One of the most challenging things you will experience in life is how to keep your focus. It’s effortless to get distracted, and there are always 101 things that vie for your attention. You know what needs to be done, you can do it, yet you don’t get nearly the amount of work done that you could if you just focused.
Next, you make yourself a list of all the things that you want to get done, as you’re more determined than ever before to have a successful day. However, after you’ve spent a half-hour on social media, checked your email no less than ten times, and answered five phone calls, you find that once again, your list has things you cannot cross off.
Does this sound familiar to you? Do you struggle to stay focused because you’re easily distracted? Well, you should know that you’re not alone, as this is a common problem.
Many people feel their attention problems are serious enough to consult a doctor. According to Med Alert Help, almost five percent of the adult population suffers from attention deficit disorder. The medical community makes treatment recommendations that come with harmful side effects or expensive tests.
Thankfully, there are some things you can do to keep yourself from getting distracted that will not cost you a penny.
Ten Tips to Avoid Being Distracted
Your focus is taught during your school-age years. Now, if you have a medical condition that causes your attention span to be challenged, then that’s a whole other issue. However, for the most part, you’re taught to sit down, listen to the teacher, and do your work.
Unfortunately, teachers are overloaded with students, and their objective is to keep you at your desk and listening to the lessons. If you got up to gaze out the window or to stroll down the aisles while they were teaching, then they would be upset at the distraction. Consequently, it’s not realistic in today’s world to think that a child can sit still for hours on end without any disruptions, and it’s the same for adults.
You’re the master of your focus, and it’s up to you to develop the mindset to sit down and get busy. Here are ten things that can help you to stop being distracted.
1. Don’t Overbook Your Days
If your day is overcrowded and there is no way humanly possible that one person can accomplish all you need to do, how will it affect your focus? Chaos is not a good foundation for your attention span. It’s better to pace yourself and go nice and slow than giving up because you’ve overloaded yourself with tasks.
Your mental health needs to see progress to keep from being distracted, so you must try to schedule your day so that it’s feasible and not impossible.
2. Tackle the Hardest Jobs First
Always do the most challenging tasks that require the most focus first, as this will help you stay on track. Accomplishing the problematic items is better when you’re fresh in the morning. As the hours drag on, it’s more difficult to focus as you become tired and ready to call it a day.
Procrastination is an invitation for distraction. When you do all the easy tasks first, you will find 101 reasons to put off the hard stuff until another day. Plus, as the workday continues, your willpower diminishes with the demands from children, household responsibilities, your job, and all the other things you have going on.
3. Use Visualization Techniques
Visualization techniques can help you stay focused. Runners use these tricks all the time to keep themselves going forward. They envision themselves running across the finish line and picking up the win.
Before you begin the day, picture yourself working, hitting those goals, and making it to the finish line. When you concentrate on each step in the process, then you’re not spending time focusing on the things that distract you.
Visualization is the key to getting done whatever you need because when you imagine yourself as successful or having everything completed, you will do it.
4. Keep Your Vision and Objectives in Mind
Start by figuring out what you need to focus on to begin. For instance, do you have a significant report due to the boss in two weeks, then it’s time to prepare for it? Figure out the goal, and it helps you to focus.
If you want to learn to play the piano, you can’t just sit down and play the first night. No, you must practice each day, for an allotted amount of time, until you perfect the art. So, it’s the same principles with both work and play. You need to pace yourself and keep your objective in mind.
5. Manage Your Drive
Your internal motivation, or drive, is like a lubricant, as it helps you to stick to the tasks at hand. You should never take extended breaks from your objectives, as it can cause you to lose your momentum and requires self-discipline to get refocused.
It would help if you stayed goal-focused, even on the weekends. It doesn’t mean that you can’t take a day off to refresh yourself. Instead, it just means that you should keep your goals in mind. If you take too many mental vacations from your objectives, then soon, you can let them fall, by the way.
There are some interruptions that you can’t get away from in life. So, it’s best to prepare your mind so that you can keep yourself from straying from your goals. First, you need an identified workspace.
This is especially important with so many people working from home these days. When you have this dedicated space, then your mind will associate it with working. When it’s break time, then you need to leave your workspace and allow your mind to focus on something else for a few minutes.
Next, you need to silence all the racing thoughts that try to interrupt you from working. Meditation is an excellent method to put you in “the zone” and get some work done. You can do a quick 5–10-minute session to help you gather your thoughts and purge the ones you don’t need.
7. Manage Your External Distractions
The external distractions most often keep you from accomplishing all your daily goals. Stop checking your phone every five minutes for emails, text messages, and social media alerts. An article by Business News Daily referenced a study on the amount of money lost from workers spending time on social media.
When you’re surfing the web on company time, you cost your boss big money. The study found that the average person checks their email more than 35 times a day.
After checking the email, the study further went on to find that it takes them about 15 minutes each time to refocus.
Limit how much you’re on your phone, and only check your email a couple of times each day. If the matter is urgent, people will call you directly.
8. Skip What You Don’t Know
When you have challenges that you cannot figure out, it’s okay to put them off till later. Put your focus into something that you can work on without being stressed out. You can always come back to the more challenging item later.
9. Pace Yourself
Have you ever heard the old saying that the only way to eat an elephant is to do it one bite at a time? The key here is that if you look at the big picture or the elephant, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Instead, you need to look at your day in small “bites.”
Sure, you may have ten things you need to do, but when you jump in and start to work, soon the list will be at five and then completed. Stop staring at the big picture and allowing it to overtake you, as it’s easy to become discouraged when your goal is too big.
If your boss asked you to write a 5,000-word article for the monthly publication, it might seem like an arduous task. However, if you split that up into 1,000 words a day for the next five days, it doesn’t seem nearly as challenging.
10. Reward Yourself
Who said children are the only people that need rewards for a job well done? When you accomplish all you need to do and stay focused and didn’t get distracted, pat yourself on the back. It’s okay to treat yourself occasionally when you’ve done an excellent job. It’s what will give you more drive to keep going even when you feel like throwing in the towel.
There are distractions around every corner in life, and you might find it challenging to learn to focus more intently. Anything that can break your focus can mess with your productivity. When you find yourself with constant interruptions, use some of the tips in this article to help you refocus to finish the tasks at hand.