10 Focus Tips When Your Attention Span is…Ooh Look a Butterfly!

Blog 10 Focus Tips When Your Attention Span is…Ooh Look a Butterfly!

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10 Focus Tips When Your Attention Span is…Ooh Look a Butterfly!

Focus is one of those things that some of us have to exercise like a muscle. Here’s a list of 10 ways to improve your focus to be more productive:

  1. Make a List

All good things start with a list. Lists force you to rank your responsibilities for the day and forget about those that aren’t important. Creating a list for your work day is like having a blueprint for building a house. Not much you can get done without a sound plan to follow.

  1. Prioritize Your Stuff

Having an organized plan of attack for getting things done throughout the day is one of the best ways to keep yourself on track and focused on what’s important. If you have your priorities in order, you’ll naturally be less distracted by the disorganization of everything and be able to systematically cross one thing at a time off your list.

  1. Avoid Distractions (DUH)

This is a pretty tall order these days with technology at our fingertips and nearly everywhere else we go. It’s almost too easy to tune out on social media or get lost in something that’s naturally more exciting or stimulating than your list of things to do at work.

Whatever you can control though, should be put away, turned off, or out of site while you are working. Turning the volume off on your phone, for example, will reduce the impulse to check it every time it pings.

  1. Quick Breaks to Recharge

Right now, we’re going to take a break so we can get through the rest of this list with your full attention.


Breaks, according to a study by the University of Illinois, allow our brains to decompress and wipe the slate clean in order to effectively move to the next task with ease. It’s like when you’re running (or not, just imagine it) and you slow down to catch your breath. When you start back up again, you can continue to move forward with the same momentum in which you started. Not allowing yourself breaks will burn you out before you’ve even finished with your day.

  1. Exercise Regularly

Speaking of running! This is a no-brainer. Regular exercise helps with pretty much everything under the sun and moon other than if you’re trying to gain weight or mend a broken leg, for example. Keeping a consistent physical routine keeps your endorphins flowing, which releases feel-good chemicals that act as your body’s natural mood-boosters and regulators.

  1. Healthy Sleep

Did you guess this was on the list? Sleep is like taking breaks to recharge, but like, times 50. Irregular sleep habits or not enough sleep can seriously impair your brain’s ability to do a lot of things it does on a good night’s rest, but concentration seems to suffer the most. When you’re tired or constantly under-rested, your body doesn’t have the fuel it needs to perform optimally. Think of a car whose gas tank is on its last 20 miles until empty. What sleep you have gotten is being shuttled to the rest of your body to stay alive and moving, and your concentration stores are unfortunately not at the top of the body’s priority list, so naturally, your focus suffers.

  1. Mindfulness or Meditation

Like exercise, mindfulness helps pretty much everything in life, so it’s no wonder it can assist with your ability to focus as well. Mindfulness is the practice of being aware or conscious of something and is developed through meditation. Mindfulness requires practice to be any good at, but the sheer act of implementing a mindfulness routine can increase your focus as it slows your thoughts down, forces them inward, and brings your attention to the present.

  1. More Breaks

Are you still with me? We’re almost to the end! Yay for breaks!

  1. Schedules & Rituals

Schedules, like lists, are helpful in staying focused. If nothing else, they eliminate a lot of the having-to-remember-and-think-about stuff that might be bogging you down, thereby allowing you to turn on auto-pilot to get what’s needed done.

Dr. Larry Rosen suggests setting small periods of time aside for attending to the distractions that frequently draw our attention away, like emails or text messages. When time is up, you’re free to go back to the task at hand. He suggests repeating this pattern and ultimately increasing your time away from the distractions until you build up a tolerance to an amount of time away from your distractions without feeling the need to pull away. Then, keep aiming for that amount of distraction-free time until it’s a habit.

  1. Training & Practice

Training yourself to do these 10 things takes practice. The more you repeat a thing with intentions to master it, the better you’ll get at that thing over time. Any small effort toward improvement is leaps and bounds beyond choosing to remain the same and struggling the entire time. Be patient with yourself, but do put into practice some of the tips here however you can, and watch your focus improve as a result!

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