It happens to everyone at some point. You’re moving along, zipping through your to-dos at work or at home, and then BOOM. Something happens around you, and your focus and productivity train is derailed. It can be tricky to find your footing and get back into your groove. However, these five hints can minimize the chance of derailment and help you to get back on track after losing focus.
1. Silence Your Phone (and computer)
We are all guilty of it. Every time your phone rings, vibrates, or lights up, you automatically look away from your task to glance at your phone. Stop those notifications, silence your phone, or put it out of your line of vision (in a desk drawer or up on a shelf). This is especially important during home school.
Set boundaries when you can and cannot be contacted. Most calls can wait. If you have to use the phone, for example, to set up an appointment, do it when there is a legitimate home school break. Having a disciplined homeschool is as much as setting disciplines for yourself and the phone, as it is setting disciplined activities and a schedule for the children.
2. Close Your Door
Close your door to the world during school. This is school time. It is not time for friends or mother or mother-in-law to call. You will find some will respect this. Some may not. You have to set boundaries. You also have to set up your own home “closed door” policy. This is a time when you can get school planning or other jobs done while the children do a quiet activity such as reading or watching a documentary. Pureflix, a subscription service, has some good home school materials in this respect. You have to eliminate the distractions so you can accomplish what you need to accomplish.
3. Take Breaks
Taking breaks probably seems counterintuitive. However, taking breaks from work can give your mind a rest too. Also, if you know you have a ten-minute break coming up, it will provide you with an incentive to push through a laborious task. You need a break. Your kids need a break. You might find an online ten minute exercise routine they can do during as a break. With the smaller children, there are lots of song and exercise activities to go along with learning the days of the week and months of the year. While electronics can certainly be an over-whelming distraction, you can use them to your advantage if you use it judiciously.
If you live in the country, or have a back yard, send the children out for a short break from time to time while you take a break as well.
4. STOP Multitasking
There is no way around this, but multitasking is killing your productivity and your focus. Multitasking means you are splitting your attention between multiple items, which means you are not giving anything your full attention. Stop it. Focus on one task at a time.
Multitasking can come from having unfinished business elsewhere. In other words, you may be trying to set the dentist appointment while helping Johnny with his spelling. It is better to follow other suggestions on this topic of setting up certain times in your schedule to deal with unresolved activities. If you write them down and get them out of the way, you will be less tempted to multi-task.
5. Remove Internal Distractions
Internal distractions are the little ideas, to-dos, and random thoughts that pop into your head while working on a different task. When this happens, take a moment to write down that thought/to-do, and then get back to work. Writing it down will allow your brain to let go of it while you get back to work, and you can revisit it later. Later on as you review the list you may find that some of the things you thought were urgent aren’t that important any more.
Regaining lost focus is possible. With practice and the correct tools in place, you can restore your focus quickly and with little downtime.