How to Make Yourself Focus


A lack of focus can derail even the most intelligent and capable person. Controlling your ability to cognitively commit to a task is one of the keys to success in any endeavor. You have more control over your ability to focus than you may realize. Identifying your barriers to concentration so that you can overcome them is the first step to making yourself focus deliberately and effectively.

  • Avoid procrastination and minimize multitasking. Feeling overwhelmed by too many tasks, especially those that have been delayed too long, can make mental focus difficult to achieve. Prioritize your objectives, and break each one down into smaller segments. Start at the first step, and continue step by step until you have completed each task.

  • Nourish yourself properly. The healthier your brain is, the better you will be able to focus. Examples of focus-friendly nutrients include vitamin B12, which is essential for the optimal performance of the nervous system. Ensure that you drink enough water each day and that you get enough sleep each night.

  • Organize your life. Schedule your tasks according to your peak alertness time. If you are a night owl, plan to work at night. If you are a morning person, save your focus-intensive tasks for right after you wake up. Avoid being distracted by other pending responsibilities by making a list of them. Sometimes putting things on paper can clear them from your mind and enable you to focus.

  • Anticipate what issues may arise that could distract you. Have a drink of water and a snack already prepared and ready. Turn off the phone, or turn down the ringer.

  • Remove visual and audio distractions. Clear away clutter from your work area. Turn off anything that produces sound, such as a TV or radio. Unplug or remove the batteries from a ticking clock. If you are in an environment with others, try wearing ear plugs. If you find that excessive quiet makes concentration difficult, try adding a low-level sound to your environment that is not mentally engaging, such as quiet music without vocals.

  • Address any kinesthetic needs you may have. Get up and take frequent stretch breaks if your task is tedious and you feel yourself getting restless. Sometimes fidget activities such as toe tapping or gum chewing are all that are required to assist in maintaining mental focus. If you are studying written material, employing your visual and tactile senses through the use of highlighter pens and a ruler may keep you engaged.

  • Motivate yourself. Choose a reward for completion of your task. Another effective motivational tool is public accountability. Tell others what you are doing, and speak often of your progress. You may find yourself more motivated to focus when you know that others are expecting results from you.

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