We’ve all had trouble with focus sometimes. Whether you are at work, working from home, or simply trying to focus on a task around the house or even an enjoyable hobby, it’s easy to feel your attention start to wander or your interest wane. Most of us even struggle to focus on a TV show or a movie sometimes, finding that we end up scrolling through social media feeds, only ever giving the narrative half of our attention.
This lack of focus can mean that you are never giving anything your best. Your work, relationships, and happiness can start to suffer, and your stress levels begin to rise. You might find that tasks take much longer to complete than they should and that by not giving things your full focus, you have less free time.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways to keep your attention where it needs to be, boosting productivity and performance and reducing stress and mistakes. Here’s a look at some of the best.
Perhaps the most basic way to keep your attention where it needs to be, whether working, watching TV, or talking with a friend, is to remove the obvious distractions. Leave your smartphone in a different room or turn off notifications. If you are working, close the office door, or find a time to work when your home is quieter. You can even tell people around you that you need to concentrate and ask them to leave you in peace for a predetermined time.
Apps can be enormously distracting and are probably high on the list of things that steal your attention and take it away from where it needs to be. But, sometimes recognizing that apps are the problem and confronting it head-on, using other apps to boost focus and productivity, and help you stop procrastinating is the best way to deal with it.
If you want to use an app to block distracting websites and apps so that you can still use your smartphone or computer to work without accessing social media, streaming services, or other distracting sites, BlockSite can be helpful. If you need to know how to stay focused at work, BlockSite makes it easy. Simply add sites and apps to a block list, set a schedule or target, and start work. You’ll still have your cell close in case you need it. You could even still use it for work, but you won’t be able to access any of those distractions.
List-making apps can also help you focus on managing your time more effectively and setting clear goals for your day. You may even find something as simple as an alarm helpful.
Practice the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro technique is a researched-backed tool that will make holding your attention much easier. Research shows that we can naturally only give something our full focus for around 25-30 minutes and that after that time, our attention will wander, and the pull of distractions will become stronger. You might work to your best for 25 minutes, but your performance will start to decrease after that.
The Pomodoro Technique says that you should work for 25 minutes before taking a 5-minute break. You could use this break to check social media, stretch your legs, or get a quick drink or snack. Then, get back to work with focus restored. The theory is that while you take more breaks, you get far more done while you are working.
Get Plenty of Rest
Have you ever noticed that you find it much harder to concentrate for long periods when you are tired? After a poor night’s sleep, you might find it hard to focus even for a short time, as your attention wanders and your mind clouds over. Getting plenty of rest and practicing good sleep routines can mean paying attention is far easier.
We’ve all lost focus when we’re hungry. Being hungry affects your mood, your attention span, and your energy levels. You’ll never work at your best if you are hungry. But, eating the wrong things can be a mistake too. Too much sugar or caffeine, and you might find it harder to stay focused on one thing, instead, your mind jumps quickly from thought to thought. Eat big, heavy meals, and you’ll feel sluggish and tired, as though you need a nap.
Focus on energy-boosting snacks and light meals while you are working, saving heavy meals for when you are ready to relax.
Multitasking is often talked about as a good thing, and some people are great at it. But, it isn’t always great for productivity. It’s usually better to entirely focus on one thing, giving it your full attention and completing the task well before moving on, instead of trying to do everything at once and doing nothing well.
By using some of these tools and practicing these techniques, you can almost make focus a habit. Soon, you’ll be so used to committing your attention to where it needs to be that it feels more natural, and the pull of distractions becomes a thing of the past.