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How to focus on the really important things

Most people can’t remember the last time they had the opportunity to focus on a single task without being distracted by something else and wasting their time.

There is always something demanding our attention – the phone, notifications, emails, messages, people in the office, etc. The more often we indulge in unnecessary distractions, the greater the damage to us in the long run. If left unattended, distractions can destroy our ability to concentrate. How then do we get our focus back on the really important things and forget about everything else? Here are a few ways:

Identify your priorities

To eliminate from your daily life all the unnecessary things that distract you, you must first determine your priorities. When you are aware of the things that are important to you, you will automatically recognize those that are not particularly important.

Start your day the right way

Create morning rituals to help you structure your day and separate the things you want to accomplish from the rest. Morning rituals will help you not only start your day the right way but also allow you to end it with positivity and satisfaction.

Manage your time

It is key to separate the important and urgent tasks from all the others. For this purpose, you can use the so-called “Eisenhower matrix” for time management. Popularized by the 34th President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces during World War II, Dwight Eisenhower, this matrix divides things according to two factors – “Urgency” and “Importance”. On this principle, everything we do can be classified into one of four categories.

In the first category are tasks that are both urgent and important. A variety of crises, problems, and projects with short deadlines fall here. These are things that should be done as soon as possible.
The second column includes those activities that are important but not urgent. This category houses our human relations, long-term project planning, etc.

These are activities that sooner or later must be completed, because over time they may become urgent.
The third category is that of urgent but not particularly important tasks, the best example of which is office meetings. This is where the tasks that cause us to feel the tension in our daily lives come in, even though they are ultimately not of critical importance to us.
The last group is the activities that are neither important nor urgent. In this category fall the things that just waste our time and with which it is better to just not deal with.

The Eisenhower Matrix helps us avoid common mistakes in daily planning. Most of us choose to do the urgent tasks first, when in fact our focus should always be on the most important tasks.

Establish boundaries

One effective way to avoid distractions is by setting clear boundaries. When you need to focus on a task, let your coworkers know you’re offline and won’t be answering calls and messages. Setting boundaries will give you the time you need to focus on the things that matter to you, and it also helps others manage their time based on the times of the day you’re unavailable.

Set the pace

Learn to give your full attention to the tasks you are working on. Don’t rush things just because you have a lot to do. Every time you shift your attention from one task to another, you lose concentration, and your productivity suffers along with it.

Don’t overload yourself with tasks

The best way to ensure you have enough time for important things is to stop saying yes to everything. The best leaders have mastered saying no. They know that one must say “no” to minor tasks to be able to say “yes” to the most important.

Most people don’t know why they constantly don’t have time for the things that are important to them. They simply react to what is happening in their lives instead of following their priorities, and they are so used to it that they do not realize that they are building a reality in which they do not want to live.

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