In a world full of distractions, staying consistent and learning how to focus on your ambitions can be challenging. Achieving success can be a tremendous task if countless diversions are just a click away from us.
From social media notifications to the latest news updates, we are ever ready to be entangled in the endless loop of wasting our precious time.
While constantly juggling all our responsibilities, we are rarely able to get important things done the way we expect them to be completed. Instead of blaming everything on the randomness of life, most failures can be attributed to our lack of focus and improper direction of our energy.
If you continue to be diverted from what is vital for yourself, it won’t lead to any significant development in your life, and you’ll be trapped in the loop of procrastination.
If you feel the same way and can’t seem to get over it, then don’t worry. This article will explain all the vital strategies you can use to improve your concentration for the better.
What is the Meaning of Staying Focused?
Staying focused means diverting all your attention to the task at hand. When you know you have an important task, all your efforts concentrate on completing the job and getting the best possible results.
Apart from that, it also means excluding anything that might interfere with completing your work. Whether it be your feelings, ideas, or the endless notifications on your smartphone, anything that causes you to divert from your objective prevents you from staying focused.
People think they can multitask through different tasks all at once. However, this isn’t actually productive enough when you consider that dividing your concentration will only lead to diversion, misinterpretation, and other numerous errors you can make.
You should work efficiently towards your goals with proper heed instead of daydreaming. Surprisingly Harvard scientists found that we spend around 47% of our time wandering our minds during the day.
So staying focused might seem straightforward, but it isn’t as easy as it appears. Being frequently distracted awfully affects productivity. And If we aren’t concentrated enough to properly manage all the information thrown our way, it might lead to severe consequences in our professional and personal lives.
To counter this problem, let’s see what factors affect our focus and how we can manage them efficiently.
Factors that Impact our Focus:
Some days, we are fresh and active and feel like zeroing in on every task that comes our way. Some days we feel down and low and wonder how to focus on our goals.
Rest assured that this happens with everybody; you aren’t the only person who can feel his concentration levels swaying up and down.
A lot many factors can affect your focus. And as your ability to concentrate is considered an important indicator of your intelligence, understanding these factors can help you improve your retention power even more.
It is well proven by research that sleep deprivation causes a negative effect on both our attention and working memory. This leads to lower alertness levels and reduced concentration after waking up.
This causes you to perform your tasks poorly by being unable to use your cognitive potential to its fullest.
It’s essential to be well nourished and hydrated to have a good focus on your job. If not, your brain won’t have the necessary fuel to function right. And you might feel fatigued or experience your memory becoming weak.
Also, diets deficient in specific nutrients cause you to be distracted due to unnecessary cravings or hunger pangs. So, it’s essential to get your diet right.
3. Physical Activity
The amount of daily physical activity you do also determines your attention span and concentration a lot. The more active you are, the better your brain functioning is.
So if you are sleeping all day and becoming a couch potato, you are bound to be less focused and concentrated than your active counterparts.
4. Your Work Environment
Your work environment also determines how much you can focus on your work. If distractions surround your workstation, it can be challenging to keep your mind from wandering away.
From office gossip to poor lighting, every little thing that diverts your attention can affect your productivity.
How To Stay Focused: 9 Tips For Solid Focus And Productivity
Now you know how these factors can limit your productivity. So what can help you improve your focus better? There are plenty of ways you can master this skill, but the important ones are described below:
1. Tracking Your Time
It’s easy to be mistaken about how much time you spend working on different tasks during the day. Research shows that only a small proportion of people have an accurate sense of time.
You might think you have a good orientation of how much time you spend on work during the day. But once you start keeping real track of time, you come to realize that you’re wasting a lot more than being productive.
To start with improving focus, first, you should improve your time-tracking skills. For this, keep a journal or simply use a notepad on your smartphone.
Enlist all the activities you do during the day as you do them. Define the starting time and finishing times of each task.
This way, you will have an accurate record of your day.
An excellent example of this is the following template
Once you get used to this journaling technique, you can record in your mind automatically what time you spend doing productive work.
You will have a greater sense of time management and point out the times of the day when you are the most unproductive or unfocused.
Apart from that, you can also incorporate the Pomodoro technique in which you set 20-minute timers to give undivided attention to your tasks at hand.
After the 20 minutes are over, you take a small break and set the time again for another burst of focused work.
This way, you will stay concentrated on your tasks and not waste time on distractions.
2. Outlining Your Daily Objectives and Goals
An excellent way to stay focused during your whole day is to outline the goals and objectives you want to achieve. To help with that, you can use the SMARTER methodology of goal-setting.
Once you clarify your priorities, you can easily see which important tasks you need to pay time to.
This way, you can actively work towards completing your goals and not be distracted during the day. And when you break down your smart goals into bite-sized steps, you can work on them efficiently without being overwhelmed.
Achieving small milestones daily gives you positive feedback and motivates you even more to remain concentrated and optimize your productivity.
3. Taking Breaks More Often
Taking breaks between work might sound absurd when you want to concentrate. But remember that you can only stay focused for a short stretch.
If you keep on working consistently, you are likely to exhaust yourself. You will notice decreasing efficacy, burnout, and fatigue the more you linger on a task.
You can curb this problem by taking short and consistent breaks while performing your task. They don’t have to be an hour long. Only 5-10 minutes of rest is more than enough to refocus on your task.
Applying this tip allows you to relax, recharge, and experience improved mental concentration for the next stretch of giving undivided attention.
4. Turn Off Your Notifications:
Your phone is the biggest distraction in this era. Recent studies have shown that young people spend an average of 5.5 hours per day staying hooked to social media. That’s almost a third of the daily active hours of a person.
Turning off your social media notifications and keeping your phone hidden during productive hours is a great way to retain your focus. This advice is golden for anyone looking to concentrate when working or studying.
According to researchers from Harvard, your mental capacity becomes significantly better when you keep your phone out of your sight. This increased cognitive ability helps you learn, develop creative ideas and concentrate better on your problems.
So by doing this, you will save yourself from unnecessary pop-ups and prevent you from facing unnecessary noise.
6. Move Yourself
Believe it or not but an unhealthy lifestyle with little to no physical activity proves to be detrimental to your memory and mental performance.
Exercising at least one hour 3-4 times a week is a must for everyone. Even scientific research proves that people who exercise and participate in sports have better cognition and well-being than those with poor physical health.
If you take out time to exercise, you will see a significant increase in your focusing abilities. This is due to the release of essential neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that elevate your mood and improve attention and focus.
7. Improving Your Sleep
Most of the time, you may be so stressed about getting work done that you neglect your sleep. This self-destructive habit deteriorates not only your health but also your ability to work the next day efficiently.
Apart from this, many other factors, like using your mobile phone or watching TV late at night, can hamper your duration and quality of sleep. Using your mobile phone just for 30 minutes after turning the lights off is associated with daytime sleepiness and fatigue, preventing you from staying focused.
These devices emit blue light radiation that stimulates your eye retina and prevents the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle.
Therefore ensure you get a minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep every night. A short daytime nap can also give a quick boost to your productivity.
8. Eating a Well-Balanced Diet:
A diet rich in vegetables and fruits is not only refreshing for the body but also superb for your mind as well.
These foods abundant in fiber, fruits, and vegetables have a low glycemic index, meaning that they are digested slowly and provide a continuous supply of glucose, unlike processed sugary foods that spike your levels temporarily.
Limit the intake of sugary foods and drinks and prefer superfoods like blueberries, broccoli, and walnuts that not only repair your brain cells but also help improve your memory.
9. Listen to Focus Music
You might not have come across this one before, but playing music might help you concentrate better when doing your tasks.
Not just any music, though. You want music that helps aid in your concentration. Research shows that listening to classical music helps absorb new information more easily.
Similarly, deep-focus music that doesn’t have lyrics helps you change to a more alert cognitive state.
You can get easily distracted when working in noisy surroundings or complete silence. Most of us have experienced getting sleepy in pin-drop silence before. To curb this, you can listen to various such playlists available on youtube and see how it suits you.
10. Organize Your Workspace
Clutter is also a big distraction. Working in a messy space where you don’t know where you’re things are can hinder concentrating on your tasks.
If you don’t have a dedicated workspace, you automatically put yourself up for diversions. Working in a new place every time is a big distraction as it takes you time to adjust to every new setting.
Creating an efficient and productivity-boosting work setup doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Taking a little time to organize your work area can improve your focus manifolds.
In order to concentrate on what is in front of you, your environment should be ergonomic and conducive to your productivity. If you don’t have a defined office space, you can use desk organizers and other helpful equipment to keep your things in order.
Clearing the triggers in your environment in this way helps you feel comfortable and more eager to concentrate and meet the deadlines of your work.
Final Words on How to Focus Properly:
Whether working from home or in your office, developing a solid focus strategy may take you some time.
Many things can affect your productivity, and to counter that, using the mentioned strategies will help you add some structure to your routine.
A proper well-focused routine develops through trial and error. But the results you will obtain will be well worth it. The better you can focus using these techniques, the more you can improve yourself gradually.
This will arouse the urge to become more and more productive. And eventually, these strategies will become second nature to you.
Let me know what you think of these strategies.
If you have some of your own, let us know in the comments! We’ll be happy to hear your approach to being hyper-focused on your tasks 🙂