The Roadblocks To Staying Focused and How To Overcome Them
Fall is all about getting back to school, back to work and back on track with all our goals! But with all these responsibilities and commitments, also come shorter days and less energy and focus to get things done. To help you adjust your productivity plan for the new season, here are some steps you can take to build up your motivation and boost your brain power.
For anyone with medical concerns when it comes to focus, please check in with your health care professional. For those of us looking to foster healthy habits and build our wellness routines, we’ve got some easily actionable ideas to keep you on track.
We’ve said this before and we stand by it - organization is key when it comes to creating a successful wellness routine and maintaining focus. We strongly recommend tools to help structure your day and meet your goals. If you’re more of an analog person, then a productivity planner or even old school notebook for daily use can be really helpful in directing your thoughts and actions, and if you’re more of a digital learner there are many apps to help you keep your eye on the proverbial prize. If you’re a freelance or gig worker for example, you can divide your day into blocks of time and then designate tasks that fill the blocks. Work back from your due dates and allocate plenty of time to manage your projects.
If you’re looking to stay focused on your workout routine, block out your week on Sunday evening, creating space in your schedule to meet your exercise goals and needs. Set calendar alerts or mark your priorities on a dry erase board or fridge calendar - it doesn’t matter how you choose to remember them, just make sure they’re going to be visible. If you’re working on mental focus, then we strongly recommend cultivating a meditation practice to help you keep your mind clear. Begin slowly with a 5-minute practice and then work your way up to more frequent moments on a mat or cushion. There are many phone apps to help support your interest in meditation, or if you prefer, you can simply sit down and take slow and deep breaths - begin with 10 and then work your way up incrementally. Try setting a timer if you’re not using an app so that you can fully immerse yourself in the process.
Be Realistic About Your Tendencies To Get Distracted & Work With Them
When it comes to working on our focus, it’s important to be honest about our tendencies that make us distracted and work with them instead of seeing them as insurmountable obstacles. If for example you know that you’re more of a morning person but find it harder to stay on task in the afternoon, try filling your early hours with the more consuming tasks and move easier responsibilities to later in the day. Honour your strengths instead of fixating on your challenges.
If you long to be outdoors on bright days and have a hard time concentrating on work when the weather is nice, take a look at the forecast at the beginning of the week and carve out some downtime to align with sunny skies. Maybe you’ll end up working a little later one evening to free up those hours during the next day, but it will be easier to spend productive time at your desk when you know that you’ll be able to enjoy time in nature soon!
If staying on track with your exercise routine is proving to be a challenge, try committing to workouts with a friend or group to keep you motivated and accountable. You can do this both in person or virtually, the key is to let others know you’re planning to show up and then uphold your commitments.
While the virtue and value of meditation is easy to understand, losing focus when we’re attempting to meditate is common. Try to create a calm space where you can have a few minutes a day to yourself. Perhaps this means waking up 15 minutes earlier so you can prioritize yourself before your family/partner vies for your attention, or maybe it means putting on headphones during your commute or setting aside time to practice a meditative walk. Any way you slice it, try out different methods to maintain focus until you find something that sticks - remember we all respond differently and finding your focus is about honouring you and your needs!
Let Go Of Self Doubt & Negative Self Talk
This is a big one - one of the most challenging roadblocks to staying focused is self doubt and the negative self talk that goes along with it. Whether we are unintentionally undermining our own confidence when it comes to completing projects and assignments or sticking with a workout regime or mindfulness practice, it’s necessary to quiet that inner critic if we’re going to stay on track. We find that positive affirmations work wonders to shift focus from negative to positive energy. A positive affirmation is a statement not a question, so it’s important that when you repeat one to yourself, you do so with conviction! Try writing out post-it notes and sticking them on your mirror so that you can read them throughout the day.
Use affirmations to remind yourself of inspiring facts like: I Am Smart, I Am Deserving, I Am Loved and repeat as necessary. Starting each day with a powerful intention is equally motivating. For example, today I will be good to my body and make time for my workout, today I will work on my project after I drop off the kids, today I will make time to meditate. Just remember that it’s equally important not to shame yourself in the event that you don’t meet your goals for the day - remember each morning is a brand new opportunity to start fresh!
Fuel Your Mind & Body To Stay On Track
Keeping our mind and body focused requires proper fuel, so if you’re finding yourself distracted or unmotivated, adding some healthier choices to your diet can make a difference. Nutrient dense choices are going to support your body so that you can function optimally. Junk foods can make us feel sluggish and unmotivated, so if a poor diet is impeding your focus, try some simple swaps. Switch out a drive through breakfast for a morning smoothie with a quality protein powder to keep your brain and body fueled. Skip a sugary processed snack in the afternoon and reach for whole food options or a nutritious protein bar instead.
When it comes to exercise, you can support your workout with targeted pre and post workout supplements to give you energy and help repair your muscles.
And even your meditation practice can be positively impacted by what you choose to ingest. To quiet the mind we’d suggest a little less caffeine (don’t worry we’re still coffee lovers over here!) and more H20 or other healthy liquids to keep that mental focus. Plus, you’ll enjoy the added bonus of keeping hydrated during the summer heat!