It is that time of year again - back to school. If you're not going back to school, the tides are still changing as summer winds down and business kicks into high gear before the end of the year.
Waking up from the lazy days of summer to get back to the grind is not exactly fun, but there are certain things you can do to make the transition as painless as possible. Making sure you are firing on all cylinders, physically, mentally, and emotionally, will lead to higher productivity in school or your job.
There are many competing factors that can creep into our lives and distract us; from smartphones to siblings, there is always something or someone who can cause a disruption that breaks focus.
Without focus how will we be able to achieve our goals and move forward?
This is a question I constantly struggle with, not to mention keeping my own focus on track. In the age of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the internet, it is almost as if we are programmed to multitask, not allowing ourselves to get too entrenched in anything before something else pulls us away.
A trick I learned consists in keeping an elastic band or a bracelet on your wrist so that you can snap it against your wrist when you find your focus drifting. This simple action serves as a reminder to get back on task, and is a great way to train your own psychology, as the association between the bracelet snap and lack of focus builds.
Time management is another hot button issue. It seems as there is always too much to do in the day and simply not enough time to accomplish everything. In my corporate day job, I learned the importance of maintaining an accurate calendar and time blocking. Setting reminders that alert you when the time block is finished serve as a gentle nudge to move on to your next task. With the mentality that you only have a set period of time to accomplish a task, it is inevitable that your focus is targeted to achieve as much as possible during each time block. Whether it is homework, athletics, or working on your own start-up business, keeping a strict schedule and holding yourself accountable to your calendar will ultimately push you closer to accomplishing your goals.
The other critical component to remaining focused is your health. If you are not eating a balanced diet and scheduling some physical activity you are doing yourself a disservice. I do not need to restate the plethora of health and wellness articles out there, but it is important to keep your body finely tuned. The combination of a balanced diet and exercise has proven to sharpen your memory and improve overall cognitive function.
When your brain is in the right headspace because your body is properly nourished, and you are implementing time blocking techniques and psychological training, you will most certainly see success in your endeavors.
Please comment below if you have additional suggestions for improving focus and starting the school year off on the right foot!