We all have so much going on. It’s hard to focus on what we need to be thinking about right-this-minute. Mindfulness, Harvard Health tells us, is the idea of staying in the present and concentrating on the task at hand. Maybe it’s a job deadline. Maybe it’s finding your exit on the highway. It might not matter, or it could be a matter of personal safety or losing your job. Still, sometimes we just drift off…
Why? There are many reasons for losing focus.
- You can blame aging, bad hearing, depression – those are underlying conditions.
- There are also external conditions such as drinking too much, medication side effects.
- Or even just having too much on your mind. There’s no question when there is too much going on around you, you will have trouble concentrating.
But what can we do about it?
There are lots of simple ways to cheat on this one, without having to actually change your habits. For instance, just keep lists. Set reminder alarms on your phone.
But you can also dig a little deeper and find ways to retrain your mind. Very Well Mind tells us that focus is like a muscle that needs to be trained. They suggest limiting potential distractions. Move the smart phone to another room. Put the chips away. Turn off the TV. Limit as many things as possible to force you to pay attention to the thing you need to be doing.
You can also get all of the silly little tasks out of the way before you dig in. Get to your office. Set meetings. Go through email – then set it all aside. Now you can think about your priority.
There are many ways to get back in focus. If you find the mind drifting, catch yourself and make up a phrase like “snap to it!” you can say it out loud (or maybe not, if you’re at work) … but it’s your way of pulling yourself back into the moment immediately. Purdue University suggests to students that they make a checkmark on a piece of paper every time they lose their focus and daydream. The very act, they explain, pulls you back into reality.
Take a few moments and read up about mindfulness. There is much more to learn about this practice that can get you on the pathway to goodness before you know it.
Oh, and about those glasses …. you’re wearing them.