We are living in an agitated world full of disruption. It takes only one click to get trapped in an endless confusion. Most people complain about a lack of focus; they either don’t know how to develop focus or unable to maintain it.
According to a study on digital distraction by Gloria Mark et. al., at Irvine University, California and The Humboldt University, Berlin, we are interrupted on average every 3 minutes. Once distracted, it can take up to 23 minutes to move back to the initial task, even if the distraction lasts only few seconds. My question is what kind of content these people are focusing on during the 23 minutes?
There are three elements interrelated to consider when talking about focus: the Mind, the Heart, and the Body.
When your mind is focused on positive aspects of life or positive experiences, your heart is affected as it triggers positive emotion. This emotion can be joy, excitement, ambition, or thankfulness. Your
body will act accordingly creating positive actions and results, like great relations, friendships, growth and achievements.
However, when your mind is busy thinking about drama, blame, regret, or spying others then the emotions triggered will be more about stress, frustration, jealousy and guilt. The effect of these emotions are obvious on our life and outcomes. It can be loss of opportunities, failures, mistakes, or conflicts with others.
That’s why before looking at the external solutions, one has to look at the roots or the causes of this lack of focus.
Assessing your focus will give you an idea about how much over the day you are focused on the positive or the negative.
It will help you identify the sources of disruptions and what controls your mind most of the day.
A lot of people are not even aware of what they keep focusing on. They complain about anxiety, stress or lack of time while they may spend more than 3 hours on social networks or on a toxic content.
The most important thing to learn how to develop focus is to assess what you are busy looking at during the day. To do that, start by observing your thoughts and activities on a daily basis for at least one week. Take even notes if necessary as it will help you find patterns, then write down how much time spent on each activity.
5 ASPECTS TO IMPROVE YOUR FOCUS
1.Set up Clear Goals
When you have no idea where you are going, then it becomes very easy to get dispersed in a useless energy and you start losing focus. A mind that wanders is a mind that has no clear direction. Generally, people with clear goals are less likely to get trapped in disruption. They simply don’t have time to spend it on useless activities or listen to non healthy conservations.
I don’t like football but I am impressed whenever I look at people watching a football game. They are so concentrated and involved that they may not even notice your presence as their sole concern is the ball. The football player may also be surrounded by millions of people, but he does not get disturbed by the noise as he is focused on the ball. He may fall, get hurt, be insulted but he will rise again as his main concern is the goal.
When you focus on your goals ignoring the noise, you will grow faster. If you focus on the noise or what people may think about you, then you may lose focus and end up frustrated and overwhelmed.
2. AVOID DISRUPTION
Your disruption can be your negative thoughts, your inner monologue, your words, your bad habits,
useless events, the people around you; it can be technology, social networks or simply your phone. Which one you need to eliminate?
Not all events in your life require your attention, and not everyone is meant to be your friend. Choose to be with the people with whom you share the same dreams and the same values.
You are the average of the five people you are surrounded with.
When cleaning, we are all interested in preserving the objects of value and eliminate those with no more value or attachment. This is how we need to handle our disruption on a daily basis. Make a filter all along your way to keep an eye on the things, events, people, news, content that are in line with your goals. Find your focus but ensure that it is about a positive focus that will guide you towards the expected results.
3. Practice MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is a new meditative approach that proved to have a range of great benefits on focus, on
anxiety, stress, depression, and on our decision making. It is not about stopping the mind from functioning. It is about taking few moments every day to concentrate on one single activity to allow the mind to pause and be present.
Consider the image below. when you keep looking everywhere, your eyes may get blurred and you may even get dizzy. But when you focus on wha
t matters in your life, you may feel less dispersed.
Here some activities that can help you embrace mindfulness:
- Practice mindfulness when eating: focus only on what you are eating, on the tastes, the colors, and the ingredients.
- Take few minutes: pause and observe the environment around you. Try to describe 10 details you would not have otherwise noticed.
- When stressed or overwhelmed, try to write something with your non dominant hand and practice releasing any frustration and judgments.
- Make a list of the things you are grateful for everyday. Try to focus on the present moment without allowing your mind to wander.
- Listen to music and control your thoughts. Try to focus only on the sound, the rhythm and so on.
When you practice mindfulness on a regular basis, you will start feeling a difference in terms of your level of concentration, and your stress.
4. Manage your TIME
Every week you have 168 hours to explore: 56 hours of sleep (8 hours per day), and 56 hours of work. You still have 56 hours to explore. These 56 hours are where the magic can happen. You need less disruption and more focus to explore them as it is where you can plan to learn new things, exercise, meditate or plan for your future goals.
5. Develop SELF-DISCIPLINE
Self-disciple is the fuel that keeps empowering you along your day. Without discipline, you cannot develop focus and you cannot respect your daily engagements.
Physical endurance helped me and can help you in developing self-discipline. If you can conquer your physical being, you can conquer your mental being as well.
You cannot develop focus and take new decisions to improve your life if you are constantly busy with your work, your relations and your phone.
You cannot develop observation, if you don’t give a break to your mind.
You cannot live happier if you keep focusing on the past and the hurt.
“The person who chases two rabbits catches neither.” – Confucius