Improve Your Focus in a Technological World (Part 2 of 2)
“I don’t like reading because my mind wanders and I constantly have to re-read pages.”
Have you ever said that? Have you ever wished you could just focus on something for as long as you need to?
Unfortunately technology is partly responsible for our diminishing attention spans. And since technology isn’t leaving us, we might as well figure out how to deal with it. So if you want to start reading books without distraction and improve your focus in general, check out the 4 unique tips below.
Oh! And if you haven’t read part 1 to this post yet, then check-out the first 3 ways you can improve your focus by clicking here.
#4 Deprivation and Isolation
Let’s start with deprivation …
Get rid of things that distract you – everything that creates that involuntary attention should be away so that you can not access it. Have you ever seen timed cookie jars or phone cages? I think these objects would work great to keep your phone from distracting you. The timed cookie jar works by putting your phone in the container, setting a timer on the container, and then the container only unlocks when the timer ends. The phone cage is like jail for your phone – you put your phone in the cage, and lock it up until your ready to retrieve it. The key to this working is not havingthe key to the cage on-hand!
These 2 objects are really cool, but if you’re like me and you’re worried about not being able to access your phone in case of an emergency, then consider downloading and app blocker! My favourite app blocker of all time is called Offtime.
This app is so freaking cool for multiple reasons: you can whitelist numbers and emails (so you don’t have to worry about missing any emergencies), you can schedule off-time to automatically start at any point in the day/week, and you can control which applications can remain usable during off-time.
Deprivation might be just what you need to improve your focus.
When I was in university, many of my friends would go to the library to better focus on their work – they would isolate themselves from from the world around them in order to optimize their voluntary attention.
Although that was very helpful for many people, I personally never found it helpful because my mind would always be thinking about my distractions. So what worked for me was doing all my work in the basement of my home. I was away from my distractions but still in close proximity to them so I could focus, knowing I could take a break whenever I wanted.
#5 Pomodoro Clock
Speaking of taking a break, this nifty trick has breaks built right into it. A Pomodoro clock is basically an interval timer of 25 and 5 minutes.
You work for the 25 minute period, then take a break for 5, and continue in that way.
I used this clock when I was writing my Master’s research paper and I found it helped me get into a flow of writing. Sometimes I would get into such a great flow, that I’d end up working straight through my 5 minutes breaks. If you want to try this out for yourself, there are plenty of pomodoro apps you can download on your phone or computer.
#6 Lean into Pain
Suck it up and do it.
Sometimes you’ve done everything to try and focus but you still don’t want to do the task at hand. In that case you need to ask yourself outloud, “should I do this right now?” If the answer is “YES”, then that concrete acknowledgment might be all you need to pull up your socks and get ‘er done. See, we often procrastinate by saying things like “I can do this later” or “it won’t take me that long”, but I want you to counter those thoughts. So when you say “I can do this later”, do yourself a favour and immediately respond with “but if I want to do this well, then I should do this now.”
Sometime we need to do things not because they are fun or exciting, but because we should do them. And telling yourself when you should be doing something helps you remain accountable and therefore focus on the task at hand.
#7 Change the Routine
Sometime we refuse to focus on things simply because habits can pull our attention away. So instead of giving into involuntary focus, I want you to be proactive by throwing yourself off your habitual flow.
My favourite example of doing this is constantly changing the location of the applications on my phone. So if it is a habit for me to reach for my phone and open Instagram, moving the location of the Instagram app will bring my awareness back so that I can then recognize I am about to do something I should not.
This tip is super easy to implement and you’ll be surprised how effective it is. You can even try moving the junk food in your house to a different location – this will help bring your awareness back to eating healthy.
If you try any of these tips, let me know in the comments below or message me on Instagram!
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As always, I hope you have a great day and don’t forget to make this the #YearofYou!
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical or mental health professional. Any information and content on my website is not a substitute for professional health advice.