Our ability to focus has reduced from 12 seconds, in the year 2000, to 8.25 seconds in 2015, according to research carried out by the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the National Library of Medicine.
Are you still with me?
We often joke about how electronic devices and instant internet gratification have shortened our attention spans to that of small furry mammals, but what the above statistic shows is that this is no joke at all.
Everyone has the ability to focus although like everything, this ability varies from person to person, but everyone can learn to focus more effectively. A state of focus can also be relaxing. With only one thing on your mind, your brain is less busy.
It’s very difficult for a mind that is highly distractible to accomplish anything.
Develop greater focus and enjoy the benefits:
- Build motivation. Before beginning a task that requires focus and attention, ask yourself why you’re doing it. What do you hope to accomplish? What benefits will you receive from completing the task? What will happen if you don’t get it done? Focus is easier to accomplish if you’re highly motivated.
- Remove distractions. Close the door. Clear your desk. Turn off the phone. Let others know that you prefer not to be disturbed. There’s a reason why monks from Eastern Religions remove themselves from everyday society and all its associated distraction
Only work on one thing at a time. Research reveals that it’s a mistake to move back and forth between several tasks. It takes time for your brain to readjust. It takes time to get back into the flow of things.
- Practice focusing. Live a life of focus. While watching your children at their favourite activities, attempt to keep your attention and thoughts on what they are doing. See how long you last until your thoughts start to wander. Can you keep your eyes and thoughts on the road while driving? Eat dinner without thinking about anything besides your food and the other people at the table.
Take frequent breaks. Breaks seem like a waste of time, but you’ll get more done over the course of a day by taking short breaks. No one can maintain a state of high focus throughout the day. Take short breaks and give your brain a quick rest. You’ll find you can spend more total time focused with breaks than without.
- Drop the non-essential. Having too many things in your life is distracting. Drop the television shows that you don’t love. Quit anything that isn’t worth the time and effort you have to put into it. Every part of your life is taking up space in your head.Free up some space in your life and your brain. You’ll find it much easier to stay focused on the things that really matter to you.
- Learn to meditate and set aside time for meditation each day. Meditation is all about learning how to control and focus your attention. There are numerous books, videos, and courses available online. You probably have a meditation center in your local area, too.
- Eat and sleep. If you’re exhausted, you can’t focus. If your body is running on empty, you can’t focus. Take care of your body, so it can support your efforts to focus. Caffeine, in the proper dose, can help with concentration. But too much caffeine can make focus impossible.
- Have a schedule. It’s easier to focus if you know the start and the endpoint. Focusing is hard if you don’t even know what to do or when you’ll be finished.
Learning to control your attention is a process. One of the quickest ways to improve your ability to focus is the removal of distractions. Eliminate distractions, take care of your body, and learn how to meditate. You’ll soon have a laser-like ability to focus, regardless of the activity.
Till Next Time
Mike Gardner – The Time Doctor