Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How to Stay Focused on your Goals on your way to Success

If there is one trait that I should have, I would choose the ability to stay “focused”. This is very important to attain success and happiness in your life. Without focus, the road to success will be as blurred as the fog and as dark as the mud. Lack of focus makes you become an inefficient team player, a slow problem solver and a weak person playing in the field.
Attaining focus is NOT simple; it requires a lot of things that involves sacrifice, commitment, patience and work endurance. Below are some tips that you can try (I personally tried this myself and they are indeed very effective):

Tip#1: STRICTLY Do ONLY ONE thing at a TIME – if someone advises you to do multi-tasking; they are just wasting your time. Don’t believe in them. A human person can only execute one job at a time at its best effort. Yes a multi-tasking can make you do many things at the same time BUT YOU CAN ONLY EXAMINE, ANALYZE, INVESTIGATE AND STUDY ONE ASPECT OF THE TASKONE AT A TIME.
If you do not believe me, try to do many things at once, and you will see that you can only examine them one at a time (it is because you have one pair of eyes, one pair of hands and one brain).
So in reality- multi-tasking is an enemy of focus, it distracts you from examining a certain task with details. Examining task in details are key ingredients to quality, faster work and outstanding job.

how to stay on focus

Tip#2: Write your tasks in a piece of paper and TRACK the progress on a daily basis- Why? It is very hard to focus when you are not tracking your progress. You should know the answers to the following questions:
a.) What work or tasks that are needed to complete this project?
b.) What tasks that is already completed?
c.) What are my scheduled tasks for today, tomorrow and for the coming days/weeks?
d.) Am I behind on schedule or on-target for this project?
If you cannot answer the above questions because you are not listing your tasks, you are not scheduling your work or not tracking progress; then it is impossible to stay on focus.

Tip#3: Motivate yourself – Motivation plays a strong role in focus. For example, a student who is not motivated in his/her studies will also find it very hard to focus on studying the lessons. Find something that can motivate you in doing the work. May it be inspiration, reason to live, challenge, happiness, etc. As long as it is positive, it will keep you motivating and help you to stay o focus. You can read my tips on how to stay motivated on accomplishing your goals.

Tip#4: Stay away from distractions – have you tried working on a very special, difficult and time-consuming project one night and then the neighbor is playing their very loud music? Situations like this can be VERY hard to stay focused, because the noise itself is very distracting to your concentration when working the project. Look for some quite place where you can concentrate working.

Tip#5: Drink coffee or tea before starting a work – these beverages contain caffeine which helps you to become mentally and physically active when working. This will take out the sluggishness and a little sleepiness (if you are too sleepy; you need to sleep before you should work). If you are concerned about the amount of caffeine, then drink green tea because it has lower amount of caffeine.

Tip#6: Know your attention span carefully – some people can work for 8 straight hours without stopping or resting. But some people can only work for as long as one hour and then feel exhausted. Attention span to your work varies with different people. You should know your attention span and take breaks between it (like coffee breaks). It is ok to have that short attention span as long as you have diverted 100% of your effort in completing the work (of course also following the other tips mentioned above such as doing one task at a time). 

For example my attention span is only 3 hours. So after working 3 straight hours, I should take a break. Then go back to work after one hour (as long as you feel you are re-energized to back to work) to work for another 3 hours non-stop 100% concentration. If you break your attention span and continue working non-stop, you will become bored and exhausted. Then it will be very hard to stay on focused.


  1. Hi Jeanine,

    A recent study - http://medicalxpress.com/news/2011-08-fast-thought-perception-limited-neocortical.html - backs up Tip #1

    It seems that our perception and response rates are limited by a shared bottleneck.

    So the more things you try to absorb or produce at the same time the worse you'll end up doing them.

  2. It seems that our perception and response rates are limited by a shared bottleneck.

    So the more things you try to absorb or produce at the same time the worse you'll end up doing them.
    Translated into Cebuano Language:
    Kini Mao rag ang atong gidaghanon sa salabutan may kinutuban bahin sa kakulian.

    sa maong paagiha ang labaw pa sa tanan nga ikaw mo sulay hantod masupsup o dile ba mapadayag diha ang mismong panahon ang mas daotan kanimong sangkoanan kawang buhat nila.