Instagram notification here, lousy-ass car driving past over there, people talking in the next room and the neighbour's dog is barking like he's trying to imitate a scene from The Exorcist.
How the fuck are we supposed to focus then?
Believe me, I've been there. When I moved to another city at the age of 10, we lived in a small house, me and my dad being in the same room.
Today, I am grateful and privileged enough to have my own place, where I can work deeply on my craft, job, college & others, using these effective tips I've gained & used over the past 10+ years.
1. Have a Routine & Optimize
Every small step matters here. Analyze your current routine (if you have one - if not, make one up) and write down step by step what you usually do when you decide you'll study/work, etc.
Grab water & a healthy snack from the kitchen
Remove stuff from the table
Lock your room & start
Your routine may differ, but what matters is that you optimize it now. In my case it would be something like:
Grab water/coffee & a healthy snack from the kitchen
Reply to all the messages, check social media, go to the bathroom, and leave the phone there, in the drawer
Remove irrelevant stuff from the table
Turn on the lamp
Open BlockSite (an amazing app for blocking websites while working)
Lock the room
Deep breathing for 1 minute (set the intention to be focused) & start
Many friends ask me how can I keep focused for many hours straight. This is the formula, which I got from Cal Newport's book, called "Deep Work". It may work for you or it may not - try it and optimize.
By doing that, you'll go through a process called "habit stacking" which will put your brain in the go-mode as you repeat the process many times.
2. Chew a Gum
Didn't expect that one, did you, ay?
Chewing a gum can actually work wonders. According to studies, chewing gum helps to stimulate sympathetic nervous activity that increases your energy expenditure and heart rate.
I read that somewhere and don't know what the fuck any of it means, but yeah, chew the gum.
3. Make the Effort to Dress Up
Before bringing psychology into this, you tell me - would you feel more productive dressed up like option A or option B?
Your first answer was probably B, right? But I did not ask whether you feel comfier but rather more productive.
Why is it better to dress up nicely?
You feel confident because you invest time in your appearance.
You feel more responsible. When you dress up well, your brain will think that it's time for work
If you're in pyjamas while working, your brain will register that as the time to tone down and get ready to sleep.
So, don't be lazy fuck (this is a message to me as well), put on a nice, clean shirt, trousers or even a tracksuit. As long as it's not baggy, smelly, old & messy clothes, you'll be fine, as there's no need to suit up and wear a business outfit (especially if working from home).
4. Work Smarter
If you're a student, you probably won't study for 3+ hours straight (unless one day before the exam), because it's harder to reach the state of flow (aka flow state) when doing something you're not passionate about (know the difference between your field of study and actual studying - you may love & have the passion for your field, but don't like to study - which is fine, no one does)
Check this out: In 2020 I studied 762 hours, but this year I studied for 106 hours (which is still a lot, but ay, I still want to be in that top 1% innit)
Even though it's only April, I've studied almost 200 hours less compared to 2020, while having a better overall score (currently 9.33 / 10, while having 8.8 / 10 back then)
200 hours is a lot of fucking time man. Today, I put these hours into my other projects, work, gym, social networking, etc.
How can I have better exams scores, while having studied almost 200 hours less?
I learned how to work smarter. And my dumb ass needed 2 years and over 1000+ hours invested to do that. But hey, at least you won't make the same mistakes as me:)
I now work smarter by having exact goals what/when/where to study, a solid routine, study/work tracker, etc.
If I catch myself procrastinating, I "procrastinate efficiently" by, for example, watching youtube videos or browsing through Reddit, reading people's opinions on the exact same topic/project I'm working on.
I'll talk more about "how to study efficiently" in the next blog.
Hopefully, you learned something from this blog and found the tips useful.
If you have any requests about what I should write next, don't hesitate to contact me on my socials :)
LinkedIn: Edis Babahmetovic
Facebook: Edis Babahmetovic