How do I stay focused on one task at a time?

This question is around a very important aspect of all our lives. A parent has sent in the question but it is applicable to adults too!

“How do I stay focused on one task without getting distracted?”

I have outlined the steps for you to first try out yourself and see how they work – model it for your child and then help them to follow and achieve success in their tasks!

  • Only that or nothing approach. So if you have decided to do an hour of project work from 4-5pm stick to that. If you are bored or not motivated you need to promise yourself that you will only do the project work and the other alternative to give yourself is to do absolutely nothing. I can assure you with not allowing yourself to check your phone, messages or FB you would rather get on with your project!
  • Fun – work balance. The other day I was coaching a child and realized that he had actually lost confidence and the ability to make new friends because he was being very hard on himself and striving to only pursue his studies. He was being labeled a nerd (which he was not) from the fun-lovign boy that he was. So balance is very important to prevent yourself from burning out. Work hard but play hard too. Otherwise you can feel left out and you will end up more distracted wishing you were not working.
  • Physical activity/sports. I always advice parents to enroll their child in at least one sporting activity of their choice. Sports help a child to develop discipline, time management, motor skills and focus. In any sports, cricket, football, golf, netball, and boxing – if you don’t stay focused you can get knocked out! Sport helps your brain to train in being focused.
  • The ticks on the calendar can really keep you going. Ask me! Doing these weekly videos, newsletters, FB and twitter update for the past 68 weeks has been no easy feat. There have been times when I have wanted to take just a one-week break. But the thought of missing ONE tick on the calendar is just too unpalatable for me – and this momentum keeps me going. Encourage your child to create a chart where he can tick off whatever tasks he needs to finish.
  • Connect to the “after outcome”. Assuming your child has to submit a project and needs to be focused. Ofcourse he needs to enjoy the learning that comes from it. He also needs to know how it will feel for him to submit the project at the right time and how it might help him in school, college. So staying focused and motivated on any goal and task, one has to connect with how you will feel “after the outcome is achieved.” Don’t take my word for it try it!
  • A journey without a reward at the end is fun but can be more fun if you can end it with a little treat. So for every task your child has set for himself and achieved in the given time frame – he can decide to treat himself in a small way. (no not the latest iphone, like an outing with friends)

I urge you to try out the above steps and see how your focus has improved, because when you tell your child, he will know you are speaking from experience. Children learn more from your actions than your words! 

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