Productivity July 3, 2020

Your best tip for all-day focus?

Rasmus

I am writing an article on maintaining an all-day focus, and I would like to hear your best tips! Let's start with me, here's my best tip:

Start working once you wake up 🙌

Get up early and start working right away. This gives me a good start of the day and helps me maintain my focus. The days I scroll through Instagram or watching some short episode on Netflix, I find it a lot harder to start working and maintaining focus during that day.

Fun fact: An important reason behind this is the dopamine hormone which plays a huge role in motivation and attention. This means that if you start your day by doing things that give high dopamine (Instagram, Youtube, Netflix), you will find it much harder to get back to lower dopamine stuff (like work). Start working once you wake up!

What is your best tip for all-day focus? 😃

Edit: Great tips everyone! Keep the discussion going!

  1. 4

    Fast.

    Just try it. The first few days obviously you won't feel so good but eventually you'll get used to it and experience elevated focus. There are other health benefits as well!

    1. 3

      IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:

      These people are referring to "wet fasting" which allows you to hydrate as much as you want with water (even some electrolytes, but nothing substantial that your body needs to digest like a sugary beverage or milky coffee)

      While unintended, many people misinterpret this as "dry fasting" as in zero intake of anything, which is just asking for trouble.

      If you're like me, you don't notice how little you naturally drink. Starting off your mornings "fasting" with a slightly above average amount of water is a great way to fuel your body with just what it needs after a long rest (i.e. after an overnight dry fast).

      I'm gettin' thirsty just typing this!

      Like your sleep schedule, I've experienced my "eating times" drift around to different times of day (depending on when I eat). My guess is your body starts salivating & digestion in your stomach starts churning in anticipation of your typical meal times which explains why people don't mind "fasting through the morning" after a while because their hunger eventually adjusts to it. If you're experiencing any serious discomfort, please revert to your normal patterns. I'm not a medical doctor & don't play one on the web.

    2. 2

      Agreed, I'm a big fan of fasting.

  2. 3

    My best tip. Don't obsess over it for the entire day. Take dedicated time away. If you don't, you'll definitely burn out. It's happened to me before.

    Bite sized chunks work best. 😉

    1. 1

      so true !

      1. 2

        I was gonna say "don't try to get focus for a full day". I have been working online for 10 years, I can tell you that you can get 3 to 5 hours of focused work max. per day. This is I work 7 days a week (I enjoy it so it doesn't feel like working)

  3. 2
    1. Switch off all notifications until afternoon. I use screen time on iOS to ensure I don't receive any notifications when I wake up that will distract me.

    2. Eat a small meal for lunch with mostly raw foods. Big cooked meals at lunch destroy my afternoon productivity.

    3. Exercise when late afternoon brain fog sets in

  4. 2

    Have a todo list.
    Plan out next day the night before.
    Plan out day in small manageable (and non-intimidating) blocks.
    Set timers and abide by them.
    Give yourselve small rewards in between work sessions.

    1. 2

      This is definitely what has the most impact for me. If I start the day unsure of what to accomplish, I usually end up doing far less than I potentially can get done.

    2. 2

      A todo list works good for me too👍

  5. 2

    You've got to figure out what works for you. I relate to your tip. If I start working first thing in the morning I can get into flow and crush a solid 4-5 hours of focused work. I can keep trying to work later in the day, but that will usually throw me off for the next couple days. I cannot consistently do focused deep work for entire days at a time.

  6. 2

    Many people do "morning rituals", but I agree with you. I'm also a huge fan of working first thing in the morning (sometimes before even eating).

    After sleeping, your hippocampus "emotionally resets", i.e. you have the most energy and willpower to get stuff done without negative emotions (since they were resolved during your sleep). This high productivity morning carries through the rest of the day.

  7. 2

    Start with 5 minute sessions of focused work.

    If you succeed increase it by 5. Repeat the process until you find your most effective focused session length. Set healthy breaks between long sessions.

    This is harder than it sounds. Focused work means that you didn't do anything else in that time. That you haven't checked Instagram or 9gag not even once.

    1. 1

      Thanks for sharing! This is a really interesting subversion/mutation of the pomodoro technique that makes a lot of sense to me: don't unnaturally stretch yourself to focus for X minutes, but discover your organic attention-span.

      That's a really useful assumption or design constraint worth reframing everything around. I'm going to experiment with these tighter intervals for a few days.

  8. 2

    Would love to read your article once its published. I'm actually writing a book about the subject TL;DR - a book about productivity by a procrastination master.

    My best tip is very similar to yours, I do exactly the same in the morning and on top of that, throughout the day, after each 3-4h working session I reward myself with high dopamine activity, and then I do "hard reset". go for a walk, read, take a hot shower. and then go back to work directly without checking social media. so in total, I have 2-3 high focus sessions

    1. 1

      Interesting to hear!😊 This is kind of what I do on my two food breaks during the day but never thought of it as you describe.

  9. 1

    Schedule your breaks.

    I find that if I take breaks every 30 minutes or an hour, even before I get tired, I can keep working for longer.
    So I schedule them, basically like a pomodoro timer but I usually do 40 minutes work then 5-10 minutes break.

    Just like athletes take time-outs and substitutions even at the beginning of the game in order to pace themselves and preform during the home game.

    Well we can consider ourselves computer athletes and our game is our work day :)

    1. 1

      Good tip Darko!👍

  10. 1

    Take weekends off and get away from the computer!

    At least, that’s what works for me. I find the further from my computer I am on a weekend the more productive energy I bring on Monday 😊

    1. 1

      Works great for me too!

    2. 1

      Good one.
      Especially when going to nature.

  11. 1

    I think everyone has their "organic" productivity times. I'm a night owl by nature and my most productive times are right after waking (9-12), late afternoons (6-8) and then sometimes I can burst at maximum power from 11pm to 3-4 am.

    I've tried for years to become an early riser, but you just can't fight your genes i guess.

  12. 1

    10 minute break every 30 mins. You will get a lot more done and with high satisfaction.

  13. 1

    Some ways that work for me :

    • Get a good sleep the night before
    • Try not to have a massive dinner the night before
    • Get some natural light in the workspace in the morning
    1. 2

      Simple but great!

  14. 1

    Do something you love!

    1. 1

      That is actually a great tip! It was so obvious that I didn’t think of it, but still so important.

      1. 1

        Haha, yeah right? When I work on my newsletter business hours fly by without me realizing. So choosing the area of your focus is a clear winner here for me.

  15. 1

    My best tip, get enough sleep every day, at least 7 hour a day. For me enough sleep mean better focus.

    My second tip, eat enough carbohydrates, carbohydrates are the brain's fuel. Despite the fact that the human brain accounts for only 2 percent of the body's weight, the brain consumes 20% of carbohydrates energy.

  16. 1

    Have you read Atomic Habits? Lots of great ideas that may help in it.