I Just Can't Focus | Five Tips to Handle A Foggy Mind
Have you ever been at work, school, or even at home doing your best to complete the tasks of the day, but for some reason you just can’t focus? It doesn’t matter how hard you try to plop yourself in front of what you need to do, within 10 minutes you mind begins to wander to a variety of other things. Basically anything that has nothing to do with what is actually scheduled to be on your plate today.
I went through this exact thing this week & interestingly enough so did one of my co-workers. It seemed to had gotten so bad for him that he came into my office & ask for some advice, which of course I did my best to give him. Which got me thinking - I should share some of the thoughts I told him with you!
So I’ve compiled a list of 5 tips that I have for when you find yourself trapped by your foggy & unfocused mind.
Review the importance of this task: Is there a hard deadline? Are others relying on you to complete this project in order for them to do their own work? Will completing this task make other work easier down the line? Sometimes all you need is to be reminded of the urgency & importance of the task at hand to realign & focus your mind.
Do something else for 5-10 minutes: Set a timer and let your mind wander, write a list of what is pre-occupying your mind, read a few pages of a book you’re currently reading or your favorite blog’s latest post, listen to music that will lift your spirits and/or get you focused. Just anything that doesn’t have anything to do with your main task. Hopefully you’ll be able to get a little bit of what’s causing you to be scatterbrained out of your system.
Step away: Physically removing yourself from where you’re doing your task has proved to very effective for me in the past. If you can, take a short walk outside, have your lunch break away from your desk, or have a quick catch-up with your co-workers if they are able to take some time out too. Whatever you do, the key is to get away from the actual place you’re doing your task (even if it’s just two cubicles over) so you physically & mentally can focus on something else.
Delegation: Let’s say, you’ve gone through tips 1-3, you know that the task is of high importance & you’re still as bad as before. I’d now ask you to consider delegating this task to someone else who you trust to complete it fully & well, or at the very least complete as much of the task they can for the remainder of your designated work day. This tip is for you if you work in teams or have colleagues with similar skillsets as you. It’s okay to ask for help!
Extend or Remove: This last tip is very similar to tip 1 in the sense of reviewing the actual importance of the task. I’d take a hard look at why you’re doing this task. Is it helping you further your goals? Does it actually need to be completed today? Are there other more pressing projects that can be done instead? If you’re doing client work, is it possible to request a deadline extension? Sometimes it’s hard to focus on work that you know deep down that it isn’t actually useful or if you have more pressing issues that need to dealt with in another area of your work or personal life. Requesting for extensions on projects is not a bad thing if you know doing so will allow you to have a completed product that will exceed expectations of your clients or your own, when using this option responsibly. And if this task is truly unnecessary, why waste your time doing that when you could be doing something more constructive?
I hope these tips helped you. These are the methods that I personally use whenever I’m experiencing mental fogginess at work. If you have any other tips, PLEASE SHARE them in the comment section!