By Gemma Lloyd
I heard a great analogy once, it went something like:
“Focus is like sunlight shining down onto earth, it’s dispersed and keeps everything nice and warm. If you concentrate that light through a magnifying glass and hold it up against the black of a newspaper, it will burn straight through. Concentrate the light even more, it can turn into a lethal laser and destroy everything in its path.” – Unknown
In essence, if you spread your focus across lots of things at once, you may do okay, but you won’t achieve a great result in anything. Whereas if you direct 100% of your focus towards one thing, you will yield the best and most effective result possible.
It’s often said that women are great multitaskers, but the reality is it’s not physically possible to effectively multitask. When people multitask, they’re actually switching between tasks which means concentration goes from one thing to another.
For example, have you ever been on a conference call while responding to email at the same time? I certainly have – thinking I can kill two birds with one stone, only to realize coming off the call that I’ve missed half of what was said, or that email I sent had important information missing.
Keeping focus is hard, especially with the constant distraction of emails, text messages and social media notifications. However, there are techniques that can be used to help stay focused. A few years ago I learnt the Pomodoro Technique.
The Pomodoro (derived from the Italian word Pomordori meaning tomato) Technique involves setting a timer for 25 minutes and concentrating on achieving a predefined outcome for that time. Then you take a break for 3-5 minutes and set the timer again to concentrate on something else. The idea is that during the 25 minutes, you don’t succumb to any distractions and only focus on the task at hand. It really works and I encourage everyone to give it a go!