How to deal with a distractable mind

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We are less than two weeks away from three months of travel, and my brain has been in overdrive. That’s understandable, but it’s been a long week where I have found it exceptionally hard to focus! And in the modern day, there are so many thousands of justifiable distractions that it can be easy to find yourself jumping about aimlessly.

So, how do you deal with a distractable mind? Here’s a few things I tried, with good results, to help get myself back on track.

Scrabble letters spelling focus

The Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro is a productivity technique where you set a timer for 25 minutes of focussed work, and then give yourself a 5 minute break. There are lots of apps and websites built around this technique, such as the simple-but-effective Pomodoro Timer.

I find this helpful because 25 minutes feels doable, even on low focus days! And there’s a low learning curve, you just decide what you are going to work on, set your timer, and boom, you’re off.

A short walk

Look, walking ends up on every single one of my self-care lists, and it’s for good reason. Gentle movement, fresh air, and a change of scene combine to refresh and calm the mind.

Walking is a super-power that you should definitely make use of! You don’t have to walk for miles or head out to a park either, a simple 5-minute stroll around the block can be enough to help you re-find your mojo and your focus.

Yoga

Similar to walking, yoga can help you centre your body and calm your nervous system down. When you’re anxious, hyperactive or distractable, pulling yourself back to a simple combination of breath and movement is extremely effective.

It doesn’t have to be a full flow either. There are tons of 5-minute yoga videos on YouTube which fit handily into a Pomodoro break!

Both yoga and walking help reduce cortisol in the body, and cortisol can contribute to ‘brain fog’ and an inability to focus.

Talking to a friend or colleague

Sometimes we’re distractable because we don’t know how to tackle the next big tasks on our to-do list. We feel overwhelmed at the thought of starting. This is particularly true if it feels like a high-pressure task, like job hunting, taking an exam, or similar.

Talking it through with a friend or co-worker can help us figure out the actual next steps and break it down into more manageable pieces. Getting an outside perspective can help us see them for what they are: a difficult thing we need to do, but not the be-all-and-end-all of everything.

Make a list (and prioritise)

Similar to the above, if you have either a big chunky task to get done, or a ton of small never-ending jobs then making a list can help get the unfinished jobs from nagging at your attention and get them down onto paper. This can also help your recognise if you simply have too much to achieve, in which case a quick prioritisation session can help you figure out where you need your attention to be.

RELATED POST:  Depression Self-Care Checklist

There’s five tips to help you deal with a distractable mind. So: no more scrolling through blogs! Grab your piece of paper, make a list, figure out your next task, set your timer and get to work. Take a movement break in 25 minutes, and then start the next task. Rinse and repeat!

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