Guest Post: Diana Smith
Life is getting faster and faster every day, and it’s getting harder to focus on a single thing. Everything around us is moving so fast, getting louder and changing constantly. This means that our concentration and focus is constantly low, and even when we should be relaxing and enjoying peace, our minds are working and thinking about things that we have yet to do. But not all hope is lost, and with a little bit of work, we can get our concentration back and boost our efficiency.
Get enough rest
We often feel like we can’t focus if we haven’t had enough sleep. Our minds are exhausted and even the smallest tasks seem like they are taking forever. A task that might take you an hour to do while exhausted could take half that time if you just give yourself a 15-minute break. Try to get as much sleep as you can at night, and rest during the day when you feel tired. This means both resting your body by taking a nap or sitting down, or resting your mind by just enjoying a cup of tea in peace.
Do you sometimes find it hard to focus in a stuffy room? This is because when our brains are deprived of oxygen, they don’t function as well. When we yawn, we’re actually doing it to give a boost of oxygen to our brain and wake us up. But sitting down for long periods of time can also decrease oxygen levels. Try to always work in a well-ventilated space and take short exercise breaks whenever you feel drowsy.
Make detailed lists
To-do lists are your best friend and the more detailed you make them, the better you will be able to focus. If we don’t have a precise task that we are doing at each moment, we will wander from one task to another and never complete anything. But if you know exactly what task – or which part of that task – you’re on, it will be easier to focus on completing that and it will give you a much bigger sense of reward when you are done and you cross it off.
Be aware of your surroundings
If people develop a habit of working in the same place or position as when they are resting, it blurs the line between the two. Make sure you never work in bed, or lounging, because then you will feel like you are not actually working, and you will feel less focused. Try to sit up straight, and if you work from home, do it from a room that is not your bedroom or a lounge room to get yourself in a working mentality.
Noise can make us lose our focus, but music can actually help us regain it. Different music affects people differently, but if you are having trouble focusing, maybe music is the thing you’re lacking. Use high-quality headphones to listen to music and block out the surrounding noise at the same time. If you feel like music is distracting you, try taking breaks from it, or switching to a different track or genre.
Yes, it’s harder now to focus than it once was, but we are still the only ones that are in charge of our minds, and we can control what we focus on. Try not to rush yourself but reward yourself when you’ve successfully completed a task. A focused mind means that you will experience less stress and you will get your tasks done sooner. If you work with other people, you can try organizing group meditation or exercise sessions, or simply make sure that when you see someone struggling to focus, you tell them to take a break and recollect themselves.