I admit it. I constantly get stuck on stupid on a dangerously high basis.
I still multitask. I let myself get preoccupied with stuff that has nothing to do with me, other than to satisfy my nosey-ness. I use someone else's name instead of theirs in conversation, or when providing content, such as this to a specific person. I try to squirm my way out of it, maybe say, it's a Freudian slip. But, most times if I'm honest, I'm just not paying attention. If you have ever been a victim of this by my hand, let me say to you right now, that I am deeply sorry.
Thing is, as bad as this seems, it was a lot worse many years ago. I was a total trainwreck when it came to focusing on one thing. I was always wrapped up in "sidebars" about one thing or another. I was easily distracted by nothing-things, if that makes any sense. It got so bad once, that I totally missed a crucial deadline that was totally easy to get done.
The collateral damage? Other folks in my team that counted on me, didn't get their work done either. I, thanks to my lack of attention, created a backlog that took an additional week to correct; a week we didn't really have. Fortunately, I got a reprieve, and was able to get the part of my project done a in very quick time. But, the damage was done; I no longer had the faith and confidence of my boss, and I lost a shot at a much needed promotion.
As a result of this, I started to research different methods that I could implement immediately to reduce distractions when I'm working on important things, such as providing you with actionable information. And I like to share some the things I found that helped me; maybe they can help you as well...
The first key to maintaining better focus, is to focus on one thing and one thing alone. This would seem like the logical step wouldn't it? But as I've so eloquently pointed out, this is not always the case. If you want to be sure that you're going to do something right, then that is what you should be thinking about. You have to slowly force your mind into ensuring that there are no peripherals, no distractions of any kind that are going to take you way from the goal that you have in your mind.
Next thing I suggest in your quest to maintain a singular focus, is to consider using noise canceling headphones or earplugs. I can speak only for myself, but I know that when I'm in my regular day job environment, it is often very hard for me to maintain my focus on the task that at hand; and that is primarily because there is so much conversation going on around me – some of it okay, most of it not okay, but with all that noise feeding into my head it's hard for me to stay on track with what I have to do. And then mistakes happen. The best ways I find to keep those mistakes from happening is by shutting out that noise.
Stop looking at your phone. I know this is gonna be tough one. Heck, it's tough for me, and some of you already know I'm not a big fan of these smart phones. But then again, my hate for these phones actually makes it easier for me to not be as wrapped up in using mine constantly for bs. I know is not easy but I really really feel that if you invest a few minutes of your day just not texting, you may find at some point that you're comfortable enough to get through a day where you not having to constantly communicate with somebody by plinking way on your smart phone. And if we're really honest people, if you need to talk to somebody, why not make a call and get it over with?
The next thing that you can try is meditation. Obviously you don't do this while you're trying to work, but taking time out of your day, which I know requires maximum effort on your part, can definitely yield major results. Primary reason for that is because meditation in and of itself requires high level of concentration. According to a study at the University of North Carolina people who meditate for 20 minutes a day turned out to perform much better than folks who did not.
Exercise more – I know a lot of you have never seen me before, but if you ever get a chance and see some of my videos, you probably noticed that I'm on the portly side. I do not take care of myself as I should. And that's why I slowly invested in doing little things; I do jumping jacks now, I'll march in place for 5 to 10 minutes, and most definitely get up every hour or so for my computer should just do some bending, stretching, or even just walking to the store to pick up a bottle of water, or something along those lines.
These are the baby steps for me, me having been in the military, and having gone through significantly more strenuous processes. But it does show some truth; and that is that exercise helps to condition the brain to you working in singular tasks; to do a push-up properly, you can't be thinking about other things, otherwise you won't ever do it right, and get maximum value out of it. Just something to think about.
So now these are just a small sampling of things that we can do to get our focus back on track. These obviously are not the be all to end all cure-all's, and they may not be easy to implement at first, but as we start to slowly implement the simple to-do tasks in our daily lives, we begin to find our productivity levels increase significantly. And there's less time for stupid in our lives.