A Guide to Staying Focused

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August 23, 2023
Mindset & Growth

Focus is incredibly important to a programmer's career if he or she hopes to maintain long-term success.

Compared to many other careers, programming requires a lot of focus and effort.

Focusing for long periods of time is challenging.

The mind wanders when it shouldn't, we reach for our phones rather than reading the code, we check Social media instead of writing that JavaScript function, and so on.                                    

First of all, we'll define what focus means, then we'll talk about 4 ways to better focus.

What Is the Definition of Focus?

focus1

Focus can be defined as directed attention, according to Merriam-Webster.

A person with this ability can concentrate on one thing for an extended period of time.

Although we all have the ability to focus, some of us are able to do so for longer periods than others.

It's not the person's incapacity to focus that's the problem when they say they can't focus.

Their attention spans are simply too short.

4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Focus

1. Choose Your priorities

Pick three big tasks you want to complete that day in the morning or the night before your working day.

You should consider these your big tasks.

You cannot negotiate them; they must be completed.

Everything else is secondary.

It is best to do big tasks in the morning, afternoon, or evening, depending on when you have the most energy.

If you're going to tackle a big task, it needs to be big enough to take up most of your day, but small enough to be manageable on a single day.

It is too small to respond to a colleague's Slack message, yet it is almost certainly too large to program a client website.

2. Please Provide Feedback

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You will find it easier to focus if you select big rocks.

But it's only the easy part of the equation.

Focus is the real challenge here.

Maybe you're reading this because you can't concentrate, but it's more likely that you're reading it because you believe you can't concentrate for long enough.

A constant flow of feedback helps us to stay focused because our minds naturally search for problems to solve.

When we aren't able to solve what we're concentrating on, our minds search for something else to focus on.

Consider incorporating feedback into the process you are developing.

Break large tasks down into smaller ones.

Bug testing should be performed on a regular basis in your code.

Keep a record of everything you do.

Perhaps you could implement a method that constantly informs you of how things are progressing.

3. Reduce Distractions in Your Brain

We are constantly bombarded with stimuli in our modern world - messages, pings, emails, pop-ups, banners, notifications, and so on.

When we are exposed to such stimuli, the brain rewards us with dopamine, the pleasure chemical.

In fact, browsing Facebook is easier than writing code because browsing is passive, as well as the fact that it's designed so our brains release dopamine as we scroll.

You should put your phone in another room and close any programs that may disturb your focus when you are trying to concentrate.

It's also a good idea to remove your device's desktop menu bar so that you're always working in full-screen mode, no matter what program you're in.

You won't be distracted by incoming emails, for instance.

However, we must go above and beyond.

Our minds function best when they have had time to relax and roam.

We should replace high-stimulating items with low-stimulating ones.

It's not necessary to eliminate all high-stimulation activities, but you should consider how much stress your current environment causes you.

What can you do to make it less interesting? Less engaging?

Remove anything that distracts.

4. Perform Your Duties

Let's face it.

Focus and motivation are usually linked, and even if you love what you do, you won't always be driven by it.

It may be fun to be a Go programmer, but going to work might not be enjoyable.

There is one difference between those who succeed and those who do not: those who succeed continue to show up every day, regardless of how they feel.

Everybody has a bad day.

However, the best programmers continue to show up and work regardless of the circumstances.

They may find it more difficult to concentrate, but they continue to do so.

To achieve mastery in your field, you must constantly practice and repeat difficult tasks.

You will never achieve mastery if you do not practice.

It may not always be easy to find motivation and focus for these repetitions, but if you want to master this skill, you must push past your discomfort and persevere.

To Summarize

Programming careers require the ability to focus intensively for long periods of time.

If you take the time to define your top priorities before you begin your work, add feedback to your processes, remove some distractions of the day, and simply push through your feelings, you can improve your focus.

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Senior Full-Stack PHP Developer

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A Guide to Staying Focused

February 16, 2024

Focus is incredibly important to a programmer's career if he or she hopes to maintain long-term success.

Compared to many other careers, programming requires a lot of focus and effort.

Focusing for long periods of time is challenging.

The mind wanders when it shouldn't, we reach for our phones rather than reading the code, we check Social media instead of writing that JavaScript function, and so on.                                    

First of all, we'll define what focus means, then we'll talk about 4 ways to better focus.

What Is the Definition of Focus?

focus1

Focus can be defined as directed attention, according to Merriam-Webster.

A person with this ability can concentrate on one thing for an extended period of time.

Although we all have the ability to focus, some of us are able to do so for longer periods than others.

It's not the person's incapacity to focus that's the problem when they say they can't focus.

Their attention spans are simply too short.

4 Simple Ways to Improve Your Focus

1. Choose Your priorities

Pick three big tasks you want to complete that day in the morning or the night before your working day.

You should consider these your big tasks.

You cannot negotiate them; they must be completed.

Everything else is secondary.

It is best to do big tasks in the morning, afternoon, or evening, depending on when you have the most energy.

If you're going to tackle a big task, it needs to be big enough to take up most of your day, but small enough to be manageable on a single day.

It is too small to respond to a colleague's Slack message, yet it is almost certainly too large to program a client website.

2. Please Provide Feedback

feedbackk

You will find it easier to focus if you select big rocks.

But it's only the easy part of the equation.

Focus is the real challenge here.

Maybe you're reading this because you can't concentrate, but it's more likely that you're reading it because you believe you can't concentrate for long enough.

A constant flow of feedback helps us to stay focused because our minds naturally search for problems to solve.

When we aren't able to solve what we're concentrating on, our minds search for something else to focus on.

Consider incorporating feedback into the process you are developing.

Break large tasks down into smaller ones.

Bug testing should be performed on a regular basis in your code.

Keep a record of everything you do.

Perhaps you could implement a method that constantly informs you of how things are progressing.

3. Reduce Distractions in Your Brain

We are constantly bombarded with stimuli in our modern world - messages, pings, emails, pop-ups, banners, notifications, and so on.

When we are exposed to such stimuli, the brain rewards us with dopamine, the pleasure chemical.

In fact, browsing Facebook is easier than writing code because browsing is passive, as well as the fact that it's designed so our brains release dopamine as we scroll.

You should put your phone in another room and close any programs that may disturb your focus when you are trying to concentrate.

It's also a good idea to remove your device's desktop menu bar so that you're always working in full-screen mode, no matter what program you're in.

You won't be distracted by incoming emails, for instance.

However, we must go above and beyond.

Our minds function best when they have had time to relax and roam.

We should replace high-stimulating items with low-stimulating ones.

It's not necessary to eliminate all high-stimulation activities, but you should consider how much stress your current environment causes you.

What can you do to make it less interesting? Less engaging?

Remove anything that distracts.

4. Perform Your Duties

Let's face it.

Focus and motivation are usually linked, and even if you love what you do, you won't always be driven by it.

It may be fun to be a Go programmer, but going to work might not be enjoyable.

There is one difference between those who succeed and those who do not: those who succeed continue to show up every day, regardless of how they feel.

Everybody has a bad day.

However, the best programmers continue to show up and work regardless of the circumstances.

They may find it more difficult to concentrate, but they continue to do so.

To achieve mastery in your field, you must constantly practice and repeat difficult tasks.

You will never achieve mastery if you do not practice.

It may not always be easy to find motivation and focus for these repetitions, but if you want to master this skill, you must push past your discomfort and persevere.

To Summarize

Programming careers require the ability to focus intensively for long periods of time.

If you take the time to define your top priorities before you begin your work, add feedback to your processes, remove some distractions of the day, and simply push through your feelings, you can improve your focus.

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