4 tips to fix your lack of focus

Marc Lou
Marc Lou May 18th, 2022

We all suffer from a lack of attention. It's not just you.

Dopamine is a motivator. It is released by our brain when it's expecting a reward.

That's why you feel good when you're smelling cookies baking in the oven 🍪

But when you're working on tasks with delayed gratification, how to find motivation and stay focused?

Here are 4 ways to help you improve your concentration:

  1. 1. Break down goals
  2. 2. Get enough sleep
  3. 3. Remove external distraction
  4. 4. Commit

1. Break down goals

Let's say you're writing a thesis and learning Spanish.

Both of these goals fall down in the high-effort/high-impact category.

Long-term thinking and delayed gratification, are scary words for our brain.

When you're working on objectives that will get rewarded in weeks or months from now, motivation and focus drop.

Breakdown tasks with unpeeled orange comparison

Break them down into daily chunks, or low-effort/low-impact goals. For instance:

• Learn 5 news words in Spanish
• Write 1 thesis page

When the reward is achievable in the short term, your brain craves the reward and increases your focus.

If you want to track your daily goals, check out Habits Garden. It's a gamified habit tracker to help you focus on what matters.

2. Get enough sleep

Lack of sleep creates brain fog and destroys your ability to focus.

Scientists measuring sleepiness have found that sleep deprivation leads to lower alertness and concentration.

It's more difficult to pay attention to tasks that require complex thought, so you easily get distracted.

Fixing your sleep is easy and can be done in a matter of days. I wrote an article about it a few weeks ago.

3. Remove external distraction

We live in a world of permanent distractions and it's easy to get dispersed.

Your phone is a dopamine machine 🎰

Pulling your phone out of your pocket to check your friends' stories on Instagram doesn't require any effort and increases dopamine.

What do you think your brain will do when studying for an exam due next week?

There's a simple fix for that: Stay away from your phone when you want to focus.

Put it in a locked box, in a different room, or both. Adding friction will do the magic.

If you work on your computer, turn off all notifications.

Bad news is bad 🚨

"The goal of media is to make every problem, your problem." (Naval)

We are constantly hearing negative news. Inflation, stock market crash, corrupt politics.

We are evolutionarily wired to screen for and anticipate danger.

Thus, we are constantly alert and anxious. This creates brain fog and disturbs your concentration.

There's a simple fix for that too: Stay away from media and pessimists.

4. Commit

Most of the time, fixing a lack of focus is done by fixing a lack of commitment.

Difference between the aspiration to read a book and commitment

If you have an achievable goal in mind, a good night of sleep, and no external distraction, just sit down and start your work.

Final thoughts

It's easier to concentrate on objectives you actually want to achieve.

Turn long-term goals into short daily tasks to make your brain crave short-term rewards and increase focus.

You can even turn those tasks into a game with Habits Garden!

Get the right conditions to achieve intense focus: Good sleep, no external distraction, and commitment.

Ping me on Twitter Twitter to let me know how you boost your concentration.

Discover other posts to fight procrastination, form good habits, break bad ones and live a better life.

"Concentration is the root of all the higher abilities in man."