We all came here, in order to learn how to be focused. So before moving forward let’s admit one thing, staying focused is hard. Regardless of the context, staying focused is hard, unless you are one of those people who do this effortlessly. But then again if you are one of them, you wouldn’t be reading this.
Now the reasons why maintaining our full attention and concentration on something varies. However, there are some tricks that you can use to stay focused for a significant amount of time regardless of the reasons.
1. Organize and Declutter your work/study space
The first thing that you have to do in order to stay focused, is clean your work/study station. This advice is applicable to a lot of us in Nepal, as a lot of us work in small office spaces and homes that can be cluttered rather too easily.
Now a lot of us have been told that “a clean space leads to a clean mind” but nobody has told us why. This is said because cluttered work/study space, has a lot of distraction and will be a bit congested. Along with this, it will be harder for you to find things you need as well.
Having a cluttered mind makes it harder to navigate through your surroundings which can and will lead to distress in the long run. All of this will inevitably lead you to exert more mental energy than you need and as a result tire you out more easily while distracting you as well. Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Professor Emerita of Psychological and Brain
2. Make a to-do list
Let’s be honest here, a lot of us don’t make a to-do list. Why? It is simply too boring to do and life does not go according to plan. Some of you might even have made a to-do-list once and dropped soon after. However, this small and seemingly insignificant activity can increase your attention span and help you stay focused longer.
Making a to-do list helps you in organizing and managing your tasks. This will make it easier for you to know what you have to do, thereby setting a goal that you can work towards. Along with this as you complete each task, you will also feel relieved which will motivate you more and prevent your mind from being overwhelmed. As we know it is easier to stay focused for longer when we are not overwhelmed.
3. Take Short Breaks
What do you need when you are overwhelmed? You need breaks. However, we all know that once you take a break it is hard to go back to work. That is why you should be careful to keep the breaks short if you want to concentrate and stay focused for a long period of time.
Why do we need breaks though? As you may have known the longer we do an activity the boring that activity gets. As you become bored with doing an activity, your focus decreases. When this happens, taking a short break will refresh your mind and help you concentrate on your activity when you go back to it. Just be sure to not think about your work or studies while taking a break.
“For roughly an hour at a time, they were 100 percent dedicated to the task they needed to accomplish. They didn't check Facebook 'real quick' or get distracted by e-mails. When they felt fatigued (again, after about an hour), they took short breaks, during which they completely separated themselves from their work. This helped them to dive back in refreshed for another productive hour of work.” Travis Bradberrry, Author of "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"
4. Hide all the distractions
One of the major issues that a lot of youths of Nepal have that hampers their work/study is the abundance of distractions around them. At this point in time smartphones have become widespread, social media like Facebook and Instagram started ruling a major part of our lives, and pop-up ads cover our screens. This makes it easier to get distracted even more.
Install some ad blockers, log off from your social media (unless you need them for work/projects) and turn the notifications off. This will create a lot fewer distractions and help you stay focused on your work or study for a longer period of time. It is not to say that the older generation of our country doesn’t have distractions, however, since a lot of them grew up in an era without most of the technology we have nowadays, this issue is a lot less severe for them.
5. Drink some coffee or Tea
While this idea may sound dumb, there is a reason why we put this idea here. Both tea and coffee contain caffeine – which is a chemical compound that is known to stimulate your brain activity.
The intake of excessive amounts of tea and coffee comes with its own negative side effects. However, drinking a cup of coffee or tea can boost your mind and help you stay focused more and for longer periods of time. This is also the reason why people in developed nations have coffee dispensers at their offices.
In the context of Nepal, quite a few have noticed the benefit of caffeine and have started to give their employees complimentary coffee in recent times as well.
6. Get enough rest
At this point, we don’t think we need to emphasize the importance of rest. Over the past decade, Nepali has become more aware of Mental health and the issues caused by lack of rest on mental health. Naturally, mental health includes the ability to focus and retain that focus for the long term as well.
If your brain doesn’t get enough rest, it will slow down eventually and when it slows down your attention span will decrease. Just like a computer that has been overworked will slow down and even crash regardless of its features, your brain can and will crash if you don’t have enough rest.
“Our Consensus Panel found that sleeping six or fewer hours per night is inadequate to sustain health and safety in adults, and agreed that seven or more hours of sleep per night is recommended for all healthy adults.” Dr. Nathaniel F. Watson,Neurologist
To summarize this whole article in one sentence – You have to keep your work/study space clean and have enough rest to organize your thoughts and tasks in order to stay focused for a long time.
As we all know, being focused is not a hard thing to do, staying focused is.
Now since this is all about focusing and attention, why don’t you read some Tips about Managing Time as well. After all, a well-managed time is a great asset to stay focused for a long time.