How I Changed My Daily Habits To Boost Focus and Productivity
By Julie Scaria
People always aspire to become successful in life. They have lots of ideas and dreams about being successful and you might be one among them. There are so many different kinds of skills that you wish to learn but often you end up feeling exhausted with merely the thoughts. This leads to procrastination!
Being focused and productive are the essential key elements to be successful but many people struggle to acquire these qualities. For a very long time, I had to deal with my issues of lacking productivity and focus. While I was discovering the ways to overcome these problems, I decided to share my insights via this article.
Like most of you, I also came across a lot of articles and videos that suggested to follow certain steps. I wouldn’t deny that few of them were actually good pointers to start with but I failed to follow them. It is easy to read and forget but trust me if you start following this diligently, it is going to change your life drastically. It helped me to change mine!
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” — Aristotle
Habit 1: Follow a Morning Routine
Establishing a good morning routine is very important. How you start your morning influences the tone for the rest of the day. Lousy, unmotivated and unproductive mornings would result in unmotivated and unproductive days. Therefore, it is important to consciously make an effort to getting up early in the morning.
This habit of being an early riser will help you to be more productive & focused, accomplish all your goals in the early half of the day as during this time your brain is the least cluttered.
There are 24 hrs in a day but you will be surprised to know your productivity depends on how you spend your first few hours of the day. You need to spend some time for yourself without any distractions either by scheduling your week, some form of exercise/yoga, a good playlist of energized and positive music such that you create positive vibes around you.
Habit 2: Stay away from your Smartphone
‘61% people check their phones within 5 minutes of waking up’
Do you count yourself amongst them too?
Looking at your phone, first thing in the morning hijacks your morning routine. When you start your day scrolling across various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and various others, it makes you very reactive in behavior. Instantly, our human brain starts expressing FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) emotions.
You feel like you have to catch up with all the missed out updates. You start comparing your life with others and wait eagerly for all the likes and comments published across your posts. Those bright and gleaming notifications on your phone screaming for attention cause more damage than anything else.
Recent studies have shown that people are majorly spending time checking their social media channels and there is a link of people showing depressive symptoms due to the comparison between lifestyles which leads them to anxiety and sense of loneliness. Hence, Smartphones are the major cause of distractions and are the biggest productivity killers. STAY AWAY!
Habit 3: Meditate/Exercise
Meditation or any kind of physical exercise helps increase focus and concentration and improves the overall quality of life. When you exercise, you are increasing blood flow to your brain. One way exercising can help productivity is by increasing alertness. This would help prioritize the work & solve complex situations. Practicing intense exercise releases hormones such as endorphins and serotonin that helps to enhance positive emotions. Studies have shown a gradual decrease in people suffering from depression and anxiety.
Habit 4: Read Books (A Lot)
These days there is so much information to consume online — blogs, news, posts, tweets that it becomes difficult to stay focused as these mediums are constantly competing for your attention but reading a book is different as it gives you the freedom from hyperlinks, ads, emails, chats or any other notifications. Reading a book requires ‘undivided focus’. This uninterrupted way of reading is informative, immersive and rich in emotional and moral complexity. This is a skill hard to develop but allows for better reading comprehension and greater concentration.
Personally, this was one of the biggest challenges I faced. I always aspired to be an avid reader, knowing the benefits it had but I failed to do so for many years. Since you are reading this article, I believe you are looking out for answers to make positive changes in your life, if so, I would recommend you to take this step very seriously. This habit will be helpful to develop your ability to focus.
This focus you get from ‘reading’ is especially important for jobs that require long periods of reading text. This habit will also help you to filter out the junk and process only the useful information.
Habit 5: Start maintaining a Journal
“Journaling diminishes chaos”
In this busy world, we all get occupied by random thoughts that distract us while we are at work. There will be so many ideas coming in and out of our brain that our mind feels overwhelmed trying to manage and process these thoughts. This leads to lack of clarity & people find it difficult to execute appropriate action to achieve their goals and hence end up procrastinating.
Maintaining a journal will help you to focus on your priorities, accomplish all important tasks and clarify thoughts.
This 10 –15 minute activity makes a lot of difference in terms of improving productivity. Journaling helps to create to-do lists/ goals on a daily or weekly basis. Based on the urgency of work, you can prioritize your work and make sure you complete your tasks. This provides powerful affirmation to see your progress and achieve your goals.
Habit 6: Take Regular Breaks
This habit might sound a little weird to you at first but this strategy is really helpful. You cannot work like a machine. To be productive, you require regular short or long breaks depending on the tasks you have achieved.
Short breaks would involve listening to music, going for a walk or diverting your mind by doing some other household chores. Whereas long breaks would involve watching TV shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Yes, you heard it right!
Why I mentioned this is because it is important to understand the power of content consumption. Watching a TV show doesn’t mean you pick anything random because even this will mark your path towards success. You need to view shows rich in content. At least this is better than being stuck with your smartphones. There are so many things you learn from a certain TV show which I’m sure you wouldn’t be spending time browsing to read about. (* This is entirely my opinion, this could differ for someone else)
Few TV shows like SUITS, Good Wife and Designated Survivors taught me so many different aspects of law, politics and general human behaviour. Even though these are not one of the most critically acclaimed shows but it allows us to learn so much more, which I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. In fact, taking a small step is more doable than forcing yourself with a really serious informative content.
Habit 7: Review your Day
Once you’ve followed these steps and plan to retire for the day, sit back and review your entire day. You will feel happy and satisfied once you realize that your thoughts had better clarity and you were able to be more productive than you had imagined. Also, check the loopholes which failed you to complete a certain task you had in mind and start afresh with a new set of goals you want to achieve for the next day.
Hope this article helps you to develop these habits which once brought into practice can do wonders and certainly lead you to the path of success.
You need to implement these habits in order to see the results you desire! It is difficult to begin but once you make up your mind, the path ahead is very bright.
All the Best!
- Julie Scaria