I find that the digital age – with its relentless stream of notifications, emails, texts, and social media updates – has hijacked my ability to focus. I suspect that I’m not alone in this struggle.

There’s a wealth of statistics showing that people, particularly the younger generation, struggle with maintaining focus. However, this isn’t news to most of us. This lack of focus is more than just an inconvenience; it’s a significant issue that impacts productivity, mental well-being, and our overall quality of life.

We need to regain agency over our attention. Here are three effective solutions to help you regain your focus:

Mindfulness Meditation
One of the most researched and proven methods to improve focus is mindfulness meditation. By training your mind to concentrate on the present moment, you can significantly reduce distractions and improve your attention span. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that just a few weeks of mindfulness training can improve focus and cognitive flexibility.

Digital Detox
The constant pings from our devices are a significant source of distraction. In a digital detox, we designate specific times for checking emails and social media, freeing up mental space and improving focus. There are several apps that can facilitate this for you.

I’ve found that by limiting my own time on these platforms, I’ve been able to reclaim much-needed focus and clarity.

Plan Reset Rituals
Without breaks, we may deplete our willpower. In Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, we see how fatigue weakens our ability to reason, clearly compromising our ability to fight distraction. Kahneman recommends creating small, manageable chunks of time where you eliminate all distractions.

Reset rituals are these time chunks, supercharged with intention and structure. They are concentrated breaks, designed to refresh and refocus our minds. The Pomodoro technique is a system where 25-minute chunks are set aside for interruption-free work. This can act as a good cadence to perform the ritual, however, if you feel it’s too short try doubling this time.

My reset ritual includes four cycles of 4–7–8 breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, exhale for 8 seconds), a mental refocus and a review of the remaining mission for the day, and finally a deliberate scan of critical communications to put my mind at ease.

The focus crisis is real, and it’s affecting people of all ages. While medications may offer a quick fix, they often come with side effects and don’t address the root cause of the problem.

Mindfulness meditation, digital detox, and reset rituals can provide effective, sustainable solutions to regaining control over your attention and, by extension, your life.

And when I doubt… Pause. Breathe. And quiet the noise.

Story by: Gary LeBlanc – Motivational speaker, author and CEO and Co-Founder at Zero dB in Toronto, ON.

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