I blame technology. Specifically cell phones. I could be working on a project with laser sharp focus when it happens. My cell phone goes off with a “ting!” letting me know someone or something wants my attention. It’s pretty much downhill from there. Before I know it, I’ve wasted about 45 good minutes on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube. When I finally put my phone down, I have a billion new and mostly irrelevant thoughts in my mind stemming from all of the things I just saw.
Obviously, there are PLENTY of things that can make you lose focus. Not just technology. Everyone is different and what may be distracting to you may not be to me and vice versa. Because of how likely I am to stray away from certain tasks, I’ve developed certain practices to help me stay focused and I thought I would share them with you guys! If you are having a hard time concentrating or/and you just want to build your focus in general, here are a few methods and tools you can use to do so:
Anytime your focus starts to divert from where it should be, write down whatever it is that is distracting you. By doing this, you are giving attention to the distraction (as you are being tempted to do anyway) and actively doing something to get it out of your mind by getting it on paper. Here are a few stylish ones that meet all the criteria for the perfect handy dandy distraction log notepad:
- Stylish Modern Elegant Striped Black and Gold Notepad
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- “From the desk of…” Personalized Notepad
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- Minimalist White Marble Gold Monogram Notepad
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- Black Stripe & Purple Pansy Personalized Notepad
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Pomodoro Style Time Tracking
This time tracking method rids you of the urge to check the time so you can make the most out of every single second. First things first; Decide on the amount of time you want to work on your task. Then you decide on the amount of time you want to break from your task and how many times during your work period you want to do so. You can utilize that time to stretch and give into your distractions.
Lastly, determine how many cycles of work periods you want to go through. It takes 4 cycles to make a “pomodoro”. After these four cycles, you elongate the amount of time to take during your breaks. Some people prefer to work in 90 minute increments with two 10 minute breaks for two cycles, others prefer to split that in half by working in 30 minute increments with one or two 5 minute breaks for just one cycle. Based off of my experience, I say find what works best for you! You can increase or decrease the time as you see fit.
Here are a few apps that are a wonderful help with this technique:
I am typically easily distracted by music, so for those of you who are like me and would normally graze over this part, hear me out! Because music is so vast there are songs for literally every occasion, situation, and person. Some find that classical music helps them focus and others acoustic music, but having some kind of steady melody for background noise can actually help increase concentration and even help you lose track of time on the task at hand. Just don’t pick playlists with the latest party hits… (;
If you don’t know where to start in terms of making your own personal focus playlist, feel free to use mine as a starting point here!
Guided meditations are a fantastic way to practice keeping your mind focused on one thing for a set amount of time. It’s a practice often portrayed as a pointless morning “Ohmmmm” and although it may consist of one depending on the kind of meditation, it is so much more than that. There are guided meditations for productivity, mornings, nights, late nights, early mornings, humpday, etc. etc. There is a guided meditation for pretty much anything, including gaining and maintaining focus!
Apps I like to use for meditations:
Is there a method you like to use to stay focused? Feel free to share in the comments below!