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Tricks to staying focused

Martin Castilla            No comments            Jan, 21

The average human life is bursting with parades of distractions. As a student, employer, employee or any other person, your mind is naturally attuned to both internal and external distractions, making it even harder to remain focused.

In reality, staying focused goes beyond switching off your computing device or muting messages from friends. It may mean smelling a flower every time you get up to raise your spirit. So weird, isn’t it? Don’t fret. Here are five cardinal tactics to keep in mind whenever you want to stay focused.

  • It starts with self-assessment

Self-assessment provides crucial insights on self-comprehension. It helps with understanding key gaps in your behaviour that take your focus down the drain, and therapeutic models to employ.

To gauge the level of your mental focus, ask yourself whether:

  • You daydream, or able to remain awake most of the time?
  • You complete all tasks at hand, or loose track and leave them hanging half-way?
  • You beat your deadline, or procrastinate and give an excuse in the long run?
  • Identify and monitor your time wasters

If at all you daydream, lose track of your work and don’t beat deadlines, then there is no doubt you have time wasters. These can be your friends, popular series, obnoxious co-worker, social media sites, or a popular game on your phone.

Start by eliminating the time wasters. Apps such as Rescuetime help with tracking down the sites and websites that waste your time. Firefox’s Leechbox and Chrome’s Stayfocusd also do the same thing. Moreover, the two browser add-ons have an option that enables users to block notifications from infuriating sites. Feel free to check more tips for keeping focused here, especially the apps that can help you to stay focus. 

  • Establish a time management plan

The burden of staying laser-focused lies in how you manage your time. To remain hyper-productive throughout the day, don’t multitask. Rather, do the tasks beforehand one at a time starting with the most energy-draining.

Time block method has proved to work for many people, including Bill gates. In this plan, all you need is to divide your day into 3:2:3 blocks consisting of 90, 60, and 30 minutes respectively. 

Go ahead and divide the day into 3 blocks consisting of high intensive tasks, medium intensive tasks and quick win tasks. Dedicate most of the time to high intensive tasks based on your individual priority. 

  • Inculcate short breaks between your daily tasks

Do you know that prolonged gazing at something can make the object to gradually “fade” out of sight? It is called Troxler fading effect. Scientists say that by fixating your gaze on a visual element for hours, the constant light stimulus desensitizes the linked neurons. This reduces the strength of the stimulus to the brain hence leading to a fading effect. 

Short breaks are ideal ways to staying overly focused more so when doing a tedious task. When you take a break, you allow the body to rejuvenate hence minimizing burnouts. Secondly, the breaks enhance retention and creativity in the brain. 

For a busy day, you will need breaks of about 5-10 minutes each after every task. For example, in the time block method above, you will need a 10-minute break after the first high intensive task whose designated time is about 90 minutes.  For the medium intensive and quick win tasks, you can do with 7 and 5 minutes breaks respectively. 

      5. Reward yourself

Self-reward is the glue that sticks focusing on your daily routine. Contrary to popular belief, the reward should not be costly. There are numerous rewards that come at marginal costs to give a try. When rewarding yourself:

  • Go for the self-compassion mechanisms–being kind on your well-being
  • Go for the discretionary foods if at all you have to do with the food. The foods should not be junky or those which are deleterious to your health
  • Roll some alternative rewards such as sound sleep, domestic tourism, movie or marathon night up your sleeve. They are the best option more so when time is a major cause for concern

Final thoughts

Staying laser-focused is a behaviour that you cannot build and nature overnight. The moment you allow the brain to wander, then you are automatically losing it. Therefore, alongside these five tactics, you may need to practice mindfulness and adopt psychological remedies such as meditation.

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