From cell phones to television, our world is full of digital noise. This doesn’t even include all the responsibilities of everyday life. It can make it hard to focus on work, school, or reading.
If you have trouble staying focused, don’t stress. Many people can’t concentrate when they’re bored or frustrated about something else. Even happy feelings can be distracting.
Luckily, there are things you can do to stay in focus. Check out these five techniques and tips to train your mind.
5 Ways To Stay Focused
1. Tidy Up
One of the best ways to focus better is to get organized. You don’t even need to go on a cleaning spree. Just tidy things up and you’ll see a difference. It’ll get rid of mess and clutter, making room for concentration.
All it takes is five minutes. Toss away trash and put dirty mugs in the sink. Round up loose papers and put them in a folder – or at least a pile. Stowaway pens, supplies, and other little items in containers or drawers. You’ll be happy you did.
It doesn’t have to be picture-perfect. Instead, the goal is to minimize distractions and clutter. Clearing your space will clear your mind, letting you focus on your work.
2. Make A To-Do List
To focus your mind on what needs to get done, make a to-do list. It’s like a recipe for productivity. A list will keep your priorities in check and ensure that you don’t forget anything.
Seeing the tasks on paper will also emphasize their importance. For some, this is the motivation that’s needed to help them concentrate.
Worried about to-do lists turning into clutter? Use a digital to-do list. But if you’re easily distracted by social media, it may be best to stick to paper. Remember, different things work for different people.
3. Put Away Your Phone
Cell phones have become such a standard part of our lives. You can talk to loved ones, look up directions, and read CureJoy! Unfortunately, they’re also full of interruptions, making it hard to keep the focus going.
If you don’t need your phone for a task, put it away. Your bag, drawer, or another room are all great spots. Even better? Turn it off. All it takes is one text or notification to pull you back in. Before you know it, you’ll be lost in the dark hole of Facebook… again.
If it’s hard to break the habit, give yourself a limit. Set aside five minutes each hour to catch up on messages. You can also use it as a reward system when you complete a task.
When your phone is out of sight, you can learn how to focus on more important things.
4. Don’t Multi-Task
If you want to learn how to focus your mind, avoid multi-tasking. Do one thing at a time. You might be thinking, But don’t you get more done while multi-tasking?
Not necessarily. A study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that heavy multitasking encourages the inability to cut out distractions. In other words, multitasking doesn’t build focus – it destroys it. Interestingly, multi-taskers also can’t switch tasks successfully. This means that it’s hard to completely move on to a new and different responsibility.1 Overall productivity will take a hit.
Multitasking also affects how well each thing is done. Even if you complete a few tasks, you won’t be using your full attention. It even prevents the brain from fully learning new information.2
Meditation might seem like procrastination. But it’s the exact opposite! Taking the time to meditate will teach you how to focus more.
It’s like a practice for your mind. You’re forced to concentrate on something, from breathing to words. Over time, your brain gets better at zeroing in on one thing – and one thing only.
Meditation also relieves stress, which helps you maintain focus.3 Your thoughts will be less likely to distract you. The result is stellar attention and a finished to-do list.
Don’t forget that yoga and pilates double as meditation. These activities release tension in your entire body which will make your attention flourish. New to yoga and pilates? Check out YouTube for beginner-friendly how-to videos.4
Learning how to become more focused takes time and patience. It won’t happen overnight. Don’t be afraid to tweak these tips to fit your lifestyle, goals, and responsibilities. You’ll have a completed checklist in no time.
References [ + ]
|1, 2.||↑||Ophir, Eyal, Clifford Nass, and Anthony D. Wagner. “Cognitive control in media multitaskers.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106, no. 37 (2009): 15583-15587.|
|3.||↑||Meditation: In Depth. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.|
|4.||↑||Pilates and yoga – health benefits. Better Health Channel.|