7 Ways to Rock Your Focus
Most of us are professionals at being distracted. In high school and college, there wasn’t a course on how to concentrate and focus. It’s not our fault if our concentration skills are lacking. In fact, most of us are experts at the art and skill of being distracted.
I’ve found that people are extremely good at finding something to keep themselves busy. However, that something probably isn’t very productive. It’s just comfortable or entertaining. I blame the television series, Ted Lasso, for that.
The question we must all answer is, do we want to be prosperous or complacent?
Life is full of distractions, and we can add a new twist called COVID brain to the list of things keeping us unfocussed. It’s never been more challenging to focus than it is right now.
However, concentration is a skill that we can significantly strengthen. This is good news as greater focus will enhance our lives as a result.
Small Steps First
Like learning to walk, if we desire to increase our attention span, it’s more effective to start by taking small steps, especially at the start. I’ve not met an intelligent runner who would run for 20 miles the first time they went running. Some things are simply a bad idea. Professionals would tell us to start at an appropriate level and move forward from that point.
I believe the same is valid for training our brain to focus.
Try relaxing and seeing how long you can concentrate on a task before your mind wanders. Is it a minute? Five minutes? Start where you are, and then make small strides from there.
Slow is okay. Your focus will pick up over time. Relax as we should take our time.
Use these seven ways to rock your concentration:
Mindfulness. The best way to increase our focus is to practice concentrating. Instead of diving into our next meal thinking about the day, our clothing, or what’s next, we can give our full attention to the meal. We should use all five senses and fully experience our food. Pro-tip: Keep our attention on whatever it is we are doing throughout the day.
Active listening. When someone speaks to us, we are most likely thinking about what we want to say or thinking about something other than the conversation. Pro-tip: Practice putting all of our attention on the other person during a conversation.
Time out. Take a time out by putting a chair and position it so that we are facing the wall. The trick is to see how long we can sit in the chair without moving or looking away from the wall. While we may notice minor aches, pains, and itches crop up after a few minutes. Ignore them. Most likely, they will move to a different part of the body soon enough. Pro-tip: time the session and try extending the amount of time we spend in time out.
Tick-tock. Watch the second hand of a clock going around and around. The challenge for us is to see how long we can watch the clock without thinking about something else. When our minds wander, we refocus on the second hand. Is it boring? Of course. That’s what makes it challenging. Pro-tip: don’t forget to listen to the sound of time as we watch father time do his thing.
100. Count backward from 100 by ones. Then try sevens or any other number that seems appealing. How far can we get before our minds drift away? Double bonus we might strengthen our math skills as well. Pro-tip: if it helps, use a pad and paper and write your numbers.
Breath. Put our attention on our breath and keep it there. See how long we can maintain the focus of our breathing before we catch ourselves thinking about something else. Pro-tip: follow the breath all the way in and out. Focus on the transition or that moment when it comes out.
Mozart. Listen to classical music and focus on every note of music and instrument playing it - It’s more complicated than you think! Listening without lyrics to help keep our brains engaged, our minds will start daydreaming very quickly. Pro-tip: Name the feeling or emotion the music is stirring deep inside.
Very few people can concentrate well. We have a massive advantage if we can develop this vital skill.Being able to focus well is a superpower as we live in an age of distraction.