There are a lot of ways for you to lose focus these days. I read sad stories about people wasting hours on Twitter and Facebook in the name of staying connected. Others stop every few minutes to check their feeds for the latest-and-greatest news. We’re slowly realizing our multitasking, attention-drained ways are not great for us. There are even applications geared toward helping you focus. You can use an /etc/hosts hack to block sites you frequent, something I’ve used in the past. But I’d like to take a few minutes to tell you about two surefire ways to become more productive both at work and home.
First up is self-control. Self-control doesn’t get much airtime these days. It ranks right up there with personal responsibility and doing the right thing. We tend not to like these terms because they place emphasis on our ability, and oftentimes we fail. Self-control in getting things done is convincing yourself to not look for distractions when you reach a tough spot. Push through those difficult spots and finish victoriously.
Focus is another key ingredient for productivity. It’s self-control’s close relative. What good is focus if it’s being used on the wrong thing, or worse, some form of time-waster? Focus means turning off the distractions, hopefully without the aid of a tool. It means employing self-control. It’s the tunnel vision needed for getting things done, on-time with excellence.
Knocking out a stringent todo list is a piece of cake when wielding these two tools. The best part is they’re free, but they’re not cheap. We are creatures of habit, and breaking a habit is hard to do. Ask anyone who’s ever tried to quit smoking—my uncle is on his fifth try. Maybe you’re used to browsing the internet on the clock, or maybe worse. Maybe you’ve convinced yourself it’s normal. You may need some sort of hack in place to rewire your brain. I did. Ultimately it’s on you. You’ve got to want to be productive. You’ve got to want to create. It will start when you see the joys of accomplishing something rather than absorbing others’ creations.