Why is it so hard to focus? Why do we get distracted? And what do you do about it?
I am going to start off telling everyone who reads this that your brain CANNOT truly multitask on anything. Now you CAN, however, switch from one task to another and back again efficiently with practice. BUT the brain itself can only perform one task at a time.
The same can be said for what you are thinking. Your brain can only be thinking about one thought at a time, it can switch back and forth between them, but is only focused on one thing at any given point.
Now, with all the responsibilities that you take care of on a daily basis, all the worries, all of the always-on technology around you, and all the people around in your life, you can come to realize that getting distracted is a lot easier to do than staying on the task at hand. You lose focus on the project that needs to be completed, like writing this article blog post or reading a book or remembering to get the milk at the store. To actually maintain focus on the task at hand, your body uses a measurable amount of energy and each time you change the focus that energy use increases. This constant change in focus ends up taking a toll on your effectiveness on self-control, will power and decision-making processes to stay on task to what truly needs to be taken care of. Over the years, studies have shown a decline in attention spans to keep focus on any one thing. The same studies stated that, office distractions can eat up an average of 2 hours of productivity a day.
The basic answer to the initial header questions is that it is hard to focus and we get distracted because there is a lot going on in everyone’s daily life.
Now, what to do about it?
The simple answer is, remove temptations that may distract you.
Easier said than done, I know all to well. BUT, it can be done. Silence your phone, sit in a room by yourself, turn the music off, and get to work. Now if you are like me, sometimes it is easier for me to not get distracted if music is playing. I don’t hear the music, but it is playing in the background. This is my preference because I don’t like complete silence when working on anything. I am telling you this though, your brain can block out the external noise for you to focus on the task at hand, as long as you train it to. Simple techniques of box breathing or warrior breathing is a form of meditation that can help teach the brain to focus and maintain concentration. Your brain is made to pay attention to any novelties in life around you, but it is up to you, a little will power, and practice to keep you on task and focused.