Having loads of work to finish, yet cannot focus. You start scrolling through Instagram and wollah 30 minutes just vanished while your pile of work remains as it was. This scenario is something we all have experienced especially since distractions in today’s world can be just one click away. We all know the role focus plays in productivity. Ask a professional player and he/she would tell you that a second of distraction can be a defining factor between win and loss.
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Fortunately, it’s possible to improve concentration. However, it’ll take time, effort and energy. But before that let us delve into some of the reasons behind that dwindling focus:
- First and foremost, we live in the information age where we are bombarded by loads and loads of information. Switch on a news channel or open social media, you’ll come across tons of new information. And while processing all that, our brain tends to get overburdened, making it easy for us to get distracted.
- Some underlying health conditions can also lead to impaired focus. Such conditions include anxiety, depression, etc.
- Side effects of certain medications, especially for depression and allergies, can hamper your ability to think clearly hence disrupting focus.
- Also, just like everything else, the brain too undergoes wear and tear which could result in a decline in concentration level.
Before venturing into the tips to increase focus, you need to ascertain your present concentration level. You can do a simple exercise for it. Choose a single-person task, such as reading, writing etc. Try to do that task uninterrupted for 30 minutes. Use a timer or a watch to time yourself. In those 30 minutes, determine how much your mind wandered, did you find it uncomfortable to focus and how much did you get your work done in that time. After this exercise, you might get a general idea about how focused you are.
What to do to sharpen focus?
Although not an easy task, here are some tips that might help you sharpen your focus:
- Do away/minimise distractions
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Eliminate distractions to focus more -- this appears to be a complete no-brainer tip. But it is harder than it sounds. Yes, you can switch off the TV or don’t pick up non-urgent calls. But while working from home, how will you deal with interrupting kids, spouse, pets and other family members. An option, choose a quieter workspace, such as a library, a study or even the balcony.
- Inner noise
External noise is still easier to deal with. What would you do with all that stress, anxiety and worry chattering about in your head and making you distracted? Fortunately, there are things you can do about it. Sleep helps with stress, so make sure you are well-rested before you start a task. Start the day with a positive affirmation. And when overwhelmed, pour it out in a journal.
Being in the moment can manage all those inner voices. Ruminating about the past or worrying about the future -- is an overused trope, however, it is true. Being mindful helps you focus on things that are important and keeps all those distractions at bay.
- No to multitasking
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We know how multitasking can be interpreted as being productive, but it does the opposite. Multitasking divides your focus and you are prone to miss out on crucial information. And all that hustle associated with multitasking leaves you exhausted and rattled. So save your laser-sharp focus for a single task at a time and get lots done while being calm, relaxed and energised.
- Healthy lifestyle
Where to begin with this one? Among its many benefits, one is that it helps sharpen your focus. And you know the feeling when you are sleep-deprived. You feel tired, exhausted and lack the focus to do anything. Juxtaposed to that, a well-rested mind can help you ace all those tests. The same is the case with exercise. It clears your mind, leaves you more energetic and helps you focus. So make it a habit to sleep for 6 to 8 hours each day and exercise for about 30 minutes.
There are and there will be distractions around us, which will impact our focus and productivity. But there are tricks to deal with them. But these will only work if you persistently put in the effort. So just breathe, relax, and with patience ace the concentration game.
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