The ability to focus and stay focused is important in all areas of life, whether it be school, work or quality time spent with family and friends. Focus impacts memory, learning, perception, problem solving, reasoning and decision making. Essentially, focusing effectively means thinking effectively.
Despite its importance, however, the ability to focus can be a difficult skill to harness and elusive at times when deadlines are creeping closer, and the mind instead wants to wander. Determining which factors affect one’s focus the most can be a good place to start when you want to improve this skill. Distractions, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and the environment can all play a part in making the ability to focus harder. If you spend time correcting these, the ability to concentrate will become easier.
Below are some ways to improve focus:
- Remove distractions like cell phones, tablets, streaming devices and stay off social media when you’re working on a project or spending time with someone
- Silence notifications if you need to keep your cell phone near
- Practice meditation and mindfulness to help you ‘live in the moment’
- Reduce multitasking because this tends to stretch your focus and productivity thin
- Take short breaks when you feel like you need them
- Aim for 8+ hours of sleep every night
- Play instrumental music without lyrics
- Keep healthy snacks within reach to keep your mind sharp and your stomach happy
- Set a timer to keep you focused for a period of time then reward yourself with a break or treat when the timer rings
- Switch between tasks when you feel like your mind is starting to wander