Tips for Staying Focused
Tips for Staying Focused. Some might say it is because we do not have the necessary willpower to accomplish what we set out to do. Some say it is because we are too busy or too overwhelmed to take action on our resolution. My guess is it could be any of those things, but it is more likely that you have just started down a path without your compass and you have started to lose your way.
Set a solid intention for accomplishing your goal
- Rather than rattling off a list of things, you “should” do for whatever reason, sit down and think about what it is you really want to achieve and set a solid intention for accomplishing your goal.
- I also suggest that you focus on only one or two intentions at a time.
- No matter what it is that you would like to achieve, setting an intention can and will set you on a course for success.
F.O.C.U.S. to Improve Concentration
F= Five More Rule:
- Just like athletes build physical stamina, you can build mental stamina by s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g your brain.
- When you are in the middle of a task and you feel like giving up, just do five more.
- FIve more minutes, problems, or pages.
O= One Think At a Time:
- When trying to concentrate on something and your brain continues to be invaded by other thoughts or lesser priorities, write those down to address later.
- Assign your mind time limits and specific times to think about those other things.
C= Conquer Procrastination:
- Next time you are putting off a task, ask yourself 3 questions.
- 1) Do I have to do this?
- 2) Do I want it done so it’s not on my mind?
- 3) Will it be any easier later?
- The task is not going away and delaying it will keep it on your mind and prevent concentration.
U= Use Your Hands as Blinders:
- Picture your mind as a camera and your eyes as the lens.
- If you are prepping for an exam and need 100% concentration, cup your hands around your eyes to create “blinders,” blocking potential visual distractions, and just focus on your notes or textbook.
S= See As If For the First or Last Time:
- This is all about being present, mindful, and in the moment.
- When you find you are losing focus, try stepping away and looking at your notes/textbook as though for the first time. Look with a fresh perspective and refocus.
How to improve focus and concentration?
- If you are experiencing difficulty with concentration, you are not alone.
- Below are some tips from people who have taken steps to improve their concentration.
- You might want to try these suggestions to see if one or more helps you.
Break up tasks into smaller parts:
- One way to practice your concentration skills is to break tasks down into smaller parts.
- For instance, if you want to read a book but find your mind wandering, focus on reading one paragraph at a time rather than trying to read a whole chapter or the whole book.
- In time, you will find it easier to get through a paragraph without getting distracted.
- Then you can focus on completing two paragraphs, etc.
Create an environment that supports concentration:
- At an amusement park, it can be very hard to concentrate!
- The situation or environment we are in affects our ability to focus.
- When you need to concentrate create an environment that minimizes distractions.
- You might want to try some of these steps.
Try the “Five More” rule:
- When it’s hard to concentrate some of us find the “Five More” is really helpful.
- If you are in the middle of a task and are tempted to give up do just FIVE MORE.
- Read FIVE MORE pages, finish FIVE MORE math problems, work FIVE MORE minutes, wait FIVE MORE minutes.
- Continuing to concentrate when your brain is tired is the key to S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G your attention span and building mental endurance.
Writing down directions:
- Difficulty with concentration can make it challenging to follow directions.
- When this happens you can ask for directions or instructions to be given one step at a time.
- You can also make a list of each step that is required and check things off one-by-one.
- This will help with concentration and focus.
What task can you break down into smaller tasks to practice your concentration skills?
- Plan my own quiet corner away from distractions.
- Use a bookcase to create a wall.
- Shut a door.
- Clean or organize my space.
- Before focused concentration, take care of basic physical needs such as feeling hungry.
- Be rested and relaxed before beginning.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Gather supplies before beginning. This will limit interruptions.
- Read this or say out loud:
- When I feel like I can’t concentrate anymore and I am bothered by this, I will use the
- “Five More” rule. This will help me focus for longer and longer and I will see that I’m being successful.
Tips for Improving Concentration for students
Study in a space with minimal distractions
- Find a place that fits your studying needs, and try to make it your regular study space.
- Once you’re there, your mind knows that it’s time for studying.
- If you choose to study where you normally sleep, eat, or socialize, you will be tempted to do those activities.
- An ideal study location should be free of distractions (friends, televisions, or cell phones).
- It should have good lighting and a comfortable (but not too comfortable) chair.
- Studying in bed, although tempting, often leads to naps and should be avoided.
Use your best times for studying
- Do you often have lots of energy earlier in the day or later in the afternoon?
- Are you itching for a nap after lunch?
- Concentration is better during your most alert hours of the day, so use that time to study your most difficult subjects.
- When you’re feeling less energetic, you can organize your notes, study easier courses, or complete other tasks like household chores or errands.
Plan your schedule
- Once you’ve made a schedule that suits your needs, it is easier to settle into your routine.
- A schedule creates a sense of urgency and allows you to focus on the task at hand whether that task is attending classes, eating lunch, exercising, or studying.
- Scheduling short study sessions and taking regular 5 to 10-minute breaks can help if you have trouble staying focused.
- A little rest renews your energy.
- You can build up your brain muscle endurance over time by increasing your study time incrementally.
- If you have trouble getting started, time your breaks using Wedging on page 2.
Subdivide your large assignments into small steps
- Subdividing large assignments into smaller and more manageable steps can help you to stay focused on difficult projects that are overwhelming.
- Set very specific, short-range, and reasonable goals in order to get started.
- Then, focus on one element at a time in order to make progress towards completing your larger project.
- For more details on how to do this, please refer to our STAR goals handout.
Use active learning strategies
- It is easier to stay focused on your studies when you use active learning strategies.
- Don’t just read; read out loud, use a highlighter, and write notes in the margins of your book.
- Ask yourself questions while you read and during class, take notes in class to stay focused, and try to make connections between the subject matter and its real-world applications.
Here are 5 top tips to finally achieving your goal:
Tip 1: Get clear.
- In setting an intention, you’re making it clear to yourself and other people exactly what you plan to do.
- Define the definition of what accomplishing your goal would be.
- For instance, you know you’ve reached your goal of improving your management skills when you consistently feel more satisfied with your ability to deal with tough situations and motivate your staff.
- You may even get that promotion you have been after!
Tip 2: Realize that an intention comes in several sizes and every large goal is filled with intentions big and small.
- With follow-through, each intention will ultimately lead to success.
- For instance, if you resolve to improve your management skills, your first intention may be to speak with your company to find out what skills and traits you may want to focus on.
Tip 3: do not let confusion overwhelm your intention.
- You may have lots of passion about your resolution, but passion without a plan is wasted energy and will eventually fizzle out.
- Setting an intention to take a step towards your goal each day will keep you on the right path and help to clear away confusion.
Tip 4: Use your resources.
- Ask for what you want and need from other people.
- When you clearly state your intention and your request of other people, you have the opportunity to gain a partner and a cheering section.
- For instance, if you look up to somebody’s management style, ask him or her for tips and possibly even support.
- Chances are they will be flattered and very willing to share advice.
Tip 5: Be accountable.
- Choose your resolutions carefully by deciding what really interests you.
- You might ask somebody you trust to help keep you accountable.
- Nevertheless, nothing can take the place of honoring your intentions to yourself.
- You will be amazed at how your self-esteem and sense of accomplishment will increase when you achieve your goals.