In a world where distraction is becoming more of a problem; social media buzzing away in our pockets, it can be difficult to focus on the things we need to do. We all have deadlines and time frames we have to work with, making the ability to focus a useful skill. I used to be lazy, putting things off to the last minute making them harder to do under the restrictions of time. These days I’m getting things done early.
Assess Your Mental Focus
The ability to concentrate despite distraction, boredom or fatigue is a skill that requires a lot of self-discipline. Can you focus on a task no matter what is going on around you or do you find your mind wandering away? Do you know how to deal effectively with intrusive thoughts? Although the amount of time a person can concentrate on a specific task will vary, there are ways to lengthen this span.
Start by creating an environment in which you’re less tempted to get preoccupied with something other than what you’re working on.
Focus on One Thing at a Time
A long list of things to do can feel insurmountable and leave us feeling overwhelmed. We’re ready to give up before we start, and that’s when it becomes easy to give in to distractions. You can offset this by giving yourself 3 objectives to accomplish every day. Write them on a sticky note and post it where you can see it every time you look up from your work.
By limiting the number of daily goals, you’ll have clearly defined what you need to work on. You’ll work with greater intention on those tasks and your mind will be less apt to stray.
Ask yourself every morning: What are the three most important things to accomplish today?
Live in the Moment
Whatever you’re doing, right now, learn to focus completely on doing that one thing. Pay attention: to every aspect of what you’re doing, to your body, to the sensations, to your thoughts.
You will notice your thoughts, if you’re paying attention, jump to other things. That’s OK — you are not trying to force all other thoughts from your mind. But by becoming aware of that jumping around in your thoughts, you have found the tool for gently bringing yourself back to your present task. Just notice the jumping thoughts, and lovingly come back.