You might wake up with the best intentions to tackle everything that needs to get done today, but if your mind is wandering elsewhere, it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll get anything done at all.
Suffering from total lack of focus is the worst.
There’s so little time and so much to do, but your mind just doesn’t want to cooperate.
We blame it on our jobs, we blame it on lack of sleep, and we blame it on the ADD we think we’ve secretly had since forever.
Nobody’s perfect though, and everyone struggles with staying focused every now and then when we really ought to be.
The best thing to do to prevent yourself from falling victim to an unfocused mind is to take care of yourself both physically and mentally, as well as learn to manage your time as effectively as possible.
Still, prevention isn’t always 100 percent foolproof.
So what’s a person supposed to do when they can’t get in the zone and time is slowly ticking away?
Here are a few options to consider.
Take a moment to figure out what’s distracting you, and then develop a plan to take care of it as soon as you can.
When we’re unfocused, sometimes the cause is really just distraction and anxiety about some other event or task that has or hasn’t happened already.
You may have to deal with that first before you can get your head right again.
Ask yourself what you’re so preoccupied with, figure out what’s bothering you about it, and then write down some notes — including a plan of action to take to tackle any worries or anxiety you may have over what’s distracting you.
For example, I often get overwhelmed with all the errands I need to run at some point this week, and as they keep running through my mind, they also distract me from my work and build up my anxiety.
But by planning and scheduling each errand in my calendar for the week, I feel a bit more at ease knowing that everything will be taken care of soon.
If your distractions are more of an emotional thing — like a fight you had with somebody close — then organizing your thoughts by writing in a journal or diary may help you release that distraction.
Of course, sometimes we’re not really distracted by anything in particular at all.
We’re just unfocused because our minds want it to be that away.
Listen to your body, and give it what it needs.
Your complete failure to focus could be explained by the state of your health.
Did you get enough sleep last night?
Is your entire body clock out of whack?
Are you eating processed, nutrient-lacking garbage food every day?
Do you feel like crashing a while after consuming anything with refined sugar or caffeine?
Are you dehydrated?
If you want to stop suffering from a wandering mind, you need to get a good night’s sleep, eat some real food that’s low in sugar, stop depending on coffee or energy drinks, drink some water, and preferably schedule in some daily exercise too.
This goes for everyone.
It’s just part of being physically alive and having a human body.
Go for a short walk.
Ask yourself when you last took a break.
Are you feeling burnt out?
Anyone who has an office or desk job should make an effort to take scheduled breaks every half hour or so — at least by getting up and taking a minute to stretch your legs, grab a drink of water, or use the washroom.
In some cases, all you may need to regain your focus is a 15-minute walk to clear and refresh your mind.
Walk around your office or home for a few minutes, or get outside if you can.
You’re not a machine.
You need to take breaks.
There’s a lot of therapeutic power in having a good conversation with someone — even if it’s a short one.
It’s crazy for me to admit this, because I’m the introverted type who’d rather remain silent and bottle up every lasting thought and emotion inside of me until I explode.
Getting on the phone or out to lunch with a friend, co-worker, or acquaintance gives you the opportunity to either say what’s on your mind and get that person’s input, or just relax and enjoy the casual socialization.
I can’t tell you how much better I feel after meeting a friend briefly for coffee and having a laugh over whatever random topics we decide to talk about.
Don’t text anyone, and don’t post something stupid on social media.
Either get on the phone, or meet somebody in person to talk to them.
I promise you that it will help.
If all else fails, simply say to hell with it for today, and make a promise to be prepared to try again tomorrow.
I think that being so terribly unfocused can be classified as one of those rare instances when procrastination is okay — mainly because sometimes it’s just really the only option you have.
Sometimes, your entire day just turns to complete shit, and no matter what you try to do, nothing quite works at regaining your focus.
I have those days, and they suck.
If it’s not absolutely 100 percent urgent to get done — then it can wait.
If something is urgent, and it absolutely 100 percent needs to get done — then you’ll probably need to either find someone else to do it for you, or explain to whoever is depending on you why it will have to just wait.
As long as you don’t get trapped in the cycle of procrastination, and make it a priority to do whatever it takes to regain your focus the very next day, then I don’t see why you can’t take the rest of the day to just try to relax and maybe take some time to focus on yourself.
Some of the most creative people can’t just switch their focus from off to on whenever they want.
It’s why we sometimes struggle to produce our best work in that 9 to 5 timeframe, and it’s why some of us find ourselves regain our highest focus in the middle of the night.
Of course, there’s always the argument that it may simply come down to a matter of just fixing your body clock… or it may not.
The human mind is a fascinating thing.
Whatever is taking you away from focusing on whatever it is you need to do, I hop you find one of these solutions helpful to bring you back to it.
I know just how frustrating it can truly be.
Photo via Tom Hilton
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