How to Concentrate on Your Task when Your Brain Wants to Focus on Other Things
Tuesday May 2, 2023
Does your brain ever resist you when you need to focus on a task and get it done?
It can be so frustrating – especially when it's a task that can't be postponed without consequences, and you're not in a position to delegate it. Procrastination can be incredibly tempting, but it can also be costly, so it's important to have tools you can use to improve your focus and concentration and get the job done.
Here are a few tricks I use to overcome procrastination, distraction, and overwhelm:
You don't need to use all of these strategies; just pick the ones that work best for your unique brain and situation.
1. Remind myself WHY I’m doing this task.
If I complete this task successfully, what is the reward for me and the other people who are impacted by my work? Will I make more money, have more free time, or have a positive impact on someone else's life?
Take a moment to remind yourself of the good things that will happen as a result of you completing this task, and really picture and FEEL them.
When I believe that something great will happen because I completed this task, I’m more motivated to do it. Hopefully this excercise will boost your motivation, too!
2. Remind yourself that NOW might be the easiest time for you to complete this task.
If you have a busy week ahead of you, and you don't get this task done in the time you allotted for it today, you might have to squeeze it into another day whose schedule is already full. If you add this task to another day, that day will be harder, but if you get it done now, the rest of the week will be easier.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Don't focus on how procrastination will make your life harder. When your focus is on life getting harder, you'll probably just stress yourself into procrastinating even more!
Instead, focus on how your future days will be EASIER because you got this task off your plate now.
3. Remind yourself that you're creating free time.
It can be easy to think of necessary tasks that you don't enoy as things that take up time you could've otherwise spent doing something more enjoyable. But let's try reframing it: if you get this task done quickly, you'll be creating free time by getting it done, and you'll enable yourself to enjoy that free time more fully, because you'll no longer have this task hanging over your head.
4. Trick your mind into procrastinating productively.
Sometimes I tell myself that if I don’t do the task now, I have to do another, more daunting or less enjoyable task instead. By doing this, I trick my brain into procrastinating on the harder task by doing the easier thing I was planning to do all along.
5. Tell yourself it'll be easy.
Sometimes we procrastinate because we think a task will be hard, but once we start working on it, it turns out to be a lot more manageable than we thought.
If I tell myself a task will be hard, I can end up resisting, stressing, and procrastinating, thus making it harder and turning my fear into a self-fulfilling prophecy. But if I tell myself it’ll be easy, my mind is less likely to resist out of self-preservation, and thus less likely to drag the task out and make it seem harder than it had to be.
And even if the task DOES end up being hard, telling yourself it's easy can take some of the stress out of the work, and increase your confidence in your ability to get it done.
6. Break it down into little steps.
When a task is a huge, looming, amorphous blob in your mind, it can be hard to know where to start, so you might end up not starting at all. But if you take a few minutes to look over the task, and write a list of the necessary steps in the order in which they need to be taken, suddenly that ominous mountain becomes a series of small, manageable actions.
For example, “create a webinar” can seem like a big, daunting job, but “write the intro for your webinar” is a relatively simple thing that can be done in just a few minutes.
So break it down into steps that are too small to be intimidating.
7. Switch this task's place with another one.
I'm writing this blog post right now, instead of later this afternoon, because I REALLY don't feel like working on the task I was planning to do in this time slot. That doesn't mean I won't complete that other task today; it just means the time I allotted for it, and the time I allotted for working on this blog post, are getting swapped.
That way, both tasks will get done today, but I won't have to fight myself as much to make it happen.
I hope those strategies help you to overcome procrastination, improve your concentration, focus on your work, and get the job done!
Which strategy do you think will be the best fit for you? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!
P.S. If you want to free up more time to work on your business by serving more clients in fewer hours, check out my formula for turning your expertise into a group coaching program, so you can serve as many people as you want, in less time than you'd spend serving each of them one at a time!
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