Mind hacks to help you FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!!

Mindhacks to help you FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS!!

If you are truly honest with yourself, we all at times have challenges focusing and this could be because of stress at work, home or both or anything these days can be the cause of stress which makes it hard to stay task focused. Finding the right strategies that suit you might be what it takes to help you get those tasks done.  Here is a list of tips to help you stay on track and do that to-do list you have been dreading. 

Just start the task even if it’s only for a few minutes

The Zeigarnik Effect states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed tasks. This means that even if you do the task for only 10 minutes it is harder to forget or dismiss it. So, tell yourself that you are only going to do the task for 10 minutes and what you might find that once you get started you can keep on doing the task for longer than the 10 minutes you agreed to do. 

Parking less important tasks

When you are trying to stay focused and get tasks done it’s common to get distracted by intrusive thoughts or other not so important or more enjoyable tasks eg, pick up milk on the way home, return your mother’s phone call, buy a present for a birthday party on the weekend. Although they these tasks also need to be done, they don’t need to be done right now and we can waste unnecessary time thinking about them at the wrong time.  So, try parking these thoughts by writing them down and/or assign another time where you can think about them.  

Manage negative self-talk

Intrusive or negative thoughts can definitely be a stumbling block to your focus ability.  When a negative thought comes like, this is too hard, I can’t do this etc it is important to acknowledge the thought.  Some of the hardest conversations we have our with ourselves so it is important to give respect to yourself and these thoughts, but after acknowledging the negative self-talk reply and transform it into something positive like; I know this task is challenging, but with hard work, dedication and perseverance I can do it.  

Identify you overwhelming triggers.

Sometimes we can’t focus because the task seems too overwhelming.  If this is the case try breaking the task into steps or mini tasks so you can put your focus on each part rather than the whole thing. 

Give yourself a deadline before the task actually needs to be completed

Even when you know you are trying to trick your mind by purposely giving yourself a deadline prior to when the task needs to be completed, I find this still works.  This can also give you some extra time to complete the task if an uncontrollable external influence gets in your way. 

The importance of planning

30 minutes of planning can reduce hours of work. Most bad days begin because there wasn’t enough or little planning. Making time to develop a plan even if it is only for a few minutes can result in less stress and more productivity.

Accountability Buddy

Having someone who can hold you accountable can also help you when are struggling to focus on completing a task.  Find someone that can checkin on where you are at with the task or give you a few encouraging words when you feel your focus drifting away.

Give yourself a deadline before the task actually needs to be completed

Even when you know you are trying to trick your mind by purposely giving yourself a deadline prior to when the task needs to be completed, I find this still works.  This can also give you some extra time to complete the task before the timeframe if an external influence gets in your way.

Background noise or quiet working place

Having some background noise playing like music or use headphones works well for some people so they aren’t distracted by every little noise they can hear.  Other people may work better in silence.  This may be hard to do in some workplaces but perhaps you can find a desk that has less traffic or distractions.

Paraphrase the task

If someone gives you a task, try paraphrasing the task instructions back to the person to make sure you understand what you’re required to do. 

Know your flow

Sometimes people work better in the morning whilst others work better late at night, so it is good to be aware of when you work best and schedule time to suit your style of flow. 

Positive distractions

Not all distractions are bad as there are good distractions too.  If the focus isn’t happening for you try taking a break, going for a walk, do creative art or get some sun to energise yourself and get you focused. 

Write down everything

Writing everything down can free up some mental space, and can also be used as a visual reminder of what’s needed to complete the task. 

Article written by

Kimberley Aguet – Virtual Psychologist, Counsellor