In our fast-paced work environment it is difficult to find time to give focused attention to the things that require deep thinking and contemplation. Multitasking has consumed our workday and quick decision making is an absolute necessity if we want to keep up. In my work, I’ve found that neglecting to take the time to focus my thinking results in a lack of thought expansion, creativity, and innovation.
I’ve been on a journey over the past year to find ways to better focus on some key projects and ideas. I’ve tried a number of techniques to determine what helps me to dial in my thinking. I’ve found that I have to be very intentional about how I plan my time of focus and how I manage my energy during this time.
Here are my 4 Steps to Creating Laser Focus.
1. Schedule time for focused thought. Make sure you are putting time on your calendar for focused thinking. For most of us, if it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done. This time is not just of value to you, but it’s of great value to your company. Every organization needs leaders who take time to be contemplative and strategic. Scheduling time also helps you avoid all distractions including telephones and email. Plan to turn it all off or even leave the office to avoid temptations and interruption.
2. Eat a healthy snack before the scheduled focus time. You will not think at your best or be able to engage fully if you do not have the adequate nutrients and glucose your brain requires for optimal thinking. You don’t want to eat too much before your focus time. Rather, eat a low to moderate glycemic snack so you will have sustained energy. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water to hydrate your brain.
3. Move and stretch before your focus time and during breaks. Your ability to generate positive energy and maintain focus is in large part dependent on what is in your blood. Not only do you have to have glucose and nutrients, but you must have adequate oxygen. You can enhance oxygen delivery to your brain by moving and stretching. This can be as simple as standing, walking around, and lightly stretching your neck, shoulders, back, and legs.
4. Use 45 minute “Thought Cycles.” Brain science tells us that our brain performs better when we focus our mental workload in intervals. Plan to stay focused for 45 minutes and set a timer to alert you after the 45 minute interval is over. Then take a 10-15 minute break. After the break, begin another 45 minute Thought Cycle.