You are not alone!
Research indicates that most of us grapple with the challenge of maintaining focus in today's distraction-filled world, as also shown by this infographic from Anna Vital.
This issue frequently comes up in my coaching sessions and holds immense significance for learning, decision-making, and overall success.
Here are some strategies I've discovered, informed by my neuroscience training, to enhance focus:
🧠 Weekly and Daily Prioritization: Allocate time to set clear priorities, which helps declutter the mind and determine what's important. Our brain thrives on clarity, and a clear to-do list can activate our Task Positive Network, the network in our brain needed for focus.
🧠 Identify Optimal Focus Conditions: Understand when and where you focus best. For me, mornings or post-exercise times in quiet spaces are ideal, as my body budget is at its highest.
🧠 Incorporate Focus Time into Routine: Block out time in your schedule for focused work and stick to it. Avoid overbooking these time slots.
🧠 Understand Values & 'Why': Because our brains are wired to respond to values. For less appealing tasks, like admin work, recognizing their importance helps combat procrastination.
🧠 Eliminate Multitasking and Distractions: Keep your phone and notifications off during focus times. Discipline is key, as our brains can't effectively handle two complex tasks at once.
🧠 Meditation: Neuroscience research has shown that mindfulness practices and meditation can physically change the brain, enhancing your ability to enter a state of deep focus quickly. It also reduces Default Mode Network activity, which can lead to mind wandering.
🧠 Breathing Techniques: Deep breathing, even just for 2 minutes during high-demand or stressful moments, can be a valuable tool for boosting focus and cognitive performance. Deep breathing activates our body's relaxation response, reducing stress hormones and improving focus. It also engages the prefrontal cortex, responsible for executive functions like focus and decision-making.
For further insights and techniques regarding enhancing focus, you might enjoy exploring "Deep Work" by Cal Newport and "Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence" by Daniel Goleman, both provide insights into the science and application of attention.
What are your strategies for finding focus?