Feeling Scattered? Try These 6 Ways to Improve Your Focus

Believe it or not, even in the era of distraction, there are things we can do that can help our whirring minds manage a little better

Woman sits on the carpet in her living room in a crossed leg yoga position. Meditation is one of the ways to improve focus.
(Photo: iStock)

We are living in a great age of distraction. According to one 2011 study, that incessant flow of data, words and images amounts to the equivalent of 174 newspapers’ worth of content over the course of a day. (And those were the days before Snapchat.) But there are things we can do that can help our whirring minds manage a little better.

Set specific goals

Tasks like “go to the gym” are easily pushed off. If you make your goal “go to the gym after lunch,” you’re more likely to hold yourself accountable.

Do a phone swap

When you are out with friends and want a phone with you for emergencies, trade with a friend. If you really need to make a call, you can use theirs.

Keep it brief

Don’t waste time or lose focus by spending more mental energy than you need to on emails. Keep your thoughts focused and express yourself in five sentences max.

Leave something for tomorrow

If you’re making headway with a task and enjoying it, leave it unfinished. You’ll be more motivated to pick it up again during your next hyperfocus session.

Space out

Resist the urge to check your phone in the checkout line. Random free moments are great opportunities for scatterfocus. Let your mind wander instead of cramming it with more distractions.

Take a deep breath

Regular meditation—closing your eyes and paying attention to your breathing—can have profound effects on your mind. It focuses more effectively—one study showed a 16 percent increase in test scores among participants who meditated regularly.


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