Do you find it hard or challenging to concentrate or stay focused at times? Are you constantly bombarded by distractions making it hard to stay productive?
If your focus and concentration aren't what you would like them to be, you're not alone. Unfortunately, we live in a world that has taught us many ways to distract ourselves. In fact, most of us are probably pretty good at finding distractions and keeping ourselves busy; however, these distractions probably aren't always productive.
There's a big difference between occasionally being distracted and constantly procrastinating. Some of these distractions might be comfortable, entertaining, or even fun, but when they get in the way of your progress and productivity, they can seriously hurt your chances of achieving your goals.
It's so easy to get distracted by the constant stream of digital technology and media vying for your attention. I've had many occasions where I've avoided tasks, I should've been doing by distracting myself with less important things like spending too much time surfing the internet or on social media; thus, I ended up procrastinating or doing things at the last minute.
I've also found that being unable to focus or concentrate has kept me from getting things done on time and made tasks seem harder than they are when my mind wanders all day.
I'm sure you can relate!
Yes, distractions are inevitable; however, you can train your mind to strengthen your focus and concentration which are essential skills needed for your well-being.
Here are five strategies to strengthen your focus and concentration for greater productivity:
1. Schedule your most difficult tasks at optimal times.
Most people have an optimal time of day for focusing. When possible, schedule tasks that require intense concentration during this time. Save less demanding work for other times of the day. One benefit is that you'll have more energy when your mind is at its best and you won't get burned out as quickly as if you were working on it all day long or you when you'll already expended all your energy.
2. Be Intentional.
A great way to bring out your focused side is through intentionality. You can be intentional about the tasks you decide to work on, and when you are, it's much easier to keep yourself on track. You first must set clear goals for the things you want to do and decide what you’re going to accomplish before you begin a task. Also, decide the following:
How long you are going to work on it?
What is the endpoint?
Is it completion or a specific amount of time?
When you put intentionality behind what you want to accomplish, you'll be able to concentrate and stay focused on the task at hand, so you can complete it before moving on to something else.
3. Set a Timer.
If you want to get more done, try setting a timer for the appropriate amount of time and focus on completing the task with no distractions before the timer runs out. You can use this technique when you need to stay on task or practice mindfulness to help strengthen your focus and concentration. This method is also a way to organize your day by setting aside time to accomplish specific tasks. Remember setting a timer is an easy way to avoid distractions and keep you on track.
4. Practice Focusing Daily.
Concentration and focus are skills that you gain with practice. One way to avoid being distracted is to be good at focusing on your daily tasks, routines and conversations. Think about it, you're either focused or distracted every moment of the day. So take time to focus on task like brushing your teeth, eating, working out, and driving, etc. Also, the practice of listening is another great skill to strengthen your focus. When speaking with others, put all of your attention into your conversations instead of worrying about what you're going to say next or thinking about something else.
5. Take Breaks.
Most people cannot focus intently for hours at a time. The brain itself is not hardwired to do so. Therefore, taking breaks is critical to your productivity and essential for your health and well-being because it helps you to avoid burnout and exhaustion. Research has shown that people who take regular breaks are more productive and better able to focus than those who don't.
How often should you take a break?
Some people find that taking a 5-minute break every 30 minutes gives them the chance to regroup and refocus on the task at hand. This strategy can be especially helpful if you're working on something that requires intense concentration or mental stamina (like writing). It's also great if you tend to get easily distracted by things like email notifications or social media updates. Other people prefer taking longer breaks every couple of hours. Experiment with what works best for you—and adjust as needed!
Now that you know ways to increase your focus, concentration and productivity, the next step is to act. Action always leads to growth, so when you start to see improvements in your focus, concentration, and productivity, it will motivate you to continue applying these strategies. Before you know it, they'll become habits, which will lead you confidently on the path towards higher levels of productivity.