Do you find your attention wandering? Is it tough to concentrate? It is hard to get things done without distraction? If so learning ways to improve your focus is not only important, it is essential.
Focus means getting things done. With proper focus a task can take 30 minutes but with improper focus the same task can take many hours. Fortunately there are also many ways to improve focus that will help you to not only succeed in more tasks, but complete them to a much higher degree of quality.
What is the nature of Focus?
The brain is a receiver. Each of the five senses are constantly bombarding that receiver with information. Sounds that are heard, the colors of the walls around you, the feel of your surroundings, the smells in the air. All of these stimuli's are constantly around you and constantly vying for attention.
Writing an article is a perfect example. The brain and the sense of touch are in control. The thoughts are firing and the fingers are typing, but other thoughts intrude. A fly buzzing in the room, a sudden loud noise or a neighbor playing music, perhaps simply the color of the paint on the wall; all of these small stimuli's can serve to distract us and destroy our attempt to achieve focus.
These forces are called involuntary focus. They are part of the human condition. There is nothing much that can be done about involuntary focus. When you work on a project you can get into the "zone". This is the area where your concentration is nearly absolute and these interfering distractions will have a far lesser chance of breaking that focus. The only way to increase involuntary focus is to simply keep at the job, if you completely eliminate voluntary focus distractions it will make the involuntary focus distraction a little easier ignore.
Voluntary focus is the things that we can and must control. Involuntary distractions of focus will happen. There is not much that can be done about that. But if you are distracted more often by what CAN be controlled. Allowing voluntary distractions increases the chance of ALSO being distracted by the involuntary ones. Therefore fixing the voluntary methods of focus are extremely important.
Methods of Increasing focus
Diet and Exercise: Being in shape make you focus better. Your body will feel better and you will dfeel better. In turn this will directly affect a persons ability to focus on the issues at hand.
Having eaten: Having eaten recently can help focus, but it needs to be the proper amount. This is a "Goldilocks and the three bears" situation for focus. If you eat too much you may get tired and lethargic, decreasing focus. If someone has not eaten recently or eaten to little hungerpangs can be a distractor.
Quiet area: For best focus the work area should be quiet. There should be no music playing, not television going, no chatter going on. It is important that the sounds are minimal and not a distraction
Clean work area: If cleanliness is next to godliness, then godliness is next to focus. Having a clean work area removes visual distractions that can greatly impede effective work.
Computer distractions: These days a lot of work is done on a computer and most people have these computers attached to the internet. There is nothing wrong with that, but there are tons of distractions on the internet that can smash productivity and focus to a crawl or complete stop. Twitter, FaceBook and Email updates are just the most common focus killers. These popups and updates will either totally break focus and make the person leave to check the update/message or they will partially break focus by making the person THINK about the update. Either way, simply really disconnection from these productivity killers is essential to really being productive. There is a time for everything and the time for these social things is not when you need to focus.
As I am sure anyone can plainly see focus all boils down to setting proper conditions where focus is possible. 100% focus 100% of the time is an impossibility, the best you can do is to try to set the conditions for focus. Like any skill the more that you do it the better your focus will get even in sub-optimal conditions. If you work on your focus, your focus will pay you back manifold over time.