Have you ever found your concentration waning after only a few minutes of effort, or your attention getting drawn into irrelevant distractions again and again? Is your thinking often ineffective? Are you failing to meet your potential in life because you can’t focus deeply for more than a few puny moments at a time?
If so, you are not alone. These are problems that many of us share.
We live in a world that is ripe with distractions. There are more nonsense diversions vying for our attention now than at any time in the history of mankind. Social media, smartphones, endless apps, YouTube, flashy billboards, celebs fighting for attention, 24-hour rolling news… our environment is packed full of irrelevant distractions.
And this is no small matter. If you fail to tune out the nonsense and tune deeply into what matters to you the most – be it your work, creative endeavors, learning, personal growth or important relationships – your dreams will wither and die, and you will endure an old age tinged with painful regret.
Wondering what could’ve been (had you been able to sort the wheat from the chaff and concentrate on what mattered), and knowing deep down that you failed to reach your potential, is painful and tragic.
But it’s not too late! You can win this battle. You can decide what really matters, decide what really doesn’t matter, and build the strength and motivation to use your time and energy wisely and productively.
Read for a Steadily Increasing Period of Uninterrupted Time A daily reading practice is a brilliant way to build consistency, discipline, focus, attention, and brainpower. It is also a wonderful way to educate yourself, grow and develop. Oh, and it’s fantastically enjoyable! Books are a man’s best friend. Books are more valuable than gold or diamonds. Books will change your life. Books hold the keys to happiness.
If you read even a few pages a day, you will reap enormous rewards. If you make note of how much you read, and systematically and gradually increase the number of pages or time you read each day, week or month, you will be slowly but surely build better focus, attention, and brainpower. If at this moment you can only read a mere page or two before your mind wanders and you get restless, don’t be despondent!
With a little bit of consistent effort, you will soon notice a marked increase in your reading stamina, and soon you will be reading (and concentrating) happily and contentedly for longer than you ever thought possible. This increase in reading stamina will be tangible evidence of an increase in your focus, attention, and brainpower.
Unplug from Your Smartphone and Internet for a Set Period of Time Smartphones and social media sites are designed by some of the smartest people on Earth to be addictive and to monopolize your time. These people are trying to maximize profits for their bosses by exploiting the amount of time people spend with their eyes glued to the screen. These people are not your friends, and they do not have your best interests at heart.
It takes a strong and concerted effort to unplug from highly addictive smartphones and social media websites, but the rewards for doing so are wonderful. If you can turn your device off for even a few hours a day, the increase in productivity, calmness, peace of mind, appreciation for the world around you and general happiness, will soar. The freedom of being unplugged is heavenly. Give it a try!
Write a Gratitude List Take three minutes to write a list of a few things that you feel grateful for in your life at this very moment. It’s a brilliant way to focus your attention on the good things in life instead of being distracted by bad news, gossip, worry, etc. What you focus on determines how you feel. If you can build a habit of noticing the positives in your life, then you will be a much happier person, not to mention a person with improved focus, attention, and brainpower.
Cut Out Sugar and Other Simple Carbs You are what you eat. Sugar and simple carbs, such as white flour, bring on an insulin spike. This insulin spike gives you a sudden blast of energy, but it’s short lived. What goes up must come down; after a short burst of carb-induced energy, there is always a crash.
Have you ever eaten a big bowl of pasta and found yourself dozing on the couch an hour or two later, unable to get anything productive done? This is because you have carb-crashed. If you eat protein, fat and complex carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits and perhaps a little brown rice, your energy levels will be consistently high throughout the day. Then your ability to focus, pay attention and think clearly will be optimized.
Do a Taoist Breath Counting Meditation Sit still, close your eyes, breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your nose, and count each inhales and exhale as one round. Try to count ten rounds without getting distracted. If your mind wanders at six or seven or four…. start again. Once you can easily get to ten rounds without losing focus, go for two sets of ten, then three. This way of meditating – focusing deeply on your breath – will relax you, bring you into the present, and increase your ability to focus and pay attention.
That was our BUCKiTDREAM list of five daily practices that will build focus, attention, and brainpower. Another activity to consider: Learn a New Yoga Position Every Week. Hopefully, some of these methods will help you focus and feel ready to tackle the day. Once you do, don’t forget to share the results of your productive experimenting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and then try some high-energy bucket list items like the Best Cycling Trips in the World or the Ultimate Bungee Jumping Spots in the World.