while you are working on your e-book?
- Are you spending more time responding to e-mails than you’d like?
- Do you feel like you jump from task to task and ultimately come away with the sense that you haven’t accomplished anything?
Well, you certainly aren’t alone in these feelings.
Focus: Where to go …
So, here are some ideas to consider for finding more focus – and enhancing your efficiency and effectiveness as you work online:
- Get yourself a timer! This is vital. It can be a simple egg timer – or a time tracking tool on your computer.
- Once you’ve found your “focus baseline” for different tasks, use your timer to chunk your time to fit each activity.
- Aim for shorter chunks of time to start – you can always extend as your focus improves.
- When your timer goes off, be sure to respect that boundary and stop that task.
- Take a brief break (time this, too) between tasks so that you have space to transition.
Focus: Your sweet spot …
The more you work with this, the more you’ll zero in on what works best for you! The key is to set and maintain clear time boundaries for yourself. The tasks that are most distracting may be ones that you want to make the briefest, to start. You can also plan them for times when you actually have a clear, concrete boundary – like checking Facebook before you have to leave to meet a friend for lunch.
As you set and maintain boundaries, your self trust grows and you are able to extend your focus more effectively and productively. That’s a sweet spot, indeed!
© Copyright 2013 Paula Eder, Ph.D.