Great achievements are more likely to happen when we are completely engaged in what we are doing as opposed to timidly approaching the situation – diving in head-first rather than merely dipping your toes in the water. There is a synergy that is created once our physical and mental energies are aligned together that gives us greater focus and helps squelch those distracting thoughts.
For most of us, our brains constantly curtail our energy. We have programs running in the background of our mind that continuously look for potential dangers even though we are in the protected comfort of our homes and offices. We listen to distractions like hunger, thirst, and having to pee. We talk to ourselves about what is right, wrong, or how it can be better. Excuses and contingency plans begin to take shape. Each of these acts as holes in our sails that makes us less efficient.
The greatest motivator of ancient Greek armies was neither their training nor great leadership, but it was the practice of burning their ships once they arrived on enemy land; giving them only one direction. Poker players know the most convincing bet they can make can also be the most costly – going “All In” means they are fully committed to that one single hand.
It is only once we decide 100% that we are doing something that we can see the clearest path. Even just a 1% doubt can become a nagging malady that keeps you from your goal.
Not everyone looks at their career as a battleground or gambling table; but when we implement this level of activity to even the most mundane of tasks, we can get tremendous results.
I found that it helps to clear my workspace of distractions and physically put away other projects. I turn OFF my phone as well as my email. Unless it is absolutely critical; I even disconnect from the Internet. I physically write a short list of I will accomplish in the next brief amount of time, set a timer, take a few moments to clear my mind, and then dedicate myself for the allotted time.
This high level of focus is more like a sprinter than a marathoner. Start with short bursts of time; 10-20 minutes and slowly stretch it to longer intervals.
When in an office setting; I would explain what I am doing and close my door or put up some sort of physical barrier (hand-written sign often does wonders). Depending on the setting; you might even use headphones to limit the audible distractions. Once my timer signals the session is over; I finish the project, remove the barriers and resume a ‘normal’ and flexible work mode.