By the end of January, most people who made resolutions have already given up or forgotten about them.

So, why not instead work on building small but lasting habit changes to be healthier, happier, and more productive for the whole year?

Why not look for ways of finding focus to help with all the tasks ahead?

If you're struggling with mental health challenges, this may feel daunting because – as shared below – a lot of distraction do actually come from within when we are feeling overwhelmed.

However, committing to finetuning your focus will relieve some of the stresses and help you to get your ‘to-do’ list done!

What is Focus?

Focus means being intentional about what we pay attention to and concentrating on one thing at a time. The ability to not get easily distracted is crucial for productivity and success in just about anything. Staying focused is becoming even more precious in today’s modern world where there are distractions everywhere!

Why is it so hard to be focused?

Being mentally focused and concentrating on a single task can be difficult.

It’s not something that comes easy to most, but the good news is that the more you practice it, the easier it becomes!

Contrary to what you might think, external distractions such as digital notifications from phones only account for around 10% of our daily distractions.

Internal distractions make up the bulk of focus-draining triggers that we fight hourly.

Why? Because human beings actively chase after positive experiences and distractions (food, videos, what’s going on outside) to provide an escape from discomfort - the pressures of a work deadline, boredom with long-term projects, or stresses affecting our mental health.

By dealing with both internal triggers and external distractions, we can achieve greater levels of focus that carry dividends in our work and personal lives.

Here are some helpful tips:

Meditate before intense work

Incorporate a regular meditation or mindfulness practice into your workday to soothe your mind, refresh your spirit, and prepare your body for the workday or work session ahead.

Prioritise and plan

Knowing which tasks should be done today and which ones can wait can give you more brain space to pay attention to and focus on what matters.

Instead of trying to juggle different tasks all at once, focus on just two or three crucial daily tasks, and do them one at a time. Going slower is more important than not getting anything done at all.

Do what’s best for your body

Without a healthy, happy body and mind, our focus suffers. Simple things like getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and taking active breaks can make a huge difference.

Acknowledge your internal distractions

If you’re having intrusive thoughts or worries, stop and focus for a moment on those.

Then scale down those distractions one by one, by writing down what is bothering you and how you can manage those challenges so you can set them aside and deal with them later.

  • Skip the hard bits, then come back to them

As you work on a task, learn not to distract yourself by skipping what you don’t know.

Do all the easy parts, then return to the difficult ones afterwards. This trains your mind to stay in the flow as you work. By the time you return to the tricky bits, you’d have built up enough momentum to keep moving forward.

Block out distracting noise

Background sounds, such as white noise, distract your attention from what you’re trying to focus on. Even as you read this article, the sounds that you might be hearing enter your mind and are being analysed in your brain without you realizing it. This zaps your ability to stay focused long-term.

This article was originally published as: