Trouble Focusing? Here’s habits you need to learn!

By Jinhuang Saw | Education

May 20

Distractions come in many shapes and sizes. Regardless, all distractions ruin your focus.

For me, I could be sitting at my desk, immersed in my work, and then have my phone go off and completely ruin my focus.

There are three main types of distractions:

Phones, People, Our minds

I will give you some tips to help avoid distraction from each of these.We have all been told from time to time to multi-task so that more work can be accomplished in less time. 

What if I tell you that you have been fooled and focusing on a single task at a time is actually the right way to do things?

How to focus your mind on one thing? Here is a list to follow that will get your mind laser-focused on your task.

1. Do One Thing at a Time

What’s Stopping You: Technology

The average length of time they could concentrate on what they were studying? Three minutes. The culprit? Technology. Every time something bings, beeps, or flashes, you’re no longer 100% focused on what you were doing. 

The Fix: Turn Off Your Notifications

With that in mind, the next time you sit down to focus, turn off your notifications for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, email, Dropbox, Tinder—that’s right, every last one. 

Try it, even for a day or just a few hours. Turn off anything that breaks your attention, including your Wi-Fi if possible. And then (hopefully) you’ll notice that the world didn’t stop when the notifications did. But you did happen to get a lot more accomplished.

2. Group Similar Tasks

What’s Stopping You: Your Job Involves a Variety of Tasks

Let me guess: You wear a lot of hats at work. That’s the norm now. It can take 15 minutes or more to regain the same intense focus or flow as before the interruption. 

So, every time you switch tasks, your brain needs at least that amount of time to get back into the work. If you switch tasks just four times in a morning, that’s an hour of total focus you’ve lost.

The Fix: Batching Your Work

“Batching” builds off the idea of only working on one kind of task at a time. Rather than jumping from one project to another, you do all related tasks in a set amount of time. By “batching” the work you have to accomplish, you don’t have to constantly shift gears. 

3. Focus on the Present

What’s Stopping You: Daydreaming

Paying attention to the work at hand, instead of daydreaming about what will come of that work, is always a challenge. Too often, we get sucked into imagining that what we’re working on will become the next big thing or go viral or make us millions. While it’s a nice thought, it’s also not getting you any closer to making it a reality. 

The Fix: The Pomodoro Method

The Pomodoro method is the notion that short, but laser-focused, bursts of attention lead to much greater productivity. It’s simple—you set a timer for 25 minutes, you turn off or silence all other distractions, and you work on a single task. When the time’s up, you can take a short break (for daydreaming) before moving onto another task.

4. Give Yourself a Break

What’s Stopping You: You Think You’re a Robot

Too many productivity tips don’t take this into account: We need to sleep, eat, take breaks, and move. As humans, our attention spans need variety, and we can’t always control our thoughts or motivations. No matter how motivated or focused you are, you can’t stay that way forever. 

The Fix: Act Like a Human

It might seem counterproductive, but I’m much more likely to get my work done quickly (and well), if I take breaks away from my desk. Studies back this up. Whether you’re taking nature walks, doing five minutes of stretching, or sitting on the porch and drinking coffee (instead of slurping it while compulsively working), all of those breaks contribute to being able to focus better.

That’s it. No special programs, secret life hacks, or pricey apps. You simply need to give your brain a task, space, and rest—it will reward you for it by giving you productivity.

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