Are you constantly struggling to find your zone? Does it feel like you can’t find the switch that will flip the light on? This is common in today’s world. Distractions are constantly vying for our attention, and our focus is split into more directions than can be found on a compass. These issues are often compounded by the stressful results of our lack of focus: incomplete tasks, unfinished work, and the inability to connect with others when your mind is wondering. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can find the switch and get it flipped into the “on” position with a little work.
1. Train Your Brain
Most likely, you have poor focus because you don’t exercise that muscle. Focus isn’t an actual muscle of your body, but much like a muscle, it needs training to work properly and at maximum capacity. Start small by setting a time for yourself to work on one thing for 10 or 15 minutes. Follow that with a 3-minute break. When you can do this successfully, start increasing the length of time that you work for. This will help strengthen your focus muscle.
2. Challenge Yourself
Sometimes losing focus isn’t because we are unable to concentrate; it’s because what you’re working on isn’t intriguing enough. Like a bad movie or book, your mind will wander to find something more interesting. If you have the ability, take on more interesting or challenging work. The challenge of harder work or a more complex task will give your brain something to really focus on and work through instead of wondering around looking for something of more interest.
3. Break the Negative Cycles
Stress and distraction are very often cozy bedfellows. They feed off one another. Stress leads to distraction, which leads to incomplete tasks, which then adds more stress. Find productive forms of stress relief. Physical exertion, reading, or anything that lowers your stress level and allows you to focus. Breaking the cycle of stress and distractions will free up your cognitive resources for focusing and completing tasks, which will, in turn, relieve more of the stress.
Gaining control of your focus is no easy task. It takes time, work, and often considering outside factors (i.e., stress that comes from outside your incomplete task list). Taking the time to reform bad habits, create new positive habits, and challenging yourself to focus more can all result in a changed attitude and the ability to focus on what you need to.