Staying on top of all your tasks can be difficult, but it’s all more challenging when you are constantly surrounded by distractions. In today’s world where we are online 24/7, distractions are a few clicks away.
The ability to focus and concentrate on something requires a massive mental effort but that’s critical for learning new things and achieving the goals you set. Your ability to maintain focus can mean the difference between succeeding and failing, and here are the ways to improve your chances.
Evaluate your mental focus
Before you start looking for ways to improve your mental focus, you should evaluate how strong it is at the present moment. If it’s easy for you to stay alert, break up work in doable chunks and get work done after breaks, then you’re concentration skills are quite good.
However, if you often daydream, are unable to ignore distractions and lose track of your progress, then you should probably work on more on improving your mental focus. It will take some time, but consistent practice will certainly give good results.
People tend to underestimate the impact distractions have in preventing them from concentrating on the work at hand. Intrusions might come from various sources and in different forms, and being able to minimize them isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s as simple as turning off the television, but it gets more challenging to deal with an interrupting spouse, child, co-worker or roommate.
One way to go about this is to allocate a specific time and place for work and inform people you will need to be left alone for that period of time. You can also find a calm location where you know you won’t be disturbed, such as a library or a secluded room in your house.
There are a few strategies you could try to minimize internal distractions – make sure you are well-rested before work, use positive thoughts to fight anxiety and worry, and even bring in some fidget toys to have some outlet. The idea of toys may sound childish, but the bendables that can be twisted around fingers are quite popular fidget toys for adults too!
Mindfulness is focusing your attention on the present moment, and this practice has been proven to rewire the brain and strengthen attention in everyday life. It’s recommended you sit still for a few minutes each day, eyes closed and focus on your breathing as well as the sensations and sounds around you. Practising mindfulness can involve meditation but it can also be a simple practice of deep breathing.
Take a short break
Research shows that taking even very short breaks when you shift your attention elsewhere can significantly improve mental focus. It’s only natural that after a while, your focus will start to break down making it more and more difficult to direct your mental powers to the task. As a result, your performance will ultimately suffer.
Occasional mental breaks are beneficial as they help you shift your attention to something unrelated to work, even if it’s just briefly. These short moments of respite are crucial in allowing you to retain your mental focus and keep your performance high.
Adopt a healthier lifestyle
There’s a direct link between a healthy lifestyle, in particular good sleep, diet and exercise, and improved cognitive ability. When you eat well and do physical exercise, you increase the flow of brain chemicals that develop new brain connections, decrease stress, and improve the quality of sleep.
Also, do not skip your regular visits to the doctor and treat any underlying conditions. Getting older is not something you can stop, but healthier living is something you can consciously choose.
So many things today are competing for our attention and it can get challenging to drown them all out. It does take practice but it is a skill anyone can master. Hopefully, using the tips listed here, you’ll be able to keep things under control, improve your concentration and build your focus. By doing all that, you will soon discover that you are able to accomplish more in life.