Lots of people struggle to focus in their day-to-day lives. They constantly get distracted, and this makes it difficult for them to complete tasks so that they can achieve their goals.
The Problem With Multitasking
Multitasking is a big part of modern society. You will notice it at home and at work: when you are watching a film with your family, you may notice that your family members are using their laptops and phones at the same time. When you are in a meeting, you may notice people texting under the table or sending emails.
Most people don’t see this as a problem. After all, multitasking is often seen as a sign that you are hardworking and efficient.
However, the truth is that multitasking means that you are more likely to forget things and make mistakes. You are also less likely to retain new information, which can make it harder for you to solve problems or be creative.
Research has found that most people have very short attention spans, and multitasking is only making the problem worse. People are constantly being bombarded with work, home and technology demands, and so they are finding it even harder to stay focused.
Thankfully, an article in Harvard Business Review suggests a method called the ABC method to help people improve their focus.
Teaching Your Brain to Stay Focused
There has been a lot of research in recent years into how the brain works. Scientists have made huge advances with neuroimaging, and studies that looked at adults with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are teaching us more about how the brain focuses on tasks.
The research has also revealed more about how easily the brain can be distracted. This research is very relevant to modern society, as most people struggle to focus for long periods of time.
So, what have researchers found out? They’ve found that anyone can teach their brain to ignore distractions so that they can stay focused. This helps to you to be more productive and creative, and it will help you to achieve your goals.
The ABC Model
An article published in Harvard Business Review describes the ABC method to help people to stay focused. It gives you the chance to metaphorically press the brakes on your brain when you encounter a distraction. There are three steps to follow.
The first step is being aware of your options. You can either follow the distraction and become unfocused, or you can keep going with the task that you are working on.
The second step is breathing deeply. Take a minute to relax without thinking about the distraction.
The third step is making a choice. You can choose to be distracted or you can choose to stay focused.
This may sound simple, but it works. This is because you are openly acknowledging that one of the options is a distraction, rather than a useful or important task, so it is much easier for you to ignore it.
Set Your Goals
The author of the article recommends that people make a conscious effort to be aware of where their attention goes. When you start your day, you should ask yourself these questions: what is my main task for today? How do I feel? Do I expect to succeed?
This will make you aware of what you want to achieve, so it will be easier for you to stay focused and motivated. However, this will only work if you also use the ABC model at the same time to avoid distractions. Setting goals is important, but if you aren’t willing to work on your distractions then you will still struggle to stay focused.