In the digital age there is a battle for our attention. From social media, to the news, to netflix, everyone is in the business of attention. The main goals; how can we get your attention and how long can we keep it? What does this mean for you? It means today is the most difficult day in the history of the world to maintain your own focus. The battle for our attention is only ramping up content creation continues to grow every day. Starting today, begin your own battle to gain ownership of your attention back. Gaining ownership of your focus back is an invaluableself-improvementobjective and has a continuous return on investment. .
In order to gain your focus back, you need to have an understanding of where your attention is being taken away from you. Are you mindlessly picking up your phone, scrolling through social media, or clicking links with click-baiting headlines? Perhaps you just turned on netflix, are staring at emails, or are getting lost in Reddit. For the next half hour start paying attention to what you are doing. Take note. Now that you understand where your attention is being directed, take mental notes each time you do one of these distracting activities.
A great way to keep your focus is to have a goal that you are working towards. State this goal to yourself in detail. Perhaps you need to complete a task at work, write an article for your blog, or you’re trying to pay the bills. Often times the more boring the task, the less willpower we have to avoid distractions. We want to be distracted. However, then we lose productivity and our task list remains the same. What task are you currently trying to complete? Be explicit with your goal and write it down on paper. Next to the task, write the purpose of it and what completing this task will do for you. Having a purpose makes it more meaningful and more likely to be accomplished.
This step is incredibly important. If you start a task with the only goal being completion, the time it could take is endless. What sounds more appealing; working until you finish all of your emails or responding to emails for the next half hour? The latter is much more achievable and realistic. When we don’t have an achievable target on our task, we are more likely to get distracted. Set a time limit, work for that duration, then reward yourself with a short break. Using this method allows you to put off distractions knowing that you can check in on them during your break. This is a great way to improve focus at work. Set time limits to your tasks and take small, rewarding breaks.
Distractions are endless. There are distractions at work, there are the distractions of social media, there are visual distractions, and audial distractions. The distractions of life are everywhere. So it is vitally important to limit as many as possible. Take the necessary steps to eliminate the larger distractions. Turn off your cell phone and put it in another room, close all internet tabs, avoid emails, etc. Many of us pride ourselves with being “multitaskers”. However, being a multitasker is a myth. We can truly only work on one task at a time. So when we jump back and forth between our phone, our emails, etc. We lose focused attention on the task at hand. Take the necessary steps to limit as many distractions as possible.
Countlessstudies have been performed showing the benefits of listening to music while studying/working. It can help improve focus, concentration, and retention. While any music can help, I would recommend music without lyrics as the lyrics themselves can be a distraction. Use classical music, spa music, or use Spotify where they have curated playlists specific to improve focus.
Meditation has been shown to be incredibly helpful for improving focus. By helping to calm the mind and eliminate the circus that goes on in our own heads, we create more space to focus on the task at hand. The good news here is that there are unlimited free resources available for guided meditations. You can use an app likeCalmor find awebsite that provides quick guided meditations. Below are a few quick links to search for guided meditations to help improve focus.
As mentioned at the beginning, the battle for your attention is only getting worse. Start taking the steps today to gain control over your focus and lend it out at your own discretion. Recognize when it is being pulled away from you and regain ownership. I hope the tips above help you in the quest for regaining your focus.
For more tips on personal development, make sure to check out all of our blog posts.