Being able to focus is a powerful ability that has several positive effects on your life.
You’ll be more productive, save time, and even improve your mental health.
However, it’s not a skill that’s easy to harness, especially when you don’t have the tools needed to focus better.
There’s one simple practice that can help you pay attention to a task for a long period of time. That simple practice is being present. When you are more present, you’ll develop laser focus, clarity, and become more productive.
Let’s look at what it means to be present and how mindfulness and living in the moment can improve your focus.
How to be present
The notion that you have to be more present to focus seems simplistic. And you may wonder what being present has to do with your mind’s ability to concentrate. The following points will give you tips on being more present that will simultaneously boost how well you attend to the work you do.
All of us daydream; it’s a common activity that takes us out of the moment and allows us to indulge in fantasy scenarios. Although it seems like a harmless enough thing to do, daydreaming keeps us from focusing on our work. It’s far too easy to get lost in mental movies where we’re creating potential scenarios around our work or personal lives. We’re using considerable mental energy in maneuvering hypothetical situations rather than dealing with what’s really happening in life.
While working, catch yourself falling into a daydream and dismiss the thoughts and emotions that arise.
Not all daydreaming is bad. It can be an effective tool for your mind to relax and find creative ideas. However, when trying to accomplish practical work on a deadline, daydreams hinder rather than help.
Being more present means noticing and appreciating your current situation as it is. Pay attention to the temperature, the objects around you, the sounds that are coming in, and your physical state of being. As you are more grounded in the present moment, your ability to focus will improve.
At one time, multitasking was hailed as a valuable skill that enabled people to get more done in less time. Today, we’ve come to realize that multitasking is not only a poor way to work, it’s also virtually impossible to do.
Our brains can only focus on one task at a time. What we can do is switch between tasks with some effort. The more you practice switching tasks, the faster you get at it. But you can never really do several things at once.
It’s far better to single-task i.e. to focus on one task at a time. Did you know that the brain consumes 20% of the total energy your body uses? Doing mental work consumes energy, literally.
When you try to switch between tasks, you have to change your thought processes every time. This uses up more energy than if you gave all your attention to one job.
Single-tasking is a way to be more present. You’re doing one thing at a time and giving it your full attention. In this way, living and working at the moment improves how well you focus.
Be aware of FOMO
FOMO is the Fear of Missing Out. It’s a feeling that has become prevalent today with the widespread use of social media.
Because social media users are always sharing entertaining content or showcasing the best of their lives, we’re left with the feeling that we need to stay on social media or we’ll miss out on something important. We also feel like we need to keep up with others. It’s very important to be aware of these feelings because you’ll realize that you’re indulging in comparisons between yourself and other people.
The Fear of Missing Out also keeps your mind in the future and stuck on social media, which takes you away from the present moment and reduces your ability to focus.
Try to avoid social media as much as you can. If you do need to use it, ask yourself if you’re experiencing FOMO.
With awareness, you’ll spend more time being mindful of the positives in your own life and avoid social media. This automatically improves your ability to focus and helps you save time by avoiding distracting social media content.
We’ve looked at a simple way to boost your focus and become more productive – being more present. However, being present is possible when we’re aware of the small things we do every day that takes us away from focusing on the task at hand.
Use the tips here and try to be more present as you work. You’ll find that your mental focus becomes laser-sharp and that you’ll get work done faster, which leads to more time for self-improvement.