Whether you believe that the average human attention span is shrinking or not, we sure feel more distracted these days don’t we?
Blame it on multiple social media platforms always notifying us with pings and prompts. Or blame it on our connected world in general – texts, messages, emails, phone calls, video chats.
It doesn’t stop and it never will. With the advent of 5G, the rapid speed of life and it’s many distractions only looks to increase in the near future.
If your soul longs for things to slow down so that you can focus, it’s up to you to make that happen. Maybe you want to learn more about a specific topic.
Maybe you want to be more intentional about the time you spend with your wife or kids. Maybe you just want to take a vacation for your mind and enjoy the lost art of napping.
No matter the reason, here are five things you can do or consider that will help improve your focus.
Study one specific topic. Take a break from the onslaught of 24-hour news with its different topics, themes and headlines.
Remember that research paper from high school or college? The one where you became an expert on a specific topic? You learned the pro and con arguments and you understood all of them inside and out. For a moment in time, you were the expert.
Do the same thing now. Pick a topic that you always wanted to learn more about. Spend 30 days researching the topic and reading related books and research papers. No tweets.
No blog posts. Only original and secondary sources with 1,000 words or more. Spend time with it. Take time with it. Focus. Not only will you be rewarded with new knowledge and expertise, but you will also flex your focus muscle.
Log-off social media for 30 days. Social media isn’t a bad thing but it’s easily abused. Social media can also be an abuser. And the best way to respond to an abuser is to walk away.
Remove the social media apps from your phone and any other device you use to access them. Then refuse to login for 30 days. It will be difficult for 5-7 days.
Social media withdrawal is real because social media addiction is real. But after that first week, things will get easier. You’ll find that you have more time in your day with increased focus.
Consider a dumb phone. Remember the flip phone or candy bar phone you had before you upgraded to a smartphone? Well “dumb phones” are making a comeback.
Turns out smartphones didn’t deliver on many of the promises they made. Men of all ages are turning to dumb phones like the mulika mwizi and kabambe as a way to decrease distractions and increase focus.
Read an actual book; the paper version. There are many published studies about the benefits of reading a paper book verses the digital variety, but the most basic benefit is focus.
Any digital device has buttons and things to click, which reduces focus. When you dive into a printed book, you just read.
Listen and watch for cues that you’re not focusing. Everything to this point in the article has been specific – practical ways to increase your focus.
But every man is different. So the prescription will be different from man to man. But almost every man can listen and watch for cues of a distracted life. Maybe your son complains about how you’re always on your phone. Easy: get off your phone.
Maybe your wife wishes you would spend more time talking at night instead of laptop work. Easy: limit computer time at night. Maybe you find yourself bringing too much work home on the weekend.
Easy: read less news at work on Friday. Spend some time today taking inventory of the ‘effects’ and then consider their ‘causes.’ Doing so will help you find meaningful and lasting solutions.
Increased focus should be the goal of every man because a focused man is a successful man.