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Home There are so many distractions! What can I do to improve my attention and focus?

There are so many distractions! What can I do to improve my attention and focus?


When we look at what we have accomplished for a day, it is common to find ourselves in one of these two sides: confused or guilty because we missed doing most of what we intended to do that day, or relieved or happy because we were able to check off many of the important things on our list of things to do. 

Where do you find yourself most of the time? 

Renowned motivational speaker Zig Ziglar reflects what most of us often struggle with in our day-to-day productivity when he said, “Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.”

Focus and attention in a distracted world

Focus and attention are considered currency in the modern world, because whatever holds our focus has the ability to lead our lives. 

Focus is defined as our ability to sustain concentration. And this ability is linked to many life-changing benefits. 

  1. Focus gives us more opportunities. When we give attention to a certain path, we discover many things about it that we didn't know existed. It will lead us to more knowledge and opportunities to become an expert at it. 
  2. Focus makes us more productive. When we understand our priorities and sustain our concentration in reaching these priorities, we can let go of distractions and get the work done, saving us more time, effort and resources. 
  3. Focus helps us achieve our goals. Whether our goals are short-term or long-term, they need certain levels of attention and persistence in order for them to become reality. Focusing on goals makes it easier for us to say no to other “good” things because we have our eyes on the prize, which are our goals. 
  4. Focus pushes us to reach success faster. They say that many roads lead to success, but all these roads require us to be focused and consistent. It helps us to do our tasks day by day, overcoming distractions.

How do we increase our ability to focus? 

  • Identify distractions. Distractions may vary from person to person, but whatever interrupts our attention can be called a distraction. They draw our attention away from our main tasks. 
  • Noise from the environment (equipment, machines, etc) 
  • Sound from conversations around us
  • Flashy graphics from displays
  • Gadgets (calls, texts, games, social media, etc. ) 
  • Temperature, posture
  • Tiredness
  • Stress
  • Own thoughts (thinking about thoughts that are not related to the topic at hand) 

These are just some of the sources of distractions. By identifying our own sources of distractions, we can make plans to minimize them. 

  • Set goals and know your priorities. We set our mind on what we consider as the most important and most impactful goals. We are able to give our attention and energy to the things that will give us the highest return for our efforts. 

  • Eisenhower Matrix. It is a time management matrix that was inspired by then US president Dwight David Eisenhower and developed by author Stephen Covey in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  • Pomodoro Technique. It is a simple time management tool that focuses on productivity, developed by Frances Cirillo.

  1. Make your environment ideal for productivity. When our work area is cluttered, noisy or constantly interrupted by distractions, our focus is hindered. Make some tweaks in your work environment. 
  • Make lighting and temperature comfortable, and bright enough to encourage work. (but not dim to make you sleepy) 
  • Adjust noise levels if you can. 
  • Take short breaks within your day. 
  • Remove things that are not essential in your work, but leave things that inspire or motivate you a lot. Having a designated work area also trains your mind to be in work mode when you are there. 
  • If you are easily distracted by your gadgets, consider putting them in silent or do-not-disturb mode. 

Focus and attention make us maximize the use of our time in things that matter to us the most. When we know our distractions, use our time on our priorities and make our environment conducive, we raise the level of success we achieve. 

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There are so many distractions! What can I do to improve my attention and focus?
Brandon Resasco