I recently went through a phase where I had no focus. At home I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do and once I started something I would start thinking of the other things I had to do. At work, I became stressed and made mistakes because I couldn’t focus on what I was doing. This is a common issue for many people for different reasons. There are medical reasons, like ADD or hormonal fluctuations. There are regular stressors of everyday life, family issues, and personal problems. Multi-tasking has become common, and it’s harder for us to focus on several things at once because there are so many things demanding our attention.
While there’s no one solution for everyone, there are things that you can do to center your thoughts and focus your mind for the tasks you have to do. Below are five tips to help “get it together” and find your focus.
1. Get healthy and stay healthy – A recent bout of health issues set me off track, and I finally decided I needed a rest – not just a quick nap here or there, but a true rest. So I spent two days in bed, giving myself permission to be lazy in the name of getting well. I drank a lot of fluids, took some medications, used a heating pad, and slept whenever I wanted to. By the end of the weekend I felt much better. Since then, I’ve started taking vitamins, drinking more water, and making sure regular activity is part of my daily routine. Eating well and taking care of yourself is one of the best things you can do. Your concentration will be much better when you can focus on the task at hand rather than on the pain or discomfort in your body.
2. Slow down on the multi-tasking – Whether I’m at the computer for work or pleasure, I always have five or more windows open at one time, flipping through them quickly, focusing on each one for less than a minute before going to a different one. After taking stock of how bad my focus was, I decided to take control of my multi-tasking ways. Limit yourself to one or two things at a time.. At work, I often have to answer phones and input data at the same time, so by keeping myself free of ten projects at once, I’m more efficient at taking messages. This will take some getting used to, but it gets easier when you realize how much more you can actually get done.
3. Focus on one thing at a time – As I mentioned, sometimes you have to do a couple things at once, especially if you’re at work or need to wean yourself off the five windows method of doing things. Whenever possible, though, just take one thing at a time. Close your email while you finish a project. If you’re blogging, finish one post before moving to a different page. When you’re cleaning your house, finish one room, or even one corner of the room before thinking about what you have to do in the next area. Not only will this help you keep your focus, it will also keep your stress levels to a minimum.
4. Work with your focus (or lack thereof) – There are times when no matter what you do, you just can’t focus. Instead of fighting with your lack of concentration, work with it. At work, ask your boss for a more active, less detailed project, like sorting files or organizing the storage room. At home, do something with your hands that will allow your mind to do other things. Crochet, knit, or draw while you watch TV or listen to music. Don’t tax your brain when it refuses to focus. Forcing it will only make it worse, and by allowing yourself to relax, chances are your focus will come back on its own.
5. Take time for yourself – There comes a time when the only way to regain your focus is to take time for yourself away from all the other demands of the world. Take an extra day off work for a long weekend. Get a babysitter and treat yourself to a night out or a night in with a good book and a hot bath. Or just give yourself permission to spend a day in bed. Once you get back in the swing of things, you’re likely to find yourself recharged and ready to focus again.
Finding your focus can be tough at first, but once you’re rewarded with more efficiency, better concentration, and more things getting done, you’ll realize that the effort was worth it.