The ability to focus is almost like a superpower, and the individuals who can focus get so much more done. There are many areas where you can benefit from better concentration and if you can focus, you can get your desired results faster. If you lack focus, find out what things that are holding you back from focusing, and is it possible to target these areas to improve your focus?
We have two types of focus: scattered focus and directed focus. Scattered focus is when we distribute our attention widely. This is typically seen in multitaskers, who are trying to juggle several activities at the same time — checking their phone while watching television and at the same time cooking dinner. Scattered focus can also be when someone is doing one activity, but thinking about something else at the same time. They’re never entirely focused on the activity they’re doing because their mind is somewhere else.
When you divide your attention towards many different things, it comes at a cost. The problem is that the brain is extremely bad at switching between tasks. When you switch from one task to another, it’s not an instant switch. Your mind needs to load the context of what you were doing into your working memory before you get fully into the task again. If you’re constantly shifting your attention between tasks, you’re forcing your brain to load and reload the context all the time. A lot of energy is wasted, simply switching between tasks and trying to get back into it. This is leaving you exhausted without getting much done.
Directed focus, on the other hand, is achieved by directing your attention to a single task, and ignoring everything else. This is your aim, and it’s how high-performers direct their focus. They focus on one thing at a time, very intensely while ignoring any other stimuli. Directed focus is also a skill that should be practiced, as it will improve over time. Making focusing on one thing at a time a daily habit create a daily block where you are challenged to stay focused.