16 Easy Ways To Improve Your Focus


Americans have about an eight-second attention span. That’s less than a goldfish!!

But we can improve our powers of concentration by, for example, finding clever ways to eliminate distractions, hacking our workflows, or working on our mindsets.

To that end, here are a few takeaways from recent Quora threads that tackled attention.

  1. Investin your sleep. Not sleeping enough makes people distractedfat, and unethical, so be sure to get your rest. While everybody’s needs are different, it’s generally between six to nine hours. And invest in some nice sheets. —Yishan Wong
  1. Exercise your body.Harvard Medical School has found that exercise improves your memory and concentration. You don’t have to be a Channing Tatum, but it’s important that your body is an asset, not a liability. —Achintya Prakash
  1. Exile your distractions.Close email, Facebook, Twitter. Put your phone on airplane mode. Turn off anything that blinks, dings, buzzes, or vibrates. Don’t even give yourself the chance to multitask — since it erodes your attention span. —Bill Hall
  1. Keep a routine.If you sleep, work, and relax at irregular intervals, you’ll spend unnecessary energy trying to organize your time. Like French novelist Gustave Flaubert said, “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” —Frederick Javalera
  1. Use the Pomodoro technique.Taking its name from a Pomodoro timer, which runs for 25 minutes, the Pomodoro technique is a practice of focusing intently on something for 25 minutes and then taking a five-minute break to get coffee, go to the bathroom, whatever. —Selene Chew
  2. Wake up at the same time every day.The regularity lets your hormones get into a rhythm, giving you the most energy, clarity, and focus through the morning. —Michal Ugor
  1. Take a stance on email.Is your job to be on top of things — to respond to everything as quickly as possible? Or does it require long hours of studying and concentration? If the latter, email might remain urgent, but it’s not important. So only check it a few times a day. —Xi Cheng
  1. Know what your life goals are.If you don’t know what they are, read a good book on the subject (BI’s favorite: “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi). Because when you know what you want to do, it’s easier to not do everything else. —Rolfe Dlugy-Hegwer
  2. Do things you enjoy focusing on.It takes “emotional labor” to do work that you don’t engage with, so try to arrange your work day around that engagement, and hack it when it’s not there. —George Mortimer
  1. Write out your obituary.It helps you identify what you actually need to get done. —Dan Webster
  1. Take a break when you’re making awesome progress on a task. You’ll come back to it quicker and with more energy. Like Ernest Hemingway said, always “leave some water in the well.” —Pratik Mhatre
  1. Put noise-canceling headphones on.Not only do they reduce noise, they signal to your colleagues that you’re not to be bothered. —Dave Concannon
  1. Find a partner in crime.Teaming up with a coworker will keep you accountable — if she’s coding while you’re checking Facebook, you’ll feel foolish. —Krzysztof Kowalczyk
  1. Read physical books.It will train you in paying attention to an object for an extended length of time — something the digital world doesn’t provide very well. —Murali Veeraiyan 
  1. Listen to music.It helps you stay in your workflow, since the sound occupies the part of your brain on the lookout for “danger, food, sex, or shiny things.” —Amir Baer 
  1. Break large projects into smaller pieces.Then, instead of having vague goals,set clear deadlines. Execute against those to guide your focus. —Farsheed Atef

About Amr Badran

An Egyptian Business Consultant and Corporate Trainer since 1997. I've trained on Management, Leadership and Soft Skills to thousands of people from many nationalities, backgrounds and professions in more than 10 countries across the Middle and Far East. Holder of an MBA and a Candidate for Doctorate in Business. Find more about my Management and Personal Skills Courses at AmrBadran.com and feel free contacting me at Amr@AmrBadran.com
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