Today’s society isn’t just distracted; it’s convenient. We live in a world filled with creature comforts at every turn of the corner. From the microwave to quickly zap a cup of coffee to the perfect temperature to the smartphone in our hand that leaves us ever connected and free from being tethered to a phone cord; we’re living a cushy life.
Although we’re privileged, this comfort can sometimes prove to be a disservice when it comes to staying focused. With so many conveniences at the push of a button, we’re no longer trained to master the art of holding a healthy attention span.
If you struggle to focus in your daily routine, here are four strategies to help you improve your attention span and get more done.
1. Meticulously Schedule Your Day
How do you schedule your day? Do you simply put together a to-do list and check it off as you go? If so, you’re probably not getting as much done as you could.
When you meticulously schedule your day, you’re doing two things.
First, you’re ensuring that you don’t overschedule yourself. Doing this can cause you to get disheartened and frustrated, making you less productive in the long-run and less focused. It can also leave you feeling scatterbrained. Give yourself a plan and you’ll be better focused to navigate your day.
Second, you’re giving yourself mini-deadlines that you need to meet. As those deadlines approach, you know you need to focus harder to reach your goals for the day.
Plan your day meticulously. Schedule out areas of time and plan what you’ll accomplish every hour. Fall behind and you’ll have an extra push to focus to get your work done for the day.
2. Set Your Timer for 30-Minutes
If you find yourself really struggling to focus, promise yourself a healthy 30-minutes where you’ll devote all of your brain power to one task. Is that too much? Try 20-minutes. Or 15-minutes. Then, set your timer and put your nose to the grindstone.
Dedicating small chunks of time like this forces your brain to do the work in front of you. You can focus because you know you have the clock ticking away and a goal to finish as much as you can in that allotted time period. It may sound trivial, but give it a shot and you might be surprised at how effective this strategy is when it comes to improving your focus.
3. Automate as Much as Possible
We’ve progressed away from living in analog mode and now more of our daily tasks, like scheduling, are (or are able to be) digitized. This digitization opens a new world for people who are prone to distraction. Namely, automation.
Automating more tasks means you can focus better on the jobs that require your human brain power. You’re not tied up mentally with tedious work, so you’re better attentive to the work or people in front of you. Automation enables you to clear the cobwebs of busy work, so you can be more present in every angle of your job.
4. Read More Books
We recently saw a statistic that said a quarter of Americans didn’t read a single book last year. As a society, we’ve reached a new pinnacle when it comes to distraction in our daily lives. This distracted state of living permeates every aspect of our life, including our ability to focus.
If you want to improve your focus, try sitting down with a book. Force yourself to focus on diving in deep to the content, no matter what genre it is. Let yourself get lost in it. Let your brain unwind and practice focusing on something that’s quiet and engages your brain. Remember, your brain is like a muscle. The more you practice focusing on a task, the better you will do when it comes time to buckle down at work.
It’s easy to get caught up in distraction in today’s fast-paced world. Be intentional about your focus and you’ll be more productive.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.