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Organize, Prioritize, and Become an Expert at Managing Your Time
If you’re having trouble focusing on the task at hand, missing details, or losing track of important conversations, don’t worry. Your short attention span is not personality flaw, and there are many strategies that you can employ to help you sustain your focus.
Manage Your Time Effectively
If you have tasks due, set reminders for them in your phone or on your computer. Standard paper calendars may also be useful, but phones can be carried around at all times.
Try and always plan to be early for an event or deadline. If you have boring household chores to complete (such as laundry), then set a timer for 20 – 25 minutes and see how much you can accomplish in that time span.
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Use lists to organize your time and work out what is most important. Pay attention to the most important items on the list, and try and take things one at a time.
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Make sure your workspace is clear and free of clutter — an untidy work area can encourage distractions and make you lose focus. Develop a filing system that will help you keep track of the tasks at hand — you could also utilize this practice in filing emails or documents on your work computer.
Color-coding can be especially helpful, so make use of color-coded tags and dividers etc., or the colored flag systems in various email programs.
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Use time management apps to help you organize your tasks, keep ongoing lists as reminders in your phone, and use the alarm systems to remind you of deadlines. There are also apps available that are aimed solely at project management that could be useful in approaching what might feel like a daunting task.
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Experts have suggested that having certain kinds of background noise on while you are trying to concentrate can help improve focus. Turn on a fan, or have some music playing at a low volume.
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Take Regular Breaks
If you find yourself losing concentration, take a break and stand up or move for a while to help bring yourself back to the right level. If you are in a business meeting, use a coffee or bathroom break to give yourself some time.
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Various studies have shown that doodling can help aid concentration, and this is particularly true in those with ADHD. Scribbling while you are on the phone to a client, or during a long meeting, can help you to improve your focus and therefore obtain better results.
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Chewing gum during tests or while you are focusing on long tasks, such as working through a backlog of emails, can help narrow your focus onto the job at hand. Sucking hard candies may also help as it uses a sense other than the one required for the primary task.
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Break Things Down
If you are faced with a huge task or deadline, you might find it overwhelming and not be able to focus. Break it down into smaller, more manageable goals that can be achieved step by step. Use a small reward when you hit each small goal.
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Remember throughout everything to be your own number one cheerleader! Use mantras to help you focus on the task at hand, and try and remember achievements of the past.
When you get stuck on something, remind yourself of a time you have reached a similar goal in the past — if you have achieved it once then you can do it again.
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Use pictures of what you are aiming for to act as a reminder of the goal. Put up a picture of the car or house you are saving up for, or the job title of the promotion you are aiming for.
Studies have also shown that people with visual reminders (e.g. framed pictures) of their ‘cheerleaders’ (such as friends or family) are more likely to achieve higher results and have improved concentration skills.
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Use a friend or family member to help you stay on track — tell them what you have coming up, and promise to text them when you hit each goal.
They can also send you reminders if your tasks seem to be becoming overdue. This can also tie in with having frequent touchdowns with your cheerleaders, which could serve in giving you a confidence boost.
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Write Everything Down
Put pen to paper and get everything down in a list. Lists can help you focus as they provide visual reminders of everything that needs to be achieved.
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Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
While avoiding stress is very hard at times, doing everything you can to minimize it, and following a good diet and exercise regime, is vital in helping to keep you balanced. Avoid caffeine late in the afternoon and evening, stay clear of street drugs, and keep alcohol intake at a minimum to moderate level.
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Studies have shown that regular meditation can help to improve focus and can help you to direct the energy that arises from hyper focusing. Meditation can also help you get back in touch with your center, and assist you in finding your own inner strengths.
Try and remember these are only tips and guidance to help you, and it can take a while for your brain to accept full changes. If you aim to get a couple into place over the next few months then you may notice an improvement in your concentration and levels of focus.
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