As a business owner, finding the opportunity to fully give yourself over to a task feels like a rarity.
About as frequent as the unicorn passing under a rainbow on its way to meet the leprechaun and share the pot of gold.
There’s always something to do and lots of balls up in the air – answer an email, tweak a blog post, record a video.
And what so many of us find ourselves doing is giving each task half our attention. Which in turn makes it seems like it takes twice as long and is only a fraction as good as we imagined.
The problem – lack of focus to pour ourselves into what is directly in front of us and block out distractions.
The ability to be present with the action we’re taking seems elusive.
Over the years, I’ve developed one method for cultivating periods of deep concentration in all areas of my life.
It isn’t a fancy or complex strategy either.
It really is as simple as a timer.
Yep, you read that right. Break out your old kitchen timer!
When you have a specific task you want to get done and desire to be completely dialed in, think about how long you’d like to spend working on the task.
Then, set your timer and forget about everything else, which includes not checking email (let alone responding), going on social media, or even switching your laundry. This time is in service to moving forward in your task goal.
Give yourself full permission to plunge right in. Because remember, just like an alarm in the morning, your timer will always give you the alert that you need.
Plus, you can use this tip when you have an appointment immediately following your focus session.
For example, when I have a client call, I typically have my timer start running about an hour before the start, since I’ve found that one hour block works best for me. I’m then saved from continually checking the clock to make sure I’m not late.
I’ve found that this approach also helps me to take breaks throughout the day so that I can eliminate the occurrences of burnout as much as possible.
Because if you’re anything like me, time melts away when you’re in the state of flow. So I need to regulate my work time and make sure I show up on time for my clients.
My timer has evolved in recent years, upgrading from a KitchenAid timer to a timer app on my computer then to the clock app on my phone now to my Apple watch.
No matter the timekeeper, all have served the same purpose – to allow me to bring periods of concentration into a world that frequently feels noisy and needy.
How do you cultivate focus in your daily work? Share your tip below. Or try my hack and let me know how it goes!
Photo by Crew on Unsplash