Let’s face it. It is H.A.R.D. to focus.
As a researcher you would think the task is clear – read, write, research, read again. But there are multiple distraction every single time I sit down at my desk. And that is if and when I get to my desk. It is not uncommon for a research Ed student to be older, juggling work and family commitments. The question how we focus is relevant, but I suspect it is one we avoid.
If I where honest I allow a range of other distractions to compete with my research time. Email, social media, requests from my children, the beep of the washing machine, a to do list for work. The experts suggest that each time I look away, it takes me 23 minutes to refocus , to return to where I was before I responded to the “ting” of love via my email box. This new reality has forced me to reassess not only how I work but why I work in the way I do.
Can I multitask? Can I successfully write that methodology chapter whilst crossing of my to do list, planning a school concert costume and answering work emails? The answer is no. Here are some productivity and focus tips that I have found meaningful:
- Busyness is not productivity. Busyness is like junk food, it does nothing good, but offer a quick fix.
- Freedom to be really productive means that I should allow spontaneity in my schedule.
- Delegate more of the tasks on my to do list. If someone else can do it or offers help, let them.
- Schedule in me time, the “Alone Zone”, the space to do Deep Work, just like you would schedule a doctor’s appointment.
- Take care of yourself. You cannot focus when you are sleep deprived, stressed, eating poorly and have not stepped into the outdoors for weeks.
Focus requires commitment and practice. Regular reflection on my ability to focus and see the next day, week and term clearly is vital for my work. So here’s to more FOCUS for you and for me.