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Doing things Well


Published: 11/08/2014

by Hellen Buttigieg

Here are 5 ways to find focus in a world of distraction


We have become a society of multi-taskers, torn in a million directions as we juggle a variety of tasks. But in an effort to be more productive, we have become more distracted – and less effective.


Many of us are super busy, but finding focus is not really about the number of tasks we have on our daily to-do list. It’s about turning off the mental clutter in our brains and bringing our full attention to the present moment.


Learning to focus can have an impact on every area of your life: improving your relationships, finances, health and well-being. Here are five ways you can become more focused:


1 Limit multi-tasking: We’ve been led to believe that doing several things at once allows us to achieve more. It’s fine to double up on mundane routine tasks like putting cutlery away while waiting for the kettle to boil, but multi-tasking during important activities doesn’t serve us.


When we’re doing several things at the same time, our attention is scattered and we are less effective and more frazzled. Not only does it lower performance and lead to costly mistakes, it also robs us of enjoying the moment.


2 Minimize distractions: Multiple distractions interfere with our ability to concentrate, learn and remember things. Visual clutter in your space can be a source of distraction. Clear your work space after each project. Consider taking your work elsewhere, perhaps another room, a coffee shop or a park.


It’s easy to get sidetracked when you’re online surfing the net or checking e-mail. Close programs, turn alerts off, and check in only at regularly scheduled intervals.


If you get interrupted while working on something important, take a second to write down where you left off; when you come back to the task, you won’t waste as much time figuring out where to resume.


3Be fully in the moment: Set your intention to focus on what you are doing in the now. We have a tendency to think about the past or the future. Not only does this create brain clutter, it also robs us of the pure pleasure that comes from performing simple tasks.


Next time you wash dishes, fold laundry or set the table, focus only on that task. Engage your senses and make it a meditative action; notice the fresh smell of clean laundry, the colours in the soap bubbles, and the beauty of a table that has been set with care. You’ll feel less stressed and more at peace.


When having a conversation, listen to the other person rather than let your mind race. You’ll be amazed at how much richer your relationships become.


4Give yourself a break: Don’t schedule more than two hours to work on something continuously or you’ll be looking for interruptions. Take frequent breaks; stretch, get a drink or have a quick snack.


5Get some zzzz’s: Lack of sleep impairs attention, alertness and concentration. If you don’t get enough sleep, not only will you lose focus, you won’t be able to remember what you experienced during the day.


As Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter and Blogger, says, “Doing anything really well requires paying attention to what you are doing.”


Hellen Buttigieg, CPO, is a Certified Professional Organizer, life coach, TV personality, author and speaker. For details, visit


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