Finding Focus in a Time of Distraction

September 30, 2021

It’s well known that distractions and disruptions to routine can interfere with your focus—but it’s rare that we have to deal with massive distractions on a global scale. COVID-19 has disrupted the way we live our lives, and it’s a distraction that has gone on for many weeks. If you’re struggling to keep your attention where it needs to be during this time, you’re not alone. Many people are reporting difficulty finding and keeping their focus right now.

Although what you’re experiencing is normal, it isn’t convenient. Try these tips to find and increase your focus during this unprecedented time of distraction.

Exercise in Bursts

Short bursts of activity can help you to reset and clear your head. When you can’t seem to focus, try standing up and pacing, going for a quick walk or 10-minute bike ride, or pulling a few weeds in the garden.

Get Outside

Time in nature has been proven to soothe anxiety and help you focus more effectively. Aim to get outside for at least a few minutes every day, no matter what the weather, and enjoy whatever nature has to offer.

Take Time to Relax

Sometimes the more you to try to focus on something, the more your mind wanders. Counterintuitively, stepping away from a project and allowing yourself to relax can make you much more productive when you come back to your task.

Be Present

Mindfulness is a powerful tool to increase attention. If you find your thoughts flying off in different directions, acknowledge the distraction, then gently bring yourself back to where you are and what you’re doing in this moment.

Use Positive Self-Talk

Be your own coach and motivate yourself with encouraging words. Things like, “It will feel so good to finish this,” or “I made good progress today,” can help you to focus on the rewarding aspects of paying attention and working towards your goals.

Break it Down

It can be helpful to break down a task into smaller increments, or to work on it for short periods of time interspersed with breaks. Rather than deciding to finish a project by the end of the week, decide you’ll work on it for two hours each day, in four half-hour sessions.

Find an Accountability Partner

It can be hard to stay focused and motivated if no one else knows how you’re doing. Find someone to check in with each day about what you’re accomplishing. You can cheer each other on, provide support, and be accountable to each other.

Finding focus in a time of global distraction isn’t easy, but there are things you can do to boost your attention and productivity, even during COVID-19. By doing the best you can in a tough situation, and taking it one day and one task at a time, you can find and maintain focus and accomplish what you need to do, no matter what distractions or disruptions try to derail you.

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