Stay Focused–Learning The Art

The internet, the TV, the phone–at one given moment there are quite a few things vying for your attention, but to be at your most productive it’s important to stay focused.

Take some simple steps to stay focused.

The good news is, your brain can be trained to stay focused. Rework your routines a bit, and you can be on the road to focused town.

Stay focused on your writing. Image. [flickr. Michael Dales/ Creative Commons]

[flickr. Michael Dales/ Creative Commons]

In her article for, Nadia Goodman lists three steps you can take to stay focused:

1. Do creative work first.

2. Allocate your time deliberately.

3. Train your mind like a muscle.

The list is short, but it includes some great, general aspects to survey when looking at ways to improve your focus. Plus, when lacking focus, a short list is the way to go.

Put the creative before the busy work.

Before looking into ways to stay focused, I had always believed that getting my busy, repetitive work out of the way first would lighten my load so-to speak. That way I would feel less burdened by those tasks as I tackled some creative thinking.

The problem with this though is that after doing all the repetitive work, my mind felt tired and was stuck in that logical style of thinking. Not great for writing or creative thinking.

In terms of brainpower, so-called busy work is easier. You can save that work until after your heavy-lifting, creative tasks are squared away.

Plan your time.

I’ve already looked at the many benefits of making a list, and a list can be a helpful tool to use in planning your time.

When you can see all that you need to accomplish (and all that you have already accomplished) in front of you, it’s easier to budget your time. With a clearer idea of your daily itinerary, it’s easier to stay focused and keep on track.

Get it in your head.

The brain is just like any other muscle. Work it out in the right ways and it will do wonders for you.

Try chewing some gum. At first, this may seem completely unrelated, but trust me. Research has found that chewing gum can help you concentrate.

“The researchers say that gum increases the flow of oxygen to regions of the brain responsible for attention. More oxygen can keep people alert and improve their reflexes.”–Amy Kraft via Scientific American

But a piece of gum probably won’t solve all of your focusing dilemmas. What you can do is stick to your tasks and train yourself to not let distractions, well, distract you. After a while, your brain will get used to this new and wonderful thinking style and stay on task.

Take a look at your motivation.

This one’s not on the list, but it could be, depending on where your lack of focus is coming from. This is because lacking focus can be linked to a lack of motivation.

“The ability to show up everyday, stick to the schedule, and do the work — especially when you don’t feel like it — is so valuable that it is literally all you need to become better 99% of the time.”–James Clear via

The “especially when you don’t feel like it” part is key. Anyone can get things done when times are good and tasks are easy.

The true test, and where many people fall off track, is when some other aspect, stress for example, is thrown into the equation. The trick is to stay motivated through the gray and the rosy times alike.

Stay motivated, make a few changes to your daily routine and stay focused.

[Featured image via flickr. Michael Dales/ Creative Commons]

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