Sharp focus and uncompromised productivity characterise successful personalities. These are not inbuilt characteristics and are learnt in time by developing a high-performance mind-set. What is a high-performance mind-set? Also, how do we develop it?
A high-performance mind-set is developed by consistently achieving goals and building confidence which lead to heightened focus and productivity. Various athletes consistently use this approach. Professional sports personalities, always have a planned warm-up session before a game starts to develop focus. It begins with easy routine tasks which when achieved boost confidence. They then carry the momentum to harder drills and build their confidence, which they take into the game.
This process can be broken down into six simple steps and used in your day to day lives.
- Dream – The first step to having a strong focus is to have a definite purpose. Have a vision. Imagine the result and most importantly be excited. Once you have a vision, you’ll have a purpose. Once you’re excited, you’ll have a glimpse of how great it’ll feel when the goal is achieved. A strong vision is the first step to developing focus. In your day to day life, you’ll notice you’re most focused on things you really want.
- Set Goals – You would have read about this everywhere, but yet most of us get it wrong. Our dream/vision do not equate to goals. Our goals should be smaller easily attainable targets which lead to the big dream. Each goal should be a stepping stone to the larger picture. The problem with setting big goals is that we can’t achieve them because they take a lot of time and effort, which leads to giving up midway. Smaller goals work better as the rewards are more easily perceived by our minds at shorter intervals.
- Plan – Have a written plan, written being the keyword. The advantage of a written plan is that it acts as a map to achieving goals. A map helps you know what’s happening and what is yet to come. It keeps you in control. It also guides you forward, giving you a clear path. Also once you have it written, you don’t have to spend time thinking about it. You can focus all your efforts on the tasks at hand.
- Quantify work, not time – Perhaps the most critical step to being productive is to start quantifying work and not time. Don’t work for 12 hours but instead complete a set of tasks. Tell yourself you can end your day early if you complete the tasks on time and stay up if you don’t. Always remember 12 hours of work doesn’t give you success, but getting work done does, even if it means spending fewer hours a day.
- Review and Improve – Always review your work once completed. Look for ways by which you could have done it better. Think of ways by which you could have completed it in a shorter duration. After finding all the areas of improvement, note it down and make an improved approach plan, use this improved approach the next time to do high-quality work in less time.
- Rest – We’re in an era where we believe putting in long hours means we’ll be successful. However, this is not true and it is what makes the smart workers stand apart from the hard workers. Mental health is as important as our physical health. Not paying attention to it leads to burnouts and mental exhaustion resulting in loss of focus and productivity. Make sure you get enough sleep and also do other things to take care of your mental health. Jogging in the morning, having an active social life and eating healthy are some of the small steps you can take to get started.
To summarise, focus and productivity are not traits, but habits that can be developed over time. The trick is to keep achieving goals and building confidence. The steps above should help you kindle these behaviours. Focus on your strengths but also spend time improving your weaknesses. Remember to take care of yourself. Working for long hours doesn’t mean you’ll be successful but getting work done does. That’s the secret to focus and productivity.