It’s so easy to get distracted – phone notifications, emails, new Facebook messages and updates… It’s difficult even if you have all your devices off.
And apparently, it’s just getting worse.
Based on this book, people lose focus so much, that they end up checking their phones as many as 150 times a day. With this constant need to check our phones, it gets very difficult to concentrate for any kind of work, especially for longer than 10 minutes.
1. Less is More
As great as being able to multitask might seem, it is not that great for keeping your attention on your task for more than 10 minutes.
Multitasking divides your attention, and instead of letting your brain to fully concentrate on the task at hand, it keeps trying to remind you of all the other things you need to or are trying to do.
It’s very hard to immersive yourself in a particular task, if you keep jumping from one thing to another and getting distracted.
Multitasking makes your brain less efficient. If you want to spend your time more productively and more efficiently, you should really try to concentrate on one thing at a time.
I mentioned and talking about to do lists numerous times, but I really think they are a great way to help yourself not to get distracted.
Make a list of the tasks you need to perform each day, block some time in your day for those task, and work on them ONE at a time.
For example, I feel most productive in the morning, so for the few things that I want to practice each day, I spend 45 minutes each morning doing it. It might be learning something new, doing research, writing… it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that I know this time that I have blocked out is very precious, not only because it’s the time to concentrate on one thing, but also because it’s very limited, and it’s the only time in the day I can do it.
Work out what time of the day best suit your schedule, and block that window to concentrate on things you want to do, one at a time.
2. Rest Up
As much as working is important, rest matters too, if not more.
Based on the research in the mentioned book, just one bas night’s sleep can reduce your cognitive abilities for the day!
Not only this is crazy, it really emphasize how much rest is important to us.
From people who practice deliberate practice, it’s also known that after certain amount of hours of doing something deliberately, it doesn’t matter if you will keep practicing or not.
Your brain will be tired, it will loose focus, and you will need to take a break, as from that point onwards, that practice is going to be useless.
Each day, take some time for yourself to rest and relax with your family, friends or a good book, and preferably without a phone.
It’s also shown that having your phone or any kind of screen with blue light, can really disrupt your sleep, so try to put your phone and all technology away, at least 30 minutes before you are going to sleep.
3. Train Your Attention
Meditation is everywhere and for a good reason.
Not only it helps us to be more mindful and more conscious of our thoughts, it allows us to practice our concentration and how control our attention.
If you have never tried it before, it might be quite difficult to get in to the groove of it, as I personally find the experience quite uncomfortable in the initial stages.
That’s complete fine.
It takes time to get used to sitting quietly, only with yourself and your own thoughts.
It takes time to improve, as the our minds are really wild and are built to be naturally curious, and our attention spans are short.
The best thing to do here, is to start meditating as little as 1 minute a day. The more you will get comfortable, the easier it will be to extend that time, and add 30 seconds to 1 minute, each time you feel ready.
The most important thing here is not to be harsh on yourself.
I know from the first hand experience, how frustrating it can be to try and not think about anything and control your thoughts. And it isn’t so much about controlling your thoughts, but rather letting go of that control. Meditation is about getting rid of all constraints, all noise that occupies your mind, and just learning to be. With yourself. By yourself. Without clinging to anything.
It might sound easy, but it’s a very difficult task.
Instead of beating yourself up for not being able to do this perfectly from the first go, embrace the practice and learning how to calm your thoughts and your mind.
With constant distractions that surround us, it isn’t easy to concentrate on one particular task.
We live in a world, where multitasking is highly valued, and being able to juggle different and unrelated tasks is expected.
And sometimes, we can’t avoid any of those distractions or the need to multitask.
What we can do, is to try to improve and take care of ourselves in order to perform better and be more productive.
Learning how to rest your body and your mind, practicing meditation and encouraging yourself to concentrate on one task a time will bring you value to your life as you will learn how to keep your mind quiet and will be able to concentrate for longer.
Let me know if you have ever tried any of these tips and if they helped you!