We all know the feeling. Our ability to focus has been reduced dramatically. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with notifications, dings, and alerts, it's no wonder our attention spans have dwindled. We’ve never had more distractions to deal with. And as disheartening as it sounds, many of the distractions we face were engineered to be as distracting as possible. In today's society, there's much money to be made in keeping people's attention.
Our brains quickly become addicted to these distractions, and our ability to focus on meaningful work suffers.
While many factors contribute to a person's overall happiness, one key ingredient is the ability to focus and stay productive. It can be challenging to accomplish your goals if you're constantly being pulled in different directions or struggling to stay on task. Learning to focus is vital if you want to be productive and successful. There are many benefits of being able to focus, including achieving your goals, feeling more fulfilled, and improving your mental and physical health. When you're able to concentrate on what's important, you're able to live your life with more purpose and intention.
Overcome the distractions in your life and get things done with these eight strategies:
1. Single-tasking beats multitasking.
Avoid fooling yourself. You’ll get more done and feel more relaxed if you focus on one task at a time. It’s not easy for your brain to switch back and forth between different things. Set your priorities and complete them in order.
How we use our time is crucial when trying to increase our focus. If we want to be inspired and experience growth, we need to be purposeful with how we spend our time. Being mindful of what activities help us feel like our best selves is essential. When we are focused and present, we can better achieve our goals.
2. Do deep-focus activities early in the day.
Your ability to focus deeply is typically greatest in the morning and decreases throughout the day. A few people also do well late at night if their day isn’t too demanding. If you want to perform at your best, it's important to schedule your day in the way that works best for you.
For some people, this means getting up early and starting the day with a cup of coffee and some quiet time to plan and reflect. Others find that they work better later in the day after they've had a chance to get moving and get their blood flowing. Whatever your preference, the key is to find a schedule that allows you to be your best self. When you're able to operate from a place of strength and purpose, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
3. Practice focusing.
You can’t be good at something you don’t practice. We can better manage distractions and stay on track with our goals by practicing focusing. It can be harder to focus deeply than you think.
So next time you feel overwhelmed by distractions, take a deep breath and focus on what's important. Your future self will thank you! Knowing how to focus is more critical than ever in our distractible world. By learning how to focus, we can learn how to manage distractions and better control our attention.
Tips on how to practice focusing:
1. Start with something small. If you need help focusing on a big project, start with something small that you can complete quickly. This will help you get into the habit of attending to a task and finishing it before moving on to something else.
2. Make a list of what you need to do. Sometimes it can be helpful to write down what you need to do to focus your attention on the task at hand. Having a list will also help you keep track of your progress and feel accomplished as you check items off.
3. Set a timer and take breaks. Try setting a timer for 15 minutes and keep your attention entirely on performing a task. Notice how stray thoughts constantly interfere. Notice how strong the urge to check your email, text messages, and social media becomes. Over time, you’ll be able to focus for more extended periods of time before you need a break.
4. Remove distractions.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with distractions, staying focused on what's important can be difficult. Make life easier for yourself by removing as many distractions as possible. You can focus on the task and be more productive by eliminating distractions.
Tips on removing distractions:
1. Be aware of what distracts you. This may seem obvious, but it's essential to be conscious of the things that take away your focus. Whether it's social media, email, or even just chatting with friends, identify the things that derail your productivity and make a plan to avoid them.
2. Set boundaries. Once you know what your distractions are, it's time to set some boundaries. Once you clearly understand these things, it becomes much easier to establish boundaries with distractions and stick to them. Put your phone away. Turn off the TV. Block any websites that you find compelling. Close any computer tabs you don’t need. Remove any distracting sounds. Turn off the radio.
Whatever boundary you set, the key is consistency in maintaining it. Maintaining boundaries can be difficult in a world where we are constantly bombarded with distractions. However, if we want to live our best lives and achieve our inspired growth, it is crucial to learn how to do so.
Tips on how to maintain boundaries with distractions:
1. Be clear about your goals and what you want to achieve. When you know what you are working towards, it is easier to say no to distractions.
2. Set aside time each day for uninterrupted focus. This will help train your brain to stay focused even when there are distractions around.
3. Be mindful of your environment and what triggers your distraction habit. If possible, remove yourself from these situations or create a plan ahead of time for how you will deal with them.
5. Learn to be comfortable with being bored.
When you’re focused and working, it can also be boring. Most of us choose to distract ourselves because we’re bored. Boredom has gotten a bad rap. We often see it as something to be avoided at all costs. But what if we looked at boredom differently? What if we embraced it instead of trying to avoid feeling bored? Think about it this way: when we're bored, we're not distracted by anything else. That means we have the opportunity to focus on ourselves and our thoughts. And that can be a good thing! When we're bored, we can take the time to reflect on our lives and figure out what our purpose is. We can focus on becoming our best selves. We can let our minds wander and develop new, creative ideas.
Being comfortable with boredom also frees us from feeling so tempted by distractions. While they may always present as distractions, we may sometimes feel less distracted by them. Practice getting used to boredom. So next time you feel bored, don't reach for your phone or try to find something else to do. When you have the urge to distract yourself, force yourself to wait 15 minutes longer. After a few days of this, try 30 minutes. Keep building on this. The better you can handle boredom, the easier it is to avoid engaging in those distractions.
6. Plan time for your most common distractions.
You don’t have to avoid your favorite distractions 100% of the time—schedule time for those activities after your work has been completed for the day. Put a reasonable limit on how long you’ll spend on them. If you're like most people, you probably have many distractions competing for your attention every day. But what if you could plan for and schedule your distractions in a way that helped you achieve your goals?
Tips for how to schedule for distractions in a way that helps achieve your goals:
1. Define your goals. What is it that you want to achieve? Once you know your goal, it is easier to identify which distractions are helpful and which are harmful.
2. Make a list of your distractions. Include the things that regularly distract you from your goal and the things you only occasionally do.
3. Evaluate each distraction. For each one, ask yourself whether it's helpful or not. If it's not, it's probably not worth including in your schedule.
7. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is vital for focus and energy. In our constantly-connected world, it's easy to feel we should be available 24/7. But the truth is, our brains need time to recharge. Sleep is an integral part of that process. Your brain needs at least seven hours of sleep to be at its best. Have consistent times for going to bed and waking up.
There are many ways to improve sleep hygiene. Research says one of the best ways is to start waking up at the same time each morning to help set a consistent bedtime routine. Keep a check on how things are going and try sleeping for seven hours each night for a week and rate your ability to focus. The following week try 7.5 hours. If you see an improvement, try eight hours. Keep going if necessary, and find the optimal amount of sleep for you.
When well-rested, we're better able to focus on tasks. We're also more likely to be creative and productive. That's because sleep allows our brains to consolidate memories and process information. If you're feeling overwhelmed and struggling to focus or find your inspiration, take a step back and ensure you're getting enough shut-eye. A good night's sleep might be the key to unlocking your best self.
8. Eat healthy foods.
Your body and brain function better when you eat healthily. When it comes to focusing, nutrition is essential for several reasons. For one, what we eat can impact our energy levels. If we eat foods high in sugar or unhealthy fats, we may feel sluggish and unable to focus on our tasks. Conversely, if we consume plenty of healthy fruits, vegetables, and proteins, we're likely to feel more energetic and better able to focus.
In addition to impacting our energy levels, what we eat can affect our mood. If we're not getting the nutrients our body needs, we may feel irritable or anxious, making it difficult to focus on anything else. On the other hand, if we're eating a balanced diet, we're more likely to feel calm and relaxed, making concentrating easier.
Your focus improves with a healthy diet. Start by eliminating everything you know isn’t good for you – one at a time will work.