When was the last time you found yourself experiencing one of these eight characteristics while working on a project? Complete concentration on a task. Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback. Transformation of time speeding up/slowing down. Intrinsically rewarding experience. Effortless and ease. Balanced between challenge and skills. Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination. A feeling of control over the task.
Let’s face it, these characteristics all describe a state of complete focus and productivity that many of us rarely achieve. It’s called “flow,” and it’s the state of consciousness in which we feel our best and perform our best. But few of us know how to consciously create flow states, and even fewer know how to sustain them.
Attention is the key to flow, and undivided attention is the foundation of productivity. When we give our undivided attention to a task, we are fully present in the moment, focused and alert, and able to retain and recall information more effectively. But how can we give our undivided attention when we are surrounded by distractions?
Eliminate Distractions Once and for All
The first step to giving undivided attention is to eliminate distractions. This may sound easier said than done, but it’s essential for creating a space of sustained brainpower. Distractions such as social media, emails, texts, and phone calls drain our focus and waste our brainpower on tasks that yield little to no long-term benefits. The best strategy is to eradicate these distractions entirely. Turning off notifications, putting away our phones and practicing being present can all help reduce distractions and help us stay more focused.
Set It and Forget It – Schedule Your Day
Time management is the key to success, and the best way to manage our time is to plan it out efficiently. We should be scheduling out time for physical exercise, checking email, social media, and more. Keeping ourselves honest and prioritizing what’s important is a great way to make sure that we are making the most of our most valuable resource, time.
Prime Your Brain for Success
Once we’ve eliminated distractions and managed our time, it’s time to prime our brains for success. Our brains require proper fuel to survive and operate, so proper nutrition, exercise, and giving our bodies the chance to rest and recover are critical. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to energize the brain because it improves blood flow, oxygenation, and neural activity in the executive processing regions. Proper nutrition and avoiding high sugar and processed foods can help to fuel optimal brain function, and getting enough sleep can facilitate overall well-being and better cognitive function.
How to Give Undivided Attention During a Phone Call
Giving undivided attention doesn’t only apply to when we are working on a project but is also crucial when it comes to personal and professional relationships. When we are on the phone with a colleague or friend, it is essential to maintain their attention and be present for the conversation. Here are a few tips to apply when giving undivided attention during a phone call:
1. Don’t Fiddle With Your Phone
When on a call, avoid the temptation of checking your phone or any other electronic devices. Doing so will take your focus away from the conversation and disrupt the flow of the call.
2. Don’t Multitask
Multitasking is a well-known productivity killer. When on a call, avoid watching TV, playing with your dog, filing paper, or doing laundry. Always strive to do one thing at a time.
3. Close Unnecessary Apps on Your Computer
If you are participating in a webinar, you should log out of other computer apps, except the ones you’ll be using during the call. Closing unnecessary apps can help reduce distraction and help you stay more focused.
4. Organize Your Desk
A cluttered and disorganized desk can be chaotic and unsettling, and it may even be challenging to gather your thoughts. Taking a few minutes to declutter and organize your workspace can help create a better and more conducive environment for concentration.
5. Set Your Phone to Voicemail
Setting your phone or landline to voicemail while on a call can be a great way to avoid the temptation of answering calls or checking messages. It will help you stay present and focused on the conversation at hand.
Giving your undivided attention to a task is a skill that takes practice, consistency, and discipline. Eliminating distractions, managing time effectively, and priming our brains for success are essential steps to create a sustained environment of concentration and productivity. But giving undivided attention doesn’t just apply to work. Being present and focused in our personal lives and relationships is equally important. Applying these simple strategies can help us achieve a state of flow, leading to a more fulfilling and successful life.