SET SMART GOALS
If your lack of focus is a result of feeling overwhelmed by a complex project, try breaking it down into smaller bites. When you take a large, complex project and break it down into smaller, bite-size tasks, you can boost your ability to concentrate and focus on specific tasks. That’s because you end up with goals that you actually feel like you can accomplish.
BE MORE MINDFUL
Does your mind tend to wander away from where it’s supposed to be? Don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. Distracted thinking is common, and something we all experience. However, these short mental vacations often make it harder to focus on the task in front of you. By being mindful and recognizing when your attention starts to drift, you can quickly bring your focus back to where it needs to be.
MAK A TO-DO LIST
Let’s face it. The items on a to-do list can add up quickly. And, it can be challenging to find the motivation to accomplish everything you set out to do. After you make your list, choose two or three key tasks and put them at the top. Then rank the rest of the items in order of importance. This allows you to tackle urgent tasks when your brain is fresh and your energy levels are high.
GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS
First things first: You need to eliminate distractions. While you can’t do away with everything, you can make an effort to reduce or get rid of as many distractions as possible. There are several apps that work for your phone, tablet, or computer. Some of these distraction-busting programs also allow you to block online games, as well as social media.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
It’s no secret that the majority of Americans are lacking in the sleep department. While a few nights of minimal sleep is okay, not getting enough sleep most nights of the week can negatively impact both your short and long-term memory, as well as your ability to concentrate.
I hope this was helpful Yash
As a last note make sure to have fun with the task at hand. I know sometimes workload can become too much especially if there are a lot of reading assignments but if you find ways to study the way you like it will be easier for you to focus. Possibly use colored highlighters, speak to yourself and explain your lectures while taking notes , and maybe listen to relaxing music in the background. I personally like meditating Zen music, it's really calming! At the end of the day you should also have something to look forward too; for example when I was studying for my MCAT although the hours were long one thing that would motivate me was that when I got home I would get to read and drink some coffee. It was something small to look forward too but nonetheless a nice motivation to get my work done on time!
Best of luck!
Great question that hits on something that affects most of us. Time is the great equalizer and each of us has the same 24 hours in a day. Deciding where to focus our attention can be challenging.
I see a reference to using the Pomodoro technique in the answers and I find that technique quite helpful.
Another tip that helps me is to limit my TO DO list to the top 3 things I need to do so that I am only focused on 3 things in any given day. If I finish all 3 things I let myself choose whatever I would like to do next. Most times I don't knock out all 3 but I at least finish the #1 thing on my list and that's OK.
Lastly, notice I said limit my TO DO list. My list is very long and I'm always adding to it. I've learned to be OK with having some things on my list -- it's not important to empty the list; it's important to get something in my top 3 items done on any given day.
Scott recommends the following next steps:
I think it is important to take good rest to focus better. If you look at your phone or watch a show while taking a break, you are still absorbing so much information that would distract your mind. So one effective way of doing this is to meditate or take a 15 minute nap in the afternoon. If there are so many things to think in your brain, it might be hard to focus on the task in front of you. Taking a nap or mediation are ways of closing your eyes and blocking the distractions from the outside for a short time.
If you like working out, running or walking everyday would help you focus better. When you exercise, not only can you relieve some stress, but also gain more confidence.
I hope this helps!
Like many people answering, I think a ‘To Do” list is very helpful and it is something that I use every day. I think we all go through a point where we procrastinate and do everything but the task that needs to be done. For me, I force myself to get the specific task done before I can do anything else. I set my mind to the idea that “I’m going to finish this before noon and then I can take my lunch break.” I hold myself accountable that way when the task is completed I feel relieved and happy that it was taken care of and I remember that feeling of relief for when I go to do my next task.
Like some people answered earlier, a Pomodoro Technique is a great way to get things done while focusing on a task 20-25 minutes at a time in length, separated by short breaks.
Another option is to place a lamp on your desk and use it as a personal signal. Turn the lamp on when you're focused on a task for 20 minutes and once your timer is up (after 20-25 minutes) turn the lamp off, take a break, drink water, grab a snack, do something briefly away from your desk/computer and when you're ready to continue with your tasks, turn the lamp back on as a signal to yourself that you need to stay focused for the next 20 minutes again.
I hope this helps!
each night, I set a to-do list with 6 things i want to finish the next day
never write more than six
order them according to priority
the next day concentrate only on the first task. Work until the first task is finished then move on to the second task.
At the end of the day I move any unfinished items to a new list of six tasks for the following day.
you can try to look online for more information about why this is effective.
hope this helps
Lots of good advice here already. I agree that you need to remove temptations while focusing on a specific task. Turn off phones, email, chats, etc. Block a reasonable time frame and set a timer. Focus only on some part of your task during that time. Set time frames that are smaller and focus on completing a part of the task. Stop at that time and allow yourself to go check on other things that may have been a distraction (i.e phone or text or email). Then set a new block of time to continue to progress on your task. Doing this eliminates a situation where you mind will start to wander to other things while working on your task because you know you can get to those things at the end of your block of time.
Also, plan your blocks of time well in advance of any deadlines. Try not to wait until the last minute where you feel you have to do all of something in one sitting as that defeats the ability to balance time between your primary tasks and other secondary things that may be a distraction.
Something that has stayed in my mind for around 25 years I first heard from Stephen R. Covey (Author of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and many other great books): "Let technology be your servant, and not your master."
Use your smart phone, well, smartly. Do you need to know EVERY time you get a Snap or a WhatsApp or an unread Insta post? No, you don't. So turn off notifications and badges, and YOU decide when you have 30 minutes to scroll mindlessly. It's OK to block out your mindless social media time, but YOU decide when that will be. Don't let Facebook be YOUR master and ping a distraction to you when they think you should pick up your phone. You are the one in control.
I have a team of around 15 people, and they all have questions, and it's my job to help them and remove their blockers to make them more productive. But I also have to balance my own productivity. So I block time on my calendar that is MY time, and during that time I get to chose whether to respond, or even look at the messages piling in.
When you're boarding a flight and the Flight Attendants go through the emergency instructions they tell you "If oxygen masks appear, please secure your own mask before helping others you are traveling with." What they're really saying is that unless you are OK, you can't help others, so make sure YOU are OK first. Same applies to Time Management. Take control of your time, and take control of the things that you find distracting, acknowledge those things, and create a plan on how to reduce (not eliminate, but reduce) those distractions.
Be well, Yash! Hope this is helpful for you and your situation!
Finally, I find it is hard for me to stay focused if I am tired, so make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep per night, as often as possible.