So how do you stay focused in a world like ours where being distracted is the current reality?
If you cannot gain or maintain your focus, you stand to lose a lot. Whether you know it or not, there is so much at stake – your productivity, ability to keep tabs on where you’re headed in life, your physical and mental health – so much.
These tips to help you stay focused will help you in the following ways:
- Focus on your goals and avoid distractions
- Help you to stop getting distracted by your thoughts
- Help you to stay focused on your goals
Here are some proven steps to maintaining your focus. As is a regular theme of my blog and profession, some of these tips focus inward, while others focus on activities. Ideally, it would help if you implemented both sets of recommendations.
Learn to set aside time to disconnect from the noise, the news, social media – everything! Your mental health is central to your ability to focus, and if you keep bombarding your mind by exposing it to so much, there’s no way you will gain control. You will be moved by everything happening around, always trying to keep up.
Disconnect! A few days of missing the news (positive or negative) won’t hurt. If you take a break from social media, it won’t be broken by the time you come back. But if you don’t, you might!
Be careful what you expose yourself to. What you’re feeding your mind may just be breaking you down, and distracting you, more than it is helping you.
As you disconnect, reach inside you and find the things that truly matter to you in your work, relationships, career, and so on. Then set some goals in these areas and go to work on them.
Take Some Time To Regenerate
The point above focuses on ‘resting’ your mind from the many things that cloud it. This point focuses on resting your body. Sometimes the most remarkable thing you can do is to take a break from the many activities that crowd your day. That time away usually helps you rethink so many things and refocus.
If you have to go on a vacation, do so. That time away will help you reprioritise your life and involvement. Studies have shown that when you are low on energy, it’s very easy to be distracted – you become quick to lose focus. So find time to recharge.
If you cannot take a vacation because of work, use the weekends judiciously. Many people spend the entire week looking forward to the weekends. Then when they enter the weekends, already drained of energy, they immerse themselves in a lot of other activities.
Activities outside of work can be great for your mind, but sometimes, you have to rest from all things ‘activities.’ So learn to ‘cool down.’ Take a real break on some weekends.
Learn To Say No
Being able to say ‘no’ is one of your biggest superpowers if I may. But many people fail to use it. Some people are so weak they can’t even say no.
Let’s put it this way so you’ll understand the importance of not accepting everything thrown at you. You only have twenty-four hours a day (like everybody else). You also only have so much that you can do and so much (or limited) resources for doing what you should.
You can either use that time, energy, and resources to help everyone else live their lives while you drown in yours, or you can devote the bulk of that time, energy, and resources to living your life. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for helping people. I’m a physician and won’t go anywhere in my career if I don’t truly have the heart to help people.
I’m not telling you not to help. I’m saying you should understand the balance between self-care and sacrificing yourself for others. Giving yourself wholly to one of the two will break you. To live a fulfilled life, you need both; but you must have a healthy balance between both.
So, learn to say no. You cannot do everything by yourself.
Turn off Your Notification or Phone While Working
While at it, be at it!
That’s a good motor to abide by while working. So many people go about their work halfheartedly. They are there in person, alright, but their minds are far away. Do all you can to be present in body and mind.
That includes turning off everything that will distract you while working. Guess what the number one distraction for most people at work is. Yes, that’s correct. Notifications from your phone! Email and social media notifications to be precise!
Studies have proven that while notifications may only seem to distract us momentarily, they disrupt our thoughts for far longer than we think. This makes it difficult to get back to actual work. Don’t expose yourself to this kind of distraction. Devote a portion of time in the morning and at night (outside work hours) to check your email and social media.
So, while at work, be at work.
Plan The Day Ahead
Being able to chart a course for your day before entering into it is perhaps, one of the most significant ways to stay focused. When you plan your day, you are not in a reactionary mode; you set the tone of the day by deciding what will be done and what will not.
In other words, planning helps you decide what your focus will be per time (more like per day). This is an incredible skill to have. I have an article on planning your day effectively. You can find it here. If you follow it diligently, you’ll be able to regain your focus one day at a time, and in a short time.
Review Your Day
Make it a daily routine to review each day at the end of the day. This exercise, like planning the day, will point you in the direction of what needs more focus. It will also help you grasp what is stealing your focus if you’re moving towards your life goals daily, and a whole lot more.
There is no overemphasizing the importance of gaining and maintaining focus in today’s world. So many people are lost – busy with a lot, but lost! Don’t be one of them. Get out of that distraction loop, use these tips to maintain focus in a distracted world and retake control of your life by regaining your focus.