Focus and concentration are increasingly important to our lives but are also increasingly difficult to achieve. Here are a few tips for staying focused!
Focus and concentration are difficult to maintain. Today our worlds are full of distractions, making it hard to concentrate. That's why it's all the more rewarding to sharpen your mind and focus your attention on the things that really matter.
What is focus?
Experts often define focus as an act of deliberately focusing on something. However, being aware of one thing also means ignoring other things. Selection plays a crucial role in focus.
Focus is the key to productivity as we are able to complete tasks more quickly.
Why can't we focus?
It isn't that we have trouble focusing- it's that we have trouble deciding. Healthy people are always capable of focusing, as long as they don't give in to distractions. When we choose what to focus on, it is important to think about deadlines. When deadlines are looming, it is urgent that we sit down and get our tasks accomplished. The pressure of urgent work allows us to concentrate.
Instead of doing one thing after the other, we do tend to multitask. At first, multitasking sounds good. Instead of just doing one job, we do several at the same time. Unfortunately, while we can do many tasks at one time, we can only really focus on one. When we multitask, our concentration jumps around, and it usually doesn't usually jump around smoothing. For example- if you quickly check your smartphone while doing something else, it takes you a minute to refocus on your first task when you're done. If you check your messages and emails every five minutes, you actually lose 12 minutes an hour.
Tips for more focus
We can stop our tendency to multitask by measuring our progress. We often lose focus because we have no feedback. The brain wants to see the progress we make.
Seeing our progress used to be easier. A farmer could quickly glance at how much of his field was ploughed to see his progress. When we sit at a computer, it is a lot harder to find out how far we've come.
For this reason, it is important to find ways to measure our progress. Measuring our progress shouldn't be a judgement of ourselves, but a way to see how far we've come. We can only improve if we know where we are to begin with.
Measuring does not have to be complicated. Even just drawing an "X" on the calendar can be a way to track our progress. The goal is then simply to keep going!
There are many ways to improve one's concentration. Here are a few ideas and suggestions:
That is relatively self-explanatory - leave your phone in another room or turn it off. This helps keep emails and other distractions away
Choose a task every day that is the absolute most important for the day. Of course, you can also have other tasks on your list, but this anchor task is an absolute, non-negotiable must-have first task. This anchor keeps the rest of the day structured.
Pay attention to your energy levels
It's easier to manage our energy levels than our time. This means we should tackle certain activities that need our full attention at the time of day when we have the most energy. Managing our time better is not effective. It doesn't matter if you have time if you don't have energy!
No matter which of these suggestions you use, concentrate on just one thing and see it through to the finish, eliminating distractions to help yourself out.