Mental focus can seem like a quality difficult to attain. For much of your teens, it barely registers as a concept. You want to laze around from bed to bed and from couch to couch hoping your life works out, with zero focus for anything except for finding a suitable partner, and meeting the bare minimum of grades.
For the majority of your twenties, you’re very aware of it (most likely having survived some sort of schooling), but it seems completely out of reach, like you’re a hamster on a wheel and it’s just outside of your cage.
For the rest of your life - who knows. How about this: the articles I read about increasing mental focus are all written by adults, so what does that tell you.
My father might have retirement down pat by this point, but that doesn’t mean he’s got life’s eternal struggles beat.
So how do you achieve mental focus? Yoga? Meditation? Exercise? Sleep? Yes, and more.
Read below at 8 ways to increase mental focus and turn your life around today.
8. Be Mindful of Your Environment
There is a reason students who want to study well head to the library. There, they have tranquility. There’s no music, no friends, and no parties, just a building full of people with the exact same goal: Learn.
People feed on an atmosphere. If the atmosphere is well established somewhere, such as in a library, in a coffee shop, in your bedroom, or somewhere else, make sure it’s something in which you thrive. There’s no studying in the middle of a bouncy castle.
This preparation allows greater focus to come through. People have the capacity for an incredible amount of focus but they make it harder on themselves by trying to focus everywhere. You may technically have the means to study in a coffee shop, at a party, in the middle of the road, and in the middle of a sports arena - but you shouldn’t.
Pick an environment you know keeps you calm, cool, and collected, and focus.
7. Define What Focus Means for You
We all have a vague sense of what “focus” means, but try and define it in your head. Can you? It’s when you try to concentrate on something. Okay, true, but what does it mean for you. What is it in your situation that demands focus? Is it work? Is it a relationship? Is it a sport?
Consider all of these factors before deciding what focus means to you. Focus may mean carving out a specific amount of time in your evening, sitting in a specific spot in your apartment, and doing one specific task.
Maybe it means your ability to learn to concentrate on anything.
Once you figure this out, the rest of the steps should come naturally - and if they don’t, just come back to this list.
6. Make a Plan
Of course, if the focus doesn’t come naturally, make a plan! This reduces the responsibility on your present self, and puts it on your past self. Hopefully he/she is a good planner.
There’s nothing quite like sitting down in your cubicle, or your home office, or a coffee shop, and knowing what you have to do that day because you planned it the day or week before. It makes focusing so much easier.
Your past self creates the lines, and all your present self has to do is colour inside of them. It’s a lot less of a burden, and a lot more fun.
5. Avoid Mult-tasking
Similarly, stop multitasking. Very, very few people can successfully multitask. Listening to music while you edit work or complete a menial task is one thing. Those two activities use different parts of your brain and so they don’t butt heads.
If you try and work on two distinctly different tasks, you won’t get anywhere. Try and read two books at once - you can’t. You end up mixing characters and plots and wondering why the shy office worker is headed to defeat the dragon, and the knight is being asked to fix the old copier.
Pick a task, stick to it, finish it, and move on to the next one.
4. Reduce Noise
Noise reduction is huge. Hearing is one of your five main senses, and it detects everything. If you tamper it down with headphones, by listening to music, static noise, or nothing at all, you will be a lot better off when trying to focus.
Noise reduction is straight forward. The less noise around you, the more unimpeded your thoughts become. This is better for focus.
3. Eat Well
Eating well. This is high on the list because many people are unaware of the numerous benefits of eating well. All parents tell their children to eat their vegetables, but that’s under the guise of “being healthy”. While that general advice is legitimate, it doesn’t hurt to get more specific.
A good meal, filled with the right fats, proteins, and so forth, can actual help fortify brain tissue. If you bog up your brain with junk food, you’ll get nowhere.
Your mind will go cloudy just as you’re sitting down to focus.
There’s a reason an apple is the classic gift you give your teacher, and not a bag of Jalapeño cheetos.
Your brain benefits from exercise the same way your brain benefits from eating well. Your brain becomes stronger, and therefore capable of doing more work. It’s a muscle, and by mixing in actual exercise with sitting down and reading a book, or studying (therefore, practicising focusing), your overall ability to focus will rise considerably.
1. Sleep Well
This is a command. This is paramount to your focus. No one likes to work bleary-eyed. For anyone who commutes, you know that time is key to preparing yourself for work. You need that 30 minutes or hour to compose yourself and get your brain firing on all cylinders. This can only happen if you stay on top of your sleep.
Sleep is your body working at night to make you happier and more productive during the day.
Sleep is an inevitability of everyone’s daily routine. You can’t go more than a few days without sleep before serious negative psychological ramifications occur.
There are ways to increase your quality of sleep: Go to bed at the same time every night, noise reduction, a weighted blanket - they all help.
For more information on focus, sleep, and weighted blankets, get in touch with Namaste Blankets.