by: Joshua Hawley
Focusing can be rather difficult for many of us. I know that I constantly struggle with this. Whether it be trying to study for a test or even writing this post, focus can be hard to come by. Many of us will try to put a TV show or maybe even a podcast on in the background while we work, but this just does not help too much. Now, you may be an exception and these tips do not apply to everyone, so take this as you will.
Listen to Music
Listening to music while you work can help you get in a “mood” or “zone” in which you can work efficiently. For some, relaxing and slow music does the trick and for others, upbeat tones do it. For me, epic instrumental music works best. The reason instrumental in particular works for me is that there are no lyrics. When I, as I would venture to guess many of you as well, listen to music with lyrics, I tend to focus on and listen to them. This ends up taking some of my attention away from my work. You want your undivided attention to be on your project, assignment, etc.
Get Rid of Distractions
Don’t try to work with the TV on or while trying to listen to someone on a video or podcast. You will inevitably end up just focusing on that, instead of your work. Try to work somewhere quiet and secluded. Some of you may work better with some low conversation or low background noise, which is fine. Go to a coffee shop or a more casual library. No one works better surrounded by people yelling or fighting, or with kids screaming in the background.
Put Your Phone Down
Just leave it alone. I know that for most of us this causes some anxiety, especially when our phone buzzes and we are not able to look at it. If you have to, just leave it for 15-30 minutes and get a good spurt of work done and then spend 5 minutes responding to whatever notifications buzzed across your phone. If you are constantly checking your phone every 5 minutes, you will never be able to efficiently get your work done because your concentration and train of thought will be derailed.
In today’s world, our attention span is so short. This can cause major issues when trying to work for long periods of time, and for many, one 30-60 minute break in a 9 hour work period just won’t cut it. Something that you can try to do is see if you can take a 5 minute break every hour. Take 10-15 minutes for lunch and eat something you had previously prepared if you have to. Eating really does not take that much time. Try to take a minute break every 20-30 minutes, especially if you are staring at a computer screen the whole time. I have had to do this a time or two while writing this post. Make sure that the short periods of time that you can focus are utilized to their fullest, and make sure that you do not burn yourself out or else your motivation and work will greatly suffer.
Of course, these are just some suggestions. These will not work for everyone, but try a couple or all of them. Try listening to different genres of music and stick with the one that helps you the most. Try to find different places to work with different levels of noise and see which suits you best. Also, find out how long you can truly pay attention to your work and plan breaks accordingly. Maximize your focus and the efficiency of your work!