How to stay focused longer
If you saw someone who was really out of shape. And if i were to ask you “how do you think this happened ?”. You would most likely say “Hmm they most probably didn’t get enough exercise and maybe they ate to much junk food”. Well the same thing is applied to Focus. If you’re someone who can barely focus for about five minutes. If you’re getting urges to click away from this article already. Then you’re basically in the same position. But instead of your body that’s in unhealthy state, it’s your mind. If you want to fix this all you need to do is to take care of that special muscle “The Brain” the same way you would take care of your body in order to get a healthy shape.
There are essentially two things that you have to do :
1.Regular exercise for your focus and mind
Just like when you go to the gym you you have to left heavy weights to increase your physical strength. When you want to improve your mental strength, you must force yourself to do something that requires a lot of focus and mental energy. Such as reading a book, studying, working, writing, or even practicing a skill. It varies from a person to another but the rule of thumb is that any task that you are currently having issues focusing on is actually a task that you can train with to focus. Once you decide which task to train with you need to figure out your current strength level for this task.
Let’s say you decide to train by reading a book. Your next step is to set a timer and see how long you can focus on reading, before you start getting extreme urges to check your phone or to do something else.Once that happens stop the timer and note that time. Now that you know where your current focus level is, you need to start training your mind on a regular basis. And for that you need to set aside a block of time everyday just for this focus training. Just like how you would set aside a period of time to workout at the gym. Your task is to try to do 5 sets of this focus training daily, and try to do it for slightly longer then your current focus level. So if you’re currently getting urges after 5 minutes of focused reading. Then aim for six or even seven minutes. Once you do you can take a little break and play on your phone or do whatever you want for about 1 to 2 minutes. Just like you would rest between sets in the gym, and then get back to reading for the next set. And you repeat the process for at least 5 times. Do this everyday and at the end of the week test yourself to check your focus level again. See how long you will focus until you get urges to check your phone or to do something else.You mainly will see a gradual increase in your focus level if you are consistent in your brain training of course. I suggest you to change the exercise from time to time. Instead of reading you can choose to focus on writing, studying, or solve some math problems for better focus results.
When you get your focus strength to at least 10 min, you can get things done at that point.
2.Fix your mental focus diet
The second thing that you have to do to fix your focus is to fix your diet. See we consume food for our body, and we consume content for our minds. Beer, cola, high calories, extra sweet foods are the junk food of our physical world. Which means extra stimulating, fun to watch pieces of content are the junk foods of the mental world. It’s fine to enjoy it every once in a while, you can even do it everyday. But if it’s the only thing your brain consumes. Then your focus power will shrink to seconds.
The primary source of this junk food is social media. A study found that in average people spend only 10 seconds on each post on Instagram. Also on Facebook , twitter,… the score is probably the same. It’s all content that we spend seconds on. Even long content like videos on Youtube fall victim to this. Although the problem in here is stimulation. Many of videos that go viral have tons of edits and sound effects, they cut to a new scene every 5 seconds. These are videos that we watch because of the stimulation they brings. It makes our brain releases dopamine which makes us want to watch more, all while decreasing our focus ability. So in order to fix this you need to consume long content with little stimulation. A great example of this are educational videos like TED Talks, interviews, articles, and books. These are pieces of content that are slow paced and focus on a few topics throughout their entirety. So it makes them a great addition to your Focus diet. I suggest you also to consume audio-books, podcasts and even documentaries. What you want to do is to increase your consuming degree of these healthy content on a daily basis for a better focus routine. You need to know it’s totally fine to use social media, but you need to balance it with some healthier content. Another thing to remember is when you’re consuming focus friendly content ,DON’T MULTI-TASK! Because checking Facebook while watching a Ted-Talk is equivalent to eating a cake while eating a salad. It’s not going to help at all. And when you consume focus training content you should finish what you started. Make a habit of:
- reading the entire article
- watching the entire video
- finishing the entire chapter
This will make you train that focus muscle.
And that’s it, this is the solution to improve your focus. You should obviously work it out. And improving your focus muscle depends on how much you train it on a daily basis, and what sort of content you consume daily. There isn’t a shortcut, just like there isn’t a shortcut for losing weight. It’s an ongoing battle and a lifestyle change that you have to make. I hope this article was helpful to you.