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Easily distracted? Struggling to focus? Learn the 3 common reasons our brains struggle to focus, and...
Dogs are easily distracted by squirrels. They”ll stop everything when they see a squirrel. They forget that they”re focused on digging a hole or playing catch.
Clearly, this is because they don”t have the more sophisticated brain power than we humans have. That”s why we never get distracted!
Oh. Wait a minute…
Yeah, we”re like dogs. We struggle to keep focused. We lose track of what we set out to do. Our attention gets snatched away by squirrels and other interesting objects.
Distraction is what our brains do. It”s part of their wiring.
Go online, and you can find hundreds of ideas and tricks and tips for keeping focused and eliminating distractions. The ones we Time Natives like most aren”t offered by the time management experts (they post the serious and sophisticated solutions that real people amost never use). The best ideas are by ordinary people sharing the simple things they”ve discovered.
Before trying to fix a problem, though, why not get curious about what”s really going on? That”s the Time Native way: understanding your brain and how you think – as well as your environment – is a key to discovering what works naturally for you.
We”ve noticed three broad reasons why people lose focus.
1. Your brain is doing what it”s supposed to do.
Brains are designed to notice outside stimulus and pay attention to them. Some brains are more able to focus than others, but we”re all vulnerable to distraction. If you’re having trouble focusing because of clutter, interruptions, social media, email or anything else, don’t kick yourself – clear the distractions out of your environment. Clean up your desk. Unplug the modem. Turn off your cell phone.
2. Your brain is broken
Most of us treat our underwear better than we treat our brains. The most complex structures in the known universe are in our heads, and they need good nutrition, water, rest, movement and healthy social interactions to function well.
How well do you treat your brain? If it isn”t set up to function well, it won”t.
If your brain isn”t working up to snuff, you may want to read our blog post Well-Being First, Productivity Second: Four Quick and Simple Solutions.
3. You need to have a heart-to-heart with your brain
Are you doing what matters and what”s meaningful?
Things that matter include the practical things, things that make life casino games online workable (like doing the laundry). Things that are meaningful live in a larger picture of life, including dreams and aspirations. The more we become aware of what matters and what’s meaningful, the more readily we can make clear choices and keep focus. If it seems like what you”re doing doesn”t matter in the short run, and isn”t meaningful in the big picture, then you probably will get easily distracted.
Last week”s post, How Do I Choose to Spend My Time, has some simple ways of thinking about what matters and what”s meaningful.
What You Can Do
There”s no single path to keeping focused – there are just too many varieties of squirrels out there. But you can build some patterns and habits that will help you stay focused more often and more easily, so you become more effective and happier.
Right now, take a few minutes to get curious about the times you lose focus (or can”t get focused in the first place):
- Is your brain responding to distractions as it”s wired to do? What distractions are around that you can reduce or eliminate?
- Is your brain broken? What will fix it?
- Do you need to have a heart-to-heart with your brain? Are you even focusing on the things that matter and are meaningful to you?
From there, you can start to explore different tools and tips. We have some on blog posts here, and we like the list of 63 ideas from readers of
And when you notice that you”re losing focus (or that you”re running after a squirrel), that”s the perfect time to get focused…on what just happened! When you notice and get curious about what’s happening right now, that”s where you learn the most.
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