Justin Ricklefs


5 Ways I Attempt to Focus

In the age of endless distractions, the energy required to focus seems superhuman at times. At least it is for my monkey mind.

Take this short couple hundred word post for example. If you’ve ever written anything, you may relate. Here was an abbreviated version of the meandering that took place.

“I don’t have anything to say anyway. I’ll write tomorrow.”

Checks Slack. Nothing really new.

“You committed to it, go back through your notes, something will emerge. Nope, I’m out of ideas.”

Checks email. Checks texts. Checks Slack again. Checks email again.

“Maybe start a different project, you’ll be inspired to write later.”

That’s a lie.

Inspiration to write is as fleeting as the inspiration to randomly run a marathon after a big lunch.

Finally closes stuff down, opens the window to write. That blinking cursor stares back mockingly.

“Don’t click anywhere else. Type a word. Then another.”

Here are 5 simple ways I’ve worked to harness some attention and focus over the years:

  1. Reduce Phone Distractions – I took email, Slack, and all social media off my phone a couple years ago, and it’s been a game changer.
  2. Five Minutes of Silence – Ideally more, but I try to sit in silence at least five minutes every day (ideally in the morning). Call it prayer, meditation, mindfulness, or whatever you want, it works.
  3. Journal – there are really helpful practices and tools you can research. For me, I try and scribble down two full pages of thoughts, hopes, fears, prayers, ideas each morning. Most of it is nonsense, but it helps clear the cobwebs.
  4. Care for Yourself – it’s tough to be focused if you’re full of caffeine, sugar, and no sleep. I used to think the term self-care was for weirdos, now I guess, I’m weird.
  5. Block Time – ever missed a dentist appointment? Randomly skip a call with a client? Blow off that meeting with your boss because you felt like it? Doubtful. If you want to get something done, block it on your calendar. If you want to keep talking about someday maybe possibly doing it, then don’t.

How about you? How have you built a practice of focus?

Hurry, before I lose mine…

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