“Where attention goes energy flows; where intention goes energy flows!” — James Redfield
How do you keep your focus and your flow in an ever distracted world?
There are a lot of things you can do, but the most important thing is to start with the basics.
Here is a simple way to improve your focus and flow:
- In the morning, the prep for your day is key. This is how you clear you mind and create clarity around how you will spend your time. This is your chance to make it OK to focus by knowing what’s important and by making a time and place for things. A good practice is to identify your 3 Wins for Today, along with your reminders and To Dos. Be sure to write your 3 Wins for Today at the top so you have a simple way to refocus when you get off track and to remind you what you want to achieve today.
- Work in 90-minute blocks if you can, with roughly 20-minute Sprints. It’s difficult to sustain beyond 90 minutes, based on Ultradian rhythms, and it’s difficult to sustain focus for the full 90-minutes. It’s a 90-minute block to get better at 20-minute sprints. These are rough guidelines to give you an idea how you can set the stage and perform on your stage.
- When you get off track, have a working document or piece of paper or whiteboard, where you dump your thoughts or ideas or reminders as you go, so you don’t break your flow. When you lose your focus, simply ask yourself a question, such as “What do I need to do next?” or “What should I be focused on?”, etc. Play with this and find the language that works for you, as you will likely need to evolve it as you get better at mindful work. In fact, maybe a simple check for yourself is, “Am I being mindful in my work?”, followed with, “How can I be more mindful in my work?”, as well as, “If I was being mindful in my work, what would that feel like?”… and embrace that feeling.
For keeping thought flows, it stars by working in focused blocks. I do a combo of 20-minute sprint and 90-minute sprints.
I keep either an email open or Notepad open, so I can hold my 3 wins for the day at the top, while noting anything that comes to mind.
Then comes the transition from your email or Notepad to where you manage your action.
I like simple lists and fast tools. I keep a Daily Insights notebook, where I log my insights and ah-has. I also have a Projects at a Glance where I note the most important actions and outcomes.
But most importantly, you need a place for your ideas. I keep my ideas in an Ideas notebook.
I have one note called Best Ideas, where I bubble my best to the top. Then I have a note for each category, such as Articles, Books, etc.
So to recap, have a time and place for fast, focused work to use your high energy.
Think a series of high-energy sprints vs. a marathon.
Have a thought catcher in email or Notepad, and then a place where you carry your most important actions, thoughts, ideas forward.
Keep it lean and light and if it’s not working keep adapting until you find you can work fast and friction free, flowing value, and flowing more ideas, while working in your flow state.