Do you find yourself fighting to concentrate on tasks for long periods of time? Are you easily distracted, a daydreamer, thinking about 20 different things at once, or struggling to remember the thought you had 15 minutes ago? SQUIRREL!
The world we live in today constantly bombards us with information overload. Our brains are overstimulated to the point that we can’t easily hold our attention on one thing. In fact, society expects us to “multi-task” and do it well. This is ludicrous! Email, text messaging, twitter, Facebook, YouTube, news media, and constant advertisements bombard our senses every waking moment of the day. The brain has a hard time processing all this input at once.
If you are someone like me who lives with ADHD, the ability to hold focus is even harder. People with ADHD also can have the complete opposite problem, hyperfocus (OCD anyone?). Sounds crazy, but the brain of someone with ADHD can get super tuned into tasks that we find stimulating. Then we can’t pull ourselves away from that task to focus on other areas in life. Double edged sword I’d say!
You can find your focus when you learn some simple strategies to manage your mind. These strategies can help to get your attention back on track.
Brain or Biology?
Learning how to become aware and catch yourself when your thoughts start to wander is step number one in gaining control over concentration. When you find yourself starting to jump from one thing to another, your mind begins to wander or you are unable to complete one task, you need to mentally pause and hit the reset button.
I do this by literally yelling ‘STOP’! You want to provide a strong stimulus to stop the spinning and give yourself an opportunity to assess the situation and regroup. If you don’t like to yell, a strong hand clap or foot stomp can work. You just want to get your own attention to recognize your mind has run amuck.
When our focus wanes, ask yourself why this may be happening before you decide what to do. Are you tired? Need a stretch break, a cup of coffee, or cat nap? Are you hungry, or is your blood sugar low? Have you been holding your pee for 2 hours and have ants in your pants? I know this all sounds silly but checking to ensure that our basic biological needs are being met can alleviate some of the issues. Taking breaks can help to reset and start anew on whatever project you need to complete.
Got Mother Nature?
Spending time in an outdoor setting, surrounded by nothing but blue sky, birds singing, and leaves rustling in the wind provides a site that fosters focus and increased concentration. If you live in the frigid Midwest like me, standing outside in negative 25-degree windchill provides a quite stimulating way to wake you up!
The American Psychological Association encourages spending time in nature as a proven way to not only improve concentration, but also mental health in general. In fact, even city-slickers with more greenery around their homes tend to experience a certain degree of these benefits. So, get yourself a houseplant or two (unless you are me and have a brown thumb, then maybe stick to visiting your local garden center).
The White Noise Advantage
While this strategy may seem counterintuitive when it comes to improving focus, the opposite is often true. When trying to concentrate on a specific task or activity, certain types of background noise can reduce distractions. It is important to note that the specific type of noise is important.
Listening to music on a low volume, a fan, or even a white noise machine that generates sounds like rain, storms, windchimes, chanting, and many more soothing sounds can help.
Listening to white noise can successfully block out your chatty co-workers, snoring partner, annoying kids, or any other distracting noises in your environment. I personally enjoy listening to podcasts with people who have soothing voices. Doesn’t matter if it is Eckhart Tolle talking about the power of now, or Ashley Flowers telling tales of serial killers, peace and tranquility are only your earbuds away!
Maria Kondo That Sh!t
When our physical environment is cluttered, dirty, and chaotic, it makes sense that our minds would start to feel the same. If you want better mental clarity, improve the structure and organization of the space around you. Whether this is a desk, vehicle, bedroom, etc., clean up your messy space.
When I come home from a long, hard, stressful day at work, the first thing I must do to feel control is clean my kitchen. This drives my husband and kids nuts. But when my external environment is unruly, my anxiety rises, and I just can’t focus on anything else until order is restored. If you want dinner kids, you better clean the dishes first!
Consult a Coach
Getting professional help to learn strategies to learn how to manage your mind and gain better focus is a great way to take control of your shit! Every individual is unique, and while structure, lists, and hiring a cleaning crew may work for some, others function better with a controlled chaos, not everything completely planned or 100% coordinated. You must learn what works best for you!
I am a huge planner in my work life. But at home, while certain things (like the kitchen) are mandatory organization, other things, like meal planning is not my jam. You need to learn what works best for you. I can help you with that.
If you are ready to learn how to gain control of your life and learn how to build better ways to improve your concentration and focus on the things you want to be working on, then let’s connect. Schedule a Free Breakthrough Session with me today.
Yes, you can!