I had unwavering focus.
Nothing could distract me.
What normally would take me weeks, I can get done in an hour.
My attention was so acute, I felt like I had the attentive power of Buddha himself.
This is how I am studying on the last day just before an important exam! 😅
If you were like most students you would know how the pressure feels like during those last dreaded days.
I’m able to focus completely, avoid any distractions and not procrastinate because I know the exams are around the corner & this is my last chance to study the text.
This applies not only students, but also writers, journalists, creative artists, business men & women.
Ask any working professional when is he or she most productive and they’ll often say something like “the day before my flight” or “the day before submitting the report” etc
After every exam I used to be amazed at how much the human mind can absorb if one gives their full attention to the task at hand.
And I thought to myself that had I studied this way throughout the semester, I wouldn’t be under so much pressure during the last days and would be able to perform even better.
So what did I learn from this?
It’s that when there’s a clear outcome, deadline along with a consequence of not completing it eliminates distraction and gets me to focus on the goal.
Focus = Clear Outcome + Deadline + Consequence
Therefore why not design these deadlines and consequences so that I can better pace my work to ease the pressure before the actual deadline?
Here are some ideas that I’ve tried that have helped me to focus using what I’ve learned.
Create Deadlines and Design Consequences to Increase Focus
The first part is to get clear on what your goal is, and then decide when it needs to get done by.
Here are some examples:
- Publish blog post by 1st July
- Exercise 3 days a week
It should have a clear outcome and date.
The next part is to design a consequence of not completing the task.
Here are some ideas:
Commit to your Goal publicly to your friends & family, and ask them to check up on you. For example you could put it up on your blog, Facebook wall or Twitter.
If you can, then use a service like Coach.me or Commit Action to hire an accountability coach to hold you accountable.
Commit financially. If you don’t complete it, then have some financial consequence to it. For example, give some money to your friend or coach, and give them permission in advance to donate it to a charity you don’t like, if you don’t stick to your goal.
Financial consequences is one of the most powerful motivators. It doesn’t have to be a big amount. Even a small amount works. It doesn’t have to dent your bank account, but it should pinch.
Reward Yourself. The consequences don’t always have to be negative. Boost your focus by designing rewards, so that you feel good about completing the goal and have something to look forward to.
It’s tough. But it works!
I gave a guarantee in the title of this blog post. I don’t use the word lightly.
This stuff really works.
But it takes bravery to set negative consequences, especially financial ones.
If you’re able to set it up. I guarantee you, you’re setting yourself up for focus & success.
Hi! I’m a Master Trainer in Getting Things Done (GTD) and a Holacracy Coach. I believe our work should be an expression of our most creative selves. I work with business owners and their teams to achieve stress-free productivity.
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