productivity Dec 06, 2018

If you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time then you know how detrimental I believe multitasking is to our careers and overall happiness as assistants. You also know how much I believe assistants should develop their ability to focus.

Focus is hard, especially in a time and age where instant gratification is the norm and we are consistently barraged with information and shiny new distractions around every corner. How do we focus? Are there things we can do to increase our ability to concentrate?

What about the nature of our jobs? With all the demands on us as assistants focus can seem out of reach. While we must roll with the punches, both the quality of our work and our well being as humans rely on our ability to focus, especially when performing our larger, more important tasks and projects.

4 Concrete Ways to Achieve Focus As An Assistant

In this video, I give 4 ways to increase your focus:

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Check out the transcription:

Hey guys, I’m Annie of WholeAssistant.com. Today we are talking all about focus. As many of you know by now, if you’ve been following my blog at all, I am not a fan of multi-tasking. Multi-tasking depletes our focus, and it’s really hard to get into a good state and be productive when we multi-task. Today I’m going to be sharing with you my four favorite tips to help you achieve better focus. Let’s get started.

My first tip is to eliminate the distractions you can control. These are things like your cell phone. I actually was talking with a friend recently, and she actually changed the settings on her phone to not show as many notifications. That’s a great way to eliminate a distraction you can control. Also, minimize all of your social media windows and everything. Now I know social media can be really tempting, especially for me, because this is something I struggle with because I blog, and I run a Facebook group too. It can be really difficult to actually achieve focus.

I allow myself to check social media at 10 and 2:00 in the afternoon, and sometimes over lunch period too. I typically don’t take a lunch, I’m bad that way, but 10 and 2 are my times to check social media. Those are two great ways that we can eliminate distractions we can control. Also, if a coworker comes to your desk and needs something, really assess whether or not it’s an immediate need. If it’s not an immediate need, then tell them when you’ll get back to them, and then follow up.

My second tip for helping you achieve mental focus is to treat your brain like the muscle it is. Unfortunately, with all these distractions, it can be hard to practice mental focus, but I actually want you to think about it like you’re practicing it like you would a sport. Science has shown that we can typically achieve focus for 45 minutes to an hour, so I really want us all to strive for that, and to work on one task for 45 minutes to an hour. Now I understand as assistants lots of things come up, people need things, immediate things, and we’re often taken out of that state of focus, but as quickly as you can, get back into that state, and practice it as an actual practice, and tell yourself that you are practicing this like you would basketball, or yoga. That’s another tip for you guys.

My third tip is to be sure you are feeding your brain. 85% of our brain is water, so drink up. In order to actually achieve and maintain mental clarity, we need to be hydrated. Also, of the dry weight of our brains, 60% of it is fat, which means there are things we can do nutritionally to support our brain. We want to eat avocados, nuts, coconut oil, and other plant-based mono-saturated fats in order to support our brain health. For me, I love my green smoothies, I just put a half avocado on my green smoothies every morning, and that actually really helps me stay clear mentally. I also have this really great grain-free granola recipe that I make that’s all nuts, that has some coconut oil mixed in too. It’s really yummy, that I’ll eat with yogurt. Those are some great ways to get some good, healthy fats into our diets. It really does make a difference for your brain.

The next tip I have for you guys, my fourth and final tip is to meditate. This one is going to be huge for me in 2019. I actually have a goal to increase my meditation. Right now, I meditate off and on, but I find that when I do meditate, my brain is just so much clearer.

It adds incredible mental clarity. I’m able to focus more. I love to meditate. I’m really going to try to incorporate that more in 2019. I’m going to try and do it two times a day. Currently, I’m only doing it in the evenings when I’m getting ready for bed, and it’s only like once or twice a week at most. I’m really going to try and increase that in 2019. I’m also going to start meditating in the mornings as much as I can too as I sit down to my desk, just taking a few minutes for myself, and meditating to get into that good headspace for my most productive day.

Let’s review here, in order to increase mental clarity and achieve focus, we can eliminate the distractions, we can control, treat your brain like the muscle it is, make sure you are feeding your brain, getting lots of water and healthy fats, and meditate. Okay, I also found a couple of other links for how meditation can increase focus, a couple of other articles, which I will link to in the description.

Now I want to hear from you guys, what do you do to increase focus? What do you do to eliminate those distractions? I would really love to hear what’s working for you, what you found to be super helpful in this area. Please, drop me a note at annie@wholeassistant.com, or leave a comment below. Also, join my Facebook group. I actually go live in my Facebook group every Thursday with content that is exclusively for my Facebook group. If you a to be in on that, check out my Facebook group, Whole Assistant Heroes. You can go to the link on this Facebook page up top.

I hope you guys have a great rest of your week. I will be back next week with more fun tips for you guys. Have a great week. I’ll talk with you soon.


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