Focus.

Wait, what?


Have you ever been told to focus? Maybe you've written to-do lists a million times, only to have them never get done. Or maybe you've used mind maps or sticky notes to organize your thoughts. These are helpful and useful tools — there's nothing wrong with them. The problem is we don't use these tools effectively or consistently. How many times do you write a to-do list, promise yourself that you're going to focus for the next hour, and then find yourself doing something else an hour later? I'm willing to bet it happens more than you'd like.


I'm willing to bet it will happen while you're reading this blog post. How many times have you checked your phone screen already? We are half-present creatures. Or, at least that's what it feels like to me. Our minds race in different directions and as a result, we can't focus on the moment — or anything for that matter. We don't live fully present or deeply engaged with our lives.

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Wait, what?

There are several reasons why this might be happening. One is that our attention spans have been shrinking for years. It's easy to blame technology and social media for this, but there are other reasons.


For example, we're living in a world where there are more distractions than ever before. Technology has turned us into a generation of multitaskers — we expect to be able to do everything at once, which makes it harder to focus on one thing at a time.


We also have more information available than ever before, which means it's hard for us to filter out what's important and what isn't when we're trying to concentrate on something else.


Are we focusing less in the world? Yes. Do all humans have ADHD? No! Are you sure? You might have ADHD but don't know it yet!

Wait, what were we just talking about?


Sometimes it feels like we're all suffering from ADHD.


For example, we're living in a world where there are more distractions than ever before. Technology has turned us into a generation of multitaskers — we expect to be able to do everything at once, which makes it harder to focus on one thing at a time.


We also have more information available than ever before, which means it's hard for us to filter out what's important and what isn't when we're trying to concentrate on something else.

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Tips for better focus


 Do you ever feel like you're just walking around in a fog? Like you're not really present with what's going on around you?


This happens to all of us. The trick is to recognize when it's happening and then take a few steps to bring yourself back into the moment. Here are some tips for bringing your focus back when it's drifted:


1. Take a deep breath. Breathing is such a great tool for a host of things that might ail you. Why? Well breathing works to kickstart the parasympathetic nervous system This immediately calms your body and mind and gives you a moment to regroup.


2. Close your eyes for a few seconds and allow yourself to relax.


3. Focus on one thing in front of you (a desk, wall, floor) and imagine that it's in black and white, or just one color (for example, blue). This will give your brain something simple to focus on instead of allowing it to wander off into another thought.

4. Listen carefully to music that has lyrics instead of instrumental music — that helps keep your mind focused on one thing at a time without drifting off into thoughts about other things that may be going on around you at the same time (or memories from the past).


5. Take a break. Take a few minutes to stretch, walk around, or grab a snack. This will help clear your mind and give you some perspective on what's going on around you. If possible, avoid using technology during this break — just do something physical like going for a walk or taking the dog out for a potty break.


6.  Take stock of what's happening around you. Think about how much time has passed since the last time you checked in with yourself and ask yourself if anything has changed since then? For example, if you're working on an email campaign but realize that no one has opened any emails in an hour or so, it might be time to reassess what's working and what isn't — before continuing on with more emails!


7. Digital Detox - I know. This one seems scary to me too! But taking a day or two (or at least a couple of hours away from all screens can really help you maintain focus.  Go outside if the weather allows.  Get some sun/vitamin d.  Vitamin D is great for a lot of things including depression. Which could be another reason you’re not focusing.


8. The Pomodoro Method.  I love the Pomodoro method because when I feel unfocused it really helps to reign me in.  Named after that cute little tomato timer. Basically, you set a timer for 20 minutes. During those 20 minutes, you focus on the task at hand.  If you get distracted, restart the timer. At the end of 20 minutes, you can take a 5-minute break. Rinse and repeat. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve started the timer and worked much longer than the extended 20 minutes. Some of the apps even allow you to make a to-do list and check each task off. If you’re like me, you’ll nerd out on the satisfaction of ticking those mofoes off.

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In Conclusion...

Well, if you’ve stuck with me this far, you are a warrior! Having said that, you must have a lot of questions.  Me too! Like, what have you learned from this guide?  Do you feel like your focus has increased or decreased in the process of reading it?  What did you find most useful among the ten points mentioned above?  Are there any others that come to mind that I may have missed out on?  I hope that you take something positive away from this.


So what DID we learn about focus? Lets recap. Focus is an important but often elusive part of life. This much we know. What’s more, I think we learned tools and techniques that will help you get more focused in your life and avoid many of the distractions we all seem to face. Because when you have focus in life you can achieve exactly what you want to achieve. And remember, focus is nothing more than deciding something and doing it, without distraction. Besides that, it's not just life changing, it can save your life as well. Totally not trying to be dramatic about that.

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