01 June 2022 - Education

How to Find Focus in a Busy World

Technology has been a strong force for good in our world – thanks to the internet and other technological advancements we are more informed, more connected, and live longer, fuller lives. Every rose has its thorn, however, and the digital world has a few; more adults report feelings of isolation (ironically) and inability to focus than ever before. Research published in Computers in Human Behavior found that social media apps like Facebook have led to found that students spend less than six minute studying (on average) before they start app switching. This includes adults and children in education! Of course, lack of ability to focus in education has more concerning long-term implications for children.

5 Ways to Maintain Focus (and Help Your Child do the Same)

So, you want to take back your focus and help your children to do the same there are some simple things that you can do. These simple steps that you can take to improve your ability to focus in this busy world:

  1. Establish priorities and goals

Whether you are at work trying to meet deadlines, or you are studying at home with your children it is important to have clear goals and priorities. One of the most common causes of procrastination and lack of focus is feeling overwhelmed, so make sure that your goals are achievable and reasonable. This is doubly important when working with children as they can be easily overwhelmed. Identify one or two things that you absolutely must get done in any day or time period and give that task the bulk of your focus to reduce stress.

  1. Plan ahead

When you have children, planning ahead often becomes second nature. If you want to increase your ability to focus or help your children to focus, this skill can be very useful. Plan your day so that you have the time to undertake necessary tasks without other things demanding your time and attention. For example, you could plan two hours to help your child do their homework in the evening, especially if evenings are times when you generally don’t have other commitments.

  1. Limit distractions

For most of us distractions are the main impediment to our focus, whether these distractions are from pets, small, recurring tasks, housework, children, or digital sources. The most common distractions for most students and workers come from apps and social media sites. Limiting distractions reduces the need for willpower and makes it easier to focus on important tasks. The ideal is to make it harder to pull away from the task than it is to focus on it. Here are some examples of ways you can limit distractions:

  • Remove phones and tablets from the immediate vicinity
  • Turn off the internet (or use apps that block certain sites)
  • Turn off TV’s, radios, and music streaming services

  1. Do the most important task first

When you have a lot on your plate, the best way to ensure that you focus on your most important tasks is to do them first. Fatigue and stress can make it harder to maintain attention, so take some stress away by getting the most crucial work done first. This will allow you to work through additional tasks at your own pace. This is vital when working on projects with children, too, as they may tire more quickly when learning.

  1. Work in bursts

Working in bursts with short rests in between can be very helpful if you find it hard to maintain focus for long periods of time. What’s more you can build your ability to focus by doing this. Start by timing how long you can focus without wandering, and then work in slightly longer bursts. For example, if you lose focus after fifteen minutes, work in twenty minute bursts. Over time you can improve this by working in twenty-five, thirty, or thirty-five minute bursts.

These simple steps will help you to create a focus-friendly environment for you and your children. Just remember that young children will need more support and rest when learning, especially if they are learning complex things like computer programming.

Remember to Rest: Avoiding Burnout

Whether you are pushing to meet a hard deadline or you want to help your children meet their academic goals, it is important to rest and seek fun and enjoyment often. Burnout is a very real phenomenon that is tied to depression, fatigue, and a myriad of other health conditions. The symptoms of burnout include:

  • Exhaustion
  • Muscle pains
  • Depression
  • Irritability

The best ways to avoid burnout is to rest frequently and ensure that you don’t over-commit to work. Once again, children will need a greater proportion of rest and relaxation than adults, so try to vary your projects with them and allow them time to break away from learning when they need to.

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