In an ever changing and fast-paced world, we often get easily distracted by all the events that are happening around us. This is in addition to all the other things listed down in our workloads which also gets us confused on what to do first.
A simple five-letter word yet something that most of us find difficult to do. It is difficult yet very important in our cognitive development and in learning. According to IRMP Consulting, a program which deals mainly with Relationship Management Skills for Managers, Focus is the “gateway to all thinking, be it perception, memory, learning, reasoning, problem solving, and decision making.” Without it, all aspects of your ability to think will suffer.
If you’re someone who happens to have difficulty to find focus, this article is for you. Here are six (6) tips on how to improve your mental focus in multiple aspects of your life:
Assess your Mental Focus
Before going through the different steps in improving your focus, we first need to know how strong your mental focus is. Verywellmind.com gives situations wherein you can assess whether your focus or good or needs more work.
If you think that you relate more to the first set of statements, then, your concentration skills must already be good but could be even better with a little more practice. On the other hand, you’ll be needing a lot more work if you relate with the second set of statements.
After assessing yourself, you may now proceed on how you can now work on your focus and how much practice you’re going to do depending on your assessment. The following items in this article will help you.
Try to Eliminate Distractions
Although this might be an obvious step in improving your focus, this is also a very important step to take. There are 2 kinds of distraction that you encounter while working – the external and internal distractions.
Let’s start with the external distractions. These are distractions often caused by a change in the state of your surroundings such as noise coming from a radio or television while you’re working or someone who will try to chat with you while studying. To minimize these, turn off anything that produces noise which can distract you. If it’s a colleague or classmate, you may request the person to let you be left alone for that period. You may also try to choose a place where there is little to nothing that will distract you like a private room in the house or a quiet coffee shop. Now, there are work hubs that cater to people who are looking for a good environment to work or study on.
It is not always the external factors that distract you. Sometimes, we often get lost in our own thoughts. To minimize internal distractions, make sure you are well-rested before performing your task and use positive imagery to shake off anxiety and worry. Should you find yourself wandering towards distracting thoughts, try to bring your focus back to your current task.
Limit your Focus
In a previous article (READ HERE: https://tlrc.upcebu.edu.ph/breaking-up-with-multitasking-while-learning-online/) , we have discussed how multitasking isn’t very helpful in productivity and how not many people are doing it effectively. This is because we are doing so much in a small amount of time that we lose to focus on the more important details per task. As a result, the quality of your work or product is often compromised. To improve mental focus, you need to make the most out of your attention as its resources are limited. Try to budget your attention in a way that you get to finish a task before getting distracted with another.
Be fully mentally engaged in the current moment and put away physical and psychological distractions. Being present is important in “recapturing” your mental focus since this will keep your attention sharp and your mental resources centered in on the details that matter in a specific time. Stop thinking on how to change the past and worrying about the future. Obviously, you cannot undo what has happened and the future is yet to come but what you can do today can help you avoid past mistakes and pave the way for a better future.
Take Short Breaks
According to verywellmind.com, researchers found that taking short breaks by shifting your attention to elsewhere significantly improves your mental focus. When you are trying to focus on a task in a long period of time, your focus will start to break down. This is because your attentional resources are being depleted and more so with the brain’s tendency to ignore sources of constant simulation. This leads to poor performance of your tasks. Try to give yourself occasional mental breaks and shift your attention to something unrelated to the task at hand once in awhile and even for a few minutes.
Improving and building mental focus does not happen in a blink of an eye. You must acknowledge and accept how being distracted affects your life. Should you find yourself getting sidetracked by unnecessary details, it’s probably time to place a higher value on your time. This will sure take plenty of time and practice, but it’ll be all worth it.
Do you have any other tips for the readers on improving mental focus? Let us know in the comments below!
Links to Resources and Further Reads: