How can I improve my focus?
Your mind is always busy doing something or other and always chatting with itself. It is like an undisciplined child who start talking to his friend in the class as soon as the teacher looks at the other side. The teacher keeps persuading, admonishing, warning and punishing the child, but the behavior of the child does not improve. Bhagawad Gita says so correctly:
“An undisciplined mind is the greatest enemy of man. For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy.”
It is, however, not easy to focus your mind.
With an unfocussed mind, you can’t do any great thing in life while a focused mind can do wonders. Just like the sunlight focused through a lenses can burn anything, a focused mind can achieve anything in the world.
It is not so difficult to focus your mind, if you approach the problem in a systematic way. You can learn to focus your mind by using the following techniques.
1: Like what you do
When you don’t like something, you can’t focus as your mind always runs away towards something which it likes. For example, if you are studying physics and you don’t like it; you would find it difficult to concentrate. However, if you like the subject, your attention shall not waver. If you do what you like and like what you do; there shall never be a problem of concentration.
2: Develop Understanding
In your dreams, you can do whatever you like. However, in the real world you have to often do the tasks which you don’t like. You also can’t avoid such things as they are important for your career and even for your survival.
Let us try to understand how we can develop liking for something which we don’t like at present.
You can start liking even the most difficult and boring thing, if you can understand it. There is nothing wrong in physics as a subject. If you don’t like it, it is your problem and not of the physics. There are millions in the world who actually love physics.
We even hate people when we don’t understand them. John Steinbeck said wisely, “Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.”
If you have to anyway do something which you don’t like; learn it well so that you develop a better understanding of the subject, work or person. Thereafter, you can focus on it well since you would start liking it.
3: Eliminating Options
When we try to do too many things at the same time, we can’t concentrate. We have thousands of desires and we wish to fulfill all of them. It is important to understand that it is impossible to fulfill all your desires.
You must work upon eliminating the less important options till only one or two options are left. Thereafter, focus only one at a time. In the beginning, your mind may have a craving for the other options, but gradually the other options would be forgotten and you will be able to focus on the task at hand.
4: Avoiding Pain
Pain is several times more powerful than pleasure. If you have acute pain in only one of your teeth, your entire mind is focused on it leaving aside hundreds of other body organs which are working perfectly. When your mind is troubled with any physical, mental, emotional or spiritual problem, all your attention shall be on that trouble and you will find it difficult to focus on the task in hand.
You must learn to avoid all types of pains by understating the causes of the pain. You can then eliminate pain by rooting out the cause itself. Some methods for avoiding pains would be
· Don’t make too many friends
· Don’t wear your heart on sleeve and fall in love with every attractive person
· Don’t disobey your parents or teacher who reprimand you for it
· Don’t break the legal and moral laws
· Don’t scold your children and humiliate them before their peers
5: Have a Routine
Even the most difficult and boring task can becomes interesting and tolerable, if it becomes part of your routine and inculcated as a habit. You must make a schedule wherein there is a place for everything important whether you like or you don’t like. Just like a balanced diet can give you good health, a balanced routine can fulfill your life with joy, peace and success. Make a schedule and follow it scrupulously.
6: Planned Diversion
There are many people who switch off television, Facebook, internet, mobile phones so that they can concentrate on their studies or any other work. Such type of forced isolation does not work in real life. Your mind can’t concentrate on anything for more than half an hour to one hour. If you force it for longer, it would stop cooperating with you and make all your effort useless. You must have a fixed time using all these things only to divert your mind for some time and give it relaxation. Thereafter, you can be back for your work with better concentration.
7: Have Variety
It is rightly said that variety is a spice of life. If you do only one thing, you get bored soon. Just like a single node can’t create any music, a single subject can’t hold your attention for long.
· When it is a time to study and you can’t focus on physics, why not try math, English or chemistry?
· If you don’t feel like reading, why not start making notes?
Don’t do anything except studies when it is time for studies, but you can choose different subjects and get back your focus.
8: Recharge Your Batteries
All of us love doing something. Such activities recharge our depleted energy. You can play music, talk to your friend, read a book, play a game, go for a walk, take a bath, or listen a few songs to get yourself charged. Just as you have to keep yourself hungry to enjoy the food most, you must keep your hunger for the choicest work alive in you so that you can change your mood anytime by engaging in such activities.
9: Engage Your Body and Heart
Human personality consists of body, mind, feelings and soul. We can control our mind by controlling others. If you are finding it difficult to focus on reading books, start making notes or start highlighting the important portion. If you are trying to remember something by heart and your mind is not cooperating, start walking in your room and reciting the words and you will soon notice that your mind is focused. Sometimes, playing music in low volume sooths your feelings, change your mood and focus your mind.
Physical discipline always brings mental discipline.
10: Befriend Your Mind
Some people are in the habit of cursing their mind which they claim never get focused. They try to force their mind to do what they want rather than what minds desire. You should never try to dominate your mind as you can never dominate one portion of your mind with other. Such an action divide the mind itself and the heart and head, reason and feelings start fighting with each other for dominance.
You must rather make your mind a friend and let your heart be given the same place as your head. Let your reason persuade your heart the importance of doing the task at hand so that it can benefit yourself later. Let there be a promise that your heart shall never be neglected and that you shall take care of the feelings once your important task is over.
If your mind is convinced, it shall always cooperate with you to produce the best results.
Awdhesh Singh, Author of Books on Spiritual Intelligence & Leadership