Bloggers, There’s More To Focusing Than You Think

By Guest Author

Focus is a hot topic. Those who do it are always talking about how great it is. Focus helps us be productive, isolate problems, and change aspects of our lives.

There is, however, a huge problem I’ve noticed with the topic of focus as I perused the blogosphere. Nobody tells us what it means to focus and exactly how to do it.

I thought I was focusing several minutes ago, but it was a form of faux focusing. This made me realize that I had never clarified what focus entailed. Multi-tasking online is what I was doing, and it was under the label of focusing.

Bloggers often have a tough time focusing. Why? The internet is a very challenging medium to focus in. Endless entertainment and news’ websites/blogs are available to you at any instant. In addition, research sessions can turn into hours of jumping from article to article.

There isn’t anything wrong with that – if you’re not trying to be productive. But if you are trying to be productive, you have to focus for real, and this is how you do it.

1. Set Boundaries

This is especially crucial online, but applies to real life as well. The reason we need boundaries is because we live in the Age Of Distractionâ„¢. Very few of us spend time plowing the field and sowing seeds anymore. In that situation, there is little else to do besides the task at hand.

In the 21st century – we have phones sending us text notifications and emails, our Xbox 360s are beckoning to be played, the kitchen cabinet is tempting us with snacks, and the World Wide Web is stealing our attention with millions of websites containing information on anything we can imagine.

But boundaries can “free us” from these distractions that draw us in with gravity-like consistency.

Setting a boundary is drawing a line that prevents you from engaging in an activity aside from your intentionally-chosen focal point.

It is an extremely simple and powerful tool to use – and simple, powerful tools are the best!

  • I will not open up an unrelated tab until I finish this article
  • I will not eat anything until I finish this article
  • I will not consider starting any other articles until this one is finished
  • I will not answer any notifications from my phone until I finish this article

Those four bullet points alone have convinced me that I’m going to finish this article soon. You can (and should) apply this to any area of your life. It is a critical component of focus.

2. Engage in Specific Actionable Focusing

Earlier – in addition to lacking boundaries – I failed to focus on one actionable item. I set a goal that was too vague and had too many possible actions. The goal was to write two guest posts today.

Why doesn’t that work? Simply, I can only write one post at a time.

But even saying I’m going to write one guest post is not narrow enough. Writing one guest post is still a multiple step project. The initial action is to open up WordPress and start writing, and I immediately made progress when I focused on doing that. After that, it’s editing and revising, choosing a host, and sending an email.

3. Master The Refocus

Humans lose focus often. Very often. Our attention span as a race seems to always be decreasing. I think that Ritalin – used to treat Attention Deficit Disorder – will soon be so common that it will end up in the candy aisle.

Focusing is more accurately called “refocusing.” I nearly lost my focus by wondering about the guest post policy for a couple of different blogs. When I did that, I was tempted to break one of the boundaries I set in step one. Boundaries are helpful reminders to refocus.

We are not wired like cameras – which stay focused once set. We must manually refocus, constantly.

This shows how language can be problematic. When someone says they are skilled at focusing, they probably mean that they are skilled at refocusing as well. But someone who hears that and wants to focus might not understand that they also need to refocus.

Deciding to refocus is a small detail that can make a big difference. Just being aware of the need to refocus keeps my mind alert and responsive when I begin to lose my focus and drift away. I have refocused many times in this writing.

Conclusion – How To Focus

  1. Set boundaries to prevent easy focal escapes and poor excuses
  2. Concentrate on single action-oriented tasks to eliminate unproductive multi-tasking
  3. Master the refocus to withstand distractions

I hope that you see the merit in what I’m telling you, because if you implement this advice, it will change your life. You’ll get more things done and your work will be high quality because of the power of true focusing (and refocusing, of course). This works.

About the Author: Stephen Guise focuses on writing mind-opening content at Deep Existence (where deep thinking is in style).



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8 Responses to “Bloggers, There’s More To Focusing Than You Think”

  • Derek

    A good post that if heeded, could be a greatly enhance one’s life in may ways…

    As a therapist and Zen practitioner, I always found the biggest stress inducers always involved a lack of focus. Over the years, I have recommend daily zazen (meditation) to most of my clients. At first the practice would seem to accentuate problems with concentration and stilling the mind, but all those who continued the practice would find a gradual enhancement in their ability to focus on any task in hand. This would come from the challenge of sitting still and simply being with oneself.

    The Internet is a great challenge, as you so rightly point out in your post here, and I would like to share here that using the “Way” of Zen can actually bring our inabilities to stay focused into our awareness. Whilst at first, it can seem that things are getting worse, paradoxically this will strengthen us if we learn to sit in zazen connecting with the patterns of mind-wanderings that we are learning from our modern day life. In a nutshell, Zen practice challenges us practitioners, by bringing us our shortcomings more strongly into awareness and causing us to want to do something about it.

  • Firman

    Its kinda hard to focused since (imho) most of us have “the next shiny object syndrome”. But this year i’ve tried to focused to not more than 3 websites, so far so good 🙂

    Focused is great !

  • Rebecca

    I like the tip about setting boundaries. I’ve been working on setting stronger ‘personal’ boundaries. Anyway … I keep telling myself to check my email twice a day, but I’ve been known to check it every two hours. I also thought about disabling ‘chat’ on Facebook so I can focus on updating my fan page instead of getting distracting by someone who wants to ‘chat’ with me (usually family).

  • Torkona

    I was going to leave a really good comment, but I lost focus..

  • sibin

    Thanks.Focusing is very important for bloggers.Focusing on topics,focusing on post are also important .

  • Dr. Bob Clarke

    Hey Stephen,

    This is a terrific article! You’re right — FOCUS has become one of the buzzwords around the blogosphere.

    But its much easier to discuss it than actually do it.

    I like your tips to really attain true focus. Setting boundaries is huge, although they can be easily broken. It’s just so damn easy to get distracted. That’s why I think your tips on refocusing are key.

    Thanks.. gonna print this one out!

  • Joseph

    Nice Post, thanks for the Tips. I like the setting Boundaries Tip, though its Hard to do.

  • Shyam @ScorpionGod Lair

    Yea Important article in new side. Your 4 bullet points are using by me before I read this article. Deep thinking is a very important for persons to make interesting things. To involve deep thinking It is necessary to have a calm mind. SO I think meditation also will help you.

    Great explain about focusing that bloggers must read!

    Thanks!
    Shyam

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