Enhance Your Focus: A Guide to Boosting Productivity and Concentration
July 2023, 5 min read
There are distractions.. Everywhere. In today's fast-paced world, it's easier than ever to lose focus or have trouble concentrating. These distractions demand our focus, splitting our concentration and making us less productive - as well as making us feel overwhelmed. But remedying this can begin with just a few simple steps! Primarily? Noticing. Awareness.
If we just notice where our mind is throughout the day, we will be less likely to get sucked into distractions and will be able to bring our attention back to the task at hand - the key to focus.
What are the Different Types of Attention?
In Mindway’s “Enhance Your Focus” mindfulness meditation journey, you learn about different types of attention.
Your attention can be broad, encompassing many things around you. Think of it as having a wide-angle lens on your mind's eye, where you take in all the sights, sounds, and sensations of your surroundings. This type of attention is great for when you're exploring a new place or brainstorming ideas. It allows you to see the bigger picture and connect different pieces of information.
On the flip side, your attention can also be narrow, zoomed in on a specific thing. Picture a spotlight shining directly on your object of focus. This type of attention is useful when you need to concentrate deeply on a particular task or when you're trying to find your car keys in the messiest of rooms. This is usually the kind of attention that people struggle to attain.
But wait, there's more! The direction of your attention can also differ. You can focus your attention internally, onto mental and emotional cues. This is like having an internal radar that tunes into your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. It's perfect for self-reflection, meditation, or when you're pondering life during your morning coffee.
Alternatively, you can direct your attention externally, onto environmental cues. Think of it as turning on your external sensors to absorb the world around you. This type of attention comes in handy when you're engaging in a conversation, appreciating nature, or trying to avoid stepping on that dreaded LEGO piece your child left on the floor.
How to Enhance your Focus:
Now that we've covered the basics of attentional focus, let's move on to some practical suggestions to enhance your focus in your daily life. Remember, focus is like a muscle, and the more you practice maintaining attention, with a gentle and mindful attitude, the stronger your concentration and focusing skills become. Here are a few tips to help you sharpen that focus:
Create an Internal and External Distraction-Free Zone: Remember how focus can be internal, or external? While it’s easy to blame our lack of focus on external distractions, remember that you do have a lot of agency over internal distractions as well. If you’re listening to lyrical music while (trying to be) in deep work, you can expect a lot of emotion to bubble to the surface, distracting you from the task at hand. So it’s important to cleanse your mind from potential resource-grabbing stimulants when focusing. Try putting on some headphones, and make sure that you’re not overly tired. Find a quiet space, free from distractions like noisy colleagues or social media notifications. This will allow you to create a sanctuary for your focus to thrive.
Mindful Breathing and Meditation For Better Focus: Your ability to focus isn’t just tied to the time you actively need to. Practice strengthening that muscle regularly - schedule a few moments throughout the day to focus on your breath. Use your breath as an anchor, pay attention to the sensation of each inhale and exhale, count your breath, and allow yourself to come back to the present moment and re-center your focus whenever it escapes you. Meditation is a powerful way to rewire your brain for more focus!
Clear the Mental Clutter: Jot down all the tasks, ideas, and worries that are buzzing in your mind onto a piece of paper or a digital note-taking app. This simple act of externalizing your thoughts will help declutter your mind and free up mental space for focused thinking.
Recognize the kind of focus you need in the moment: If your goal is to solve a more creative task, perhaps you’d be better off with a broader sense of focus rather than a narrow one. In such a case, a shower, a walk, or something else to take your mind off a very structured way of thinking may help!
Try Mindway: Mindway offers a variety of interactive mindfulness meditation journeys, including ones specifically designed to help you enhance your focus. If you’ve been liking what you’re reading but it sounds difficult in practice, then Mindway’s VR wellbeing platform makes it easy to isolate yourself from the outside world, focus on the present moment and enhance your focus within less than 15 minutes.
Enhancing your focus is a powerful skill that can transform your productivity and overall well-being. By understanding the different types of attentional focus and implementing practical strategies in your daily life, such as meditation, you can train your mind to stay on track and conquer distractions. So, embrace the journey of sharpening your focus, my friend, and watch your accomplishments soar to new heights!
Remember, you've got this. Stay focused, stay determined, and let nothing distract you from reaching your goals. Happy focusing!