I used to be able to focus on a task for hours at a time. As a kid, I could sit down with my homework and not get up until it was done. This was partly because there wasn't much else in my life, but mostly because I didn't get bored easily. These days, though? Things are different now. I can barely stay focused on one task before finding something else more interesting than what's in front of me. But this doesn't have to be an insurmountable problem; you can train your brain so that it stays focused again! Here are some tips and tricks for staying in the zone:
Choose a challenge you love.
An important part of staying in the zone is choosing a challenge that you love doing, so you'll be motivated to work towards it and stick with it. This can help you find solutions to problems more easily and learn more about yourself in the process because when something's fun, we tend to try harder at it.
In order to stay in the zone, it is important to set goals for yourself. These goals help you focus on what needs to be done and give you milestones to strive towards. They also allow you to evaluate your progress, which gives you a sense of satisfaction that can help keep you motivated.
As opposed to “I want to be a better 3D artist”, it's important that your goals are specific so they can be quantified and measured. These types of vague statements don't provide much direction in terms of how success will look; instead, they leave room for interpretation and ultimately aren't as motivating as something more concrete would be. When writing down your goal(s), try asking yourself: What exactly do I want? How will I know when I've achieved it? Who does this goal benefit besides me?
When you start to feel your focus shift, take a break.
One of the most common things I see people do when they get distracted is trying to push themselves harder. They think, "If I just focus harder, I'll be able to stay in the zone." This can backfire—pushing yourself too hard will make it more difficult to refocus on your work, and you may get even more distracted.
Instead of pushing yourself further into distraction, take a break when you need one! If you start feeling some mild signs of being distracted (like getting up from your desk or starting something else), this is an excellent time for a walk around the office or outside for fresh air. Or maybe it's time for lunch? Maybe play with your dog or hang out with friends? Whatever works best for you!
Find music that helps you stay focused.
It’s easy to get distracted when you’re listening to music. But if you can find a song that keeps your attention on the task at hand, it can help stay in the zone.
Some days are better than others, and sometimes it’s just not going to work out too well.
You can't always control your circumstances, but you can control how you react to them. When things go wrong, try not to get frustrated; instead of thinking about how things aren't working out and how much time has been wasted today because of this setback (or whatever), focus on what still needs to be done!
Your attention span is a muscle that can be developed.
It’s just like any other muscle: you lose it if you don’t use it. Everyone can improve their attention span, but it takes work and patience to get there. Here are some tips for training your attention span so that you can sit down to work without being distracted by every little thing around you:
- Put yourself aside each day where you are free from distraction—no TV, no music playing in the background (unless it is that song, that keeps you focused), and no noisy pets or kids (if possible).
- Choose a topic for yourself and stick with it until it’s done. Set a timer if necessary, so that your mind doesn’t wander off into other thoughts before its time is up.
- Meditate. It can also help you reduce stress and anxiety and increase your focus and learning concentration.
Try to slowly incorporate these tips into your daily routine, you will notice skyrocketed productivity in your work. And there you have it! You now know how to stay in the zone, and your focus is stronger than ever.