I use the word chaos a lot in my blog. It’s one of my go-to nouns because it perfectly captures the sense of haphazard unpredictability that is life. Oddly it’s a very comforting word to me because it helps remind me that when all I see is pandemonium there is a good chance I’m not alone and I’m not the sole cause.
In the face of all this chaotic talk though my focus is easily persuaded to wander where it shouldn’t be at the moment. When I should be focusing on my accounting portfolio project chances are my focus is sketching out a beautiful scene in my mind. Yet, if I sit down to sketch that scene my mind will undoubtedly become infatuated with that pesky project I was procrastinating ten minutes prior. How convenient, right?!
When focus is needed most what are the best ways to fine tune and realign yourself? This is the very question I hoped to answer for myself! In most cases, if I want an answer it’s likely someone somewhere else might just be wondering the same thing!
Here’s what I found out for how to be more focused when it’s most important!
- Nutritious snacks. Foods with healthy fats and antioxidants have been shown to improve focus! Blueberries, green tea, dark chocolate, and nuts are all great options to help maintain concentration and memory. According to A Life of Productivity there are also other health benefits!
- Meditation. I’m lousy at this one so far. I get restless quickly and feel like I’m “wasting” my time. A lot of sources including LifeHack say mastering or even just becoming proficient at meditation can improve focus, peace, and productivity! I’m still trying it out but the gist is focus on breathing, think about how the air fills and leaves your body, the temperature of it, and the regulation of your breathing. It’s ok for your mind to wander, just bring it gently back!
- Delay rewarding yourself. I can’t count how many times I’ve been told to reward myself for small achievements to increase my motivation. Inevitably this creates the desire for instant gratification in everything which in today’s world is becoming a big issue honestly. Start pushing yourself to do a little more before the reward. Encourage yourself to meet higher standards. Don’t try to be perfect but also hold yourself accountable. This is a long term commitment that can help improve concentration over time!
- Take on the hard stuff first. We’ve all had a beastly to do item that we don’t want to touch yet. The unpleasantness is too much to face head on right away! Well, giving in to that temptation allows the beastly item to sit on the edge of your thoughts taking up valuable thinking power. Taking it on right away or as soon as time permits frees that burden and you’ll get a great sense of accomplishment afterward!
- Daydream Deliberately. Science suggests that we spend 50% of the time daydreaming and that this process is actually integral to our mental health (Williams, 2017 BBC)! Instead of allowing this all important process to disrupt our work or focus, choose time to let your mind float wherever it pleases. Maybe while doing dishes, in the shower, or just an hour for you! If you’re having a particularly rough time give your brain 15 minutes to wander then try refocusing again.
- Take a break! It’s also been proven that the human mind can only effectively focus for 90 minutes before needing a 15 minute break. If you’re struggling to focus try taking a genuine break where you step away and recoup!
There you have it!
I don’t have any suggestions (yet) to reduce the amount or impact of chaos in anyone’s life. I’ve made it my life’s mission to discover the secret of embracing chaos or reducing it. Can’t decide which yet! Embracing sounds more fun at any rate!
I can thankfully say there are hundreds of ways to help maintain focus and composure even in the craziest of situations. I’ve listed 6 of my favorites but I could easily write a 100 Ways to Focus if I really wanted to so if these don’t cut it for you, don’t dismay!!
What are your favorite focus tips? Do you have any prime daydreaming times? I can’t wait to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Here’s to a productive, focused day!