I recently asked a group of people what their biggest challenge to simple living was. The most popular answer? How to stop multitasking and learn to focus.
Focus is a interesting concept. We think of it like this abstract thing that requires we have all of the puzzle pieces aligned, and then pop! Out comes focus! It’s often perceived as something that we have little control over, and that you have to summon it. When in reality, focus is a choice.
Just like happiness, focus is something that comes from within. It’s a mindset that you can choose to put yourself in. But just like happiness, developing focus within is a practice that you can improve upon with intentional effort.
5 Ways to Improve Your Focus
- Commit to Focus – You can’t half-ass focus. You need to either commit to doing it, or accept the fact that you are not going to be able to focus. Committing is telling yourself that being focused on what is in front of you is important. A magnifying glass in the sun only burns with deliberate aim to focus.
- Create Engagement – In order to focus on a task or situation at hand, you need to become engaged. This means listening deeply to people you are with, or being involved in the task you are working on. Some good ways to practice in engaging focus are meditation or exercising. Both of these practices help train your mind to become in a state of “flow”, which can aid in entering focus.
- Be Healthy – Your overall health will contribute to your ability to focus. Make sure you are doing the best you can to eat clean, get good sleep, and limit stressors in your life. Focusing works best when your mind is relaxed, and your physical needs are met.
- Build Routine – Create periods of time in your schedule for focus. Your mind will be cued into a focused state during a developed routine. To the best of your ability, schedule recurring times in your day that are made for deep focus. Also be sure to not over-schedule your life, and give yourself room to think.
- Mitigate The External – Your ability to limit external distractions will only make choosing a focused mindset easier. Different distractions will effect people differently, so it’s important that you know what distracts you. For me, it’s closing internet browsing tabs, limiting notifications on my phone, having a clean desk, etc. Don’t fixate on creating the perfect external environment, but also don’t neglect to mitigate some large distractions.
If you practice choosing a focused mindset, the process will get easier. Like a muscle, it will get stronger over time. You’ll learn how to work with your body and mind to enter a state of focus more easily.
Have other tips? Share them with others in the comments.