Most people would agree distractions and procrastination are their worst enemies. Why? Well, think about the dishes in the sink you meant to finish before going to bed last night. Think about a load of laundry in the dryer you never put away.
How about the handful of toys still on your toddler’s floor? Don’t forget the velvet poster in your closet you’ve never finished coloring. Starting to sound familiar?
The unfortunate truth is procrastination and distractions are the reason these things never get done. To be a more successful and complete person, you must learn how to improve your ability to focus. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to train your brain so you are more mentally there.
Avoid and Limit Distractions
For starters, you need to ditch any harmful distractions. If you are someone who likes to spend a lot of hours sitting on the couch watching Netflix, for example, limit yourself. Watch one movie or two episodes of a series, and then shift to doing something more productive.
Always be aware that sometimes what start as diversions and distractions can become a more serious problem. Having an adult beverage or two to unwind after a long day is a distraction, something to turn the mind away from all the drama of the day. If and when it turns into four or five or more drinks, or becomes an everyday occurrence, it may be developing into something where you need to look into available alcohol and drug intervention programs.
Establish What Matters
To experience true mental clarity, you need to know the difference between what you need and what you want. For example, you need to pay your utility bills; and you want to take your family to the movies.
Set Minimal Daily Goals
After establishing the difference between what you want and what you need, set minimal daily goals. Ideally, this number shouldn’t exceed two or three. These should be the most important tasks you want – and need – to complete before you go to bed. By establishing your basic needs and setting realistic goals, you will avoid stretching yourself too thin. Trying to accomplishment too many things at once results in nothing getting done which leads to an overwhelmingly long to-do list.
Embrace Brain Food
Some might consider snacking to be a form of procrastination. You, however, can use snacking to your advantage by eating snacks which improve your focus and memory. Some ideal choices include almonds, avocados, and blueberries.
The consumption of water and the human brain’s ability to function are connected. More importantly, when the brain becomes dehydrated it can result in trouble focusing, fatigue, mood swings, and memory loss. Just drink some water every day and avoid the problems not drinking water can cause.
Multitasking is the name given to the idea that doing more than one task at the same time is efficient. It isn’t. Multitasking is a form of procrastination. Simultaneously working on several tasks results in every task taking longer to get done. Start a task, finish a task, and then move on to another task.
Breaks and Rewards
You can’t fill every second of every day with work. Doing so will cause you to burn out. Reward yourself with a distraction after completing one or two of your daily core goals. Just make sure you are rewarding yourself with a healthy distraction such as one movie on Netflix, a warm shower, a walk around the neighborhood, or a nap.
Training your brain and improving your ability to focus will make you so much more successful and happier in life. You’ll stop ending the day with the same frustratingly long to-do list you started the day with. There will be no more wishing there were more hours in the day. By following these steps, mental clarity is in your future.