Lately, I have been experiencing the most difficult time paying attention and managing all of the details of most of the tasks I am involved in. It made me begin to wonder if anyone else could be going through the same thing and if combining a list of common distractions for focus would be of service to my fellow peers. The most important thing you want to consider in why you’re losing focus lately is understanding what your current distractions are. How can you eliminate those things, and zone in on the exact needs of the environment in order to do your best work?
There are six essential areas that are most likely the culprits to the sudden decrease in your attention span. Learn to help yourself get your performance levels up, by recognizing why you’re losing focus.
#1 Cluttered or Dirty Environment
The number one guarantee for a distraction is being surrounded by clutter. People like to work in an array of workspaces, and seeing items and documents scattered around your space creates a sense of mental disorganization. The environment you’re in is essential to performance because it can set up the appropriate conditions to allow to get your task done efficiently — and on time. In addition, a clean and organized workspace lowers anxiety and a sense of pressure because your thoughts are directed solely towards the goal –and not towards how badly you want to ditch your workload for a nap.
Tip: Before you begin doing any work, try doing a quick super clean around your immediate workspace. Having a clean and organized environment helps you work to the best of your abilities, and means more mental resources are available to you to get things done. It also physically prepares to work, by reminding you the task is the priority.
#2 You’re in Conflict with a Loved One
Worrying about a fight you had can be a huge reason you’re losing focus lately. Basically, you’re tying up your thought processes and emotions with the details surrounding the conflict or how you can come up with a solution to it. Instead of researching for a project at work, you might find yourself on Facebook looking up the recent status of the person you’re in a fight with. Mental resources are drained because of experiencing heavier emotions like guilt or even sadness; thus leaving no space for mental focus.
At other times though, a conflict can be so significant it acts as a physical energy drain and literally leaves us with nothing left to complete an activity. Experiencing extreme tiredness literally limits time physically completing a task, makes responsibilities seem undesirable and ultimately may feel like you have no source of motivation to get things done.
#3 Being a Perfectionist
Although being thorough and detail-oriented is a skill most of us want to have in order to keep our focus sharp, it can also act as a major downfall to your priority list. Having too many details on your plate can overwhelm the brain, limiting the amount of focus you put forward to completing the necessary elements of the activity. Spreading yourself too thin, putting too much pressure on trying to create each component under such strict standards actually works to burn the brain out; and limits focus on projects.
#4 Unclear Tasks
Not knowing where to start, is core for losing focus. Clarify and organize everything you need beforehand, so the task starts with no distress. Time spent trying to figure out unclear instructions is valuable time being spent not working towards the project. Mental roadblocks like time constraints and fear of not completing something accurately hinders your attention span.
Tip: Go back to the source and ask questions! Everything that confused you about the instructions, form those into questions and make sure that you take note when you receive newer, more accurate instructions.
#5 Your Sleep Patterns Are Off
Going to bed late one night, waking up early the next? Chances are the way you’re sleeping is affecting your ability to perform and pay attention. Inconsistent sleep patterns may be the factor affecting how you maximize your ability to focus. On the other hand, not getting quality sleep throws the appetite and makes energy levels inconsistent.
Between not sleeping and eating well, inconsistent sleep means less mental space for memory, attention, organization, and communication. Our moods are affected by our sleep, which is why sometimes even thinking about working feels tiresome.
#6 A Spiked Blood Sugar
Feeling like you a need a boost mid-way through a task is what happens to many of us. So what do we normally tend to do? Grab a coffee or anything that gives you that “zing” feeling. One vital reason those boosts don’t last long — those snacks spike our blood sugars leading to an eventual crash.
We consume sugary snacks because we feel we do not have enough time to sit down and eat a well-planned meal. That spike in sugar increases the presence of the chemicals dopamine and adrenaline in our brains, which is why we feel so good after downing a large coffee. But that same rapid release of chemicals is also responsible for the feeling of burnout afterwards.
The All In All
Frustration of feeling like you cannot concentrate or focus on what you’re doing, can bring down positive energy and state of mind while performing. Especially living and coping with mental disorders or distress, many of us experience symptoms and changes that may create lack of motivation or concentration in our daily routines. Knowing some areas in why you can be losing focus lately, can help you identify what you can do — and avoid doing, to keep your attention span high!
Thank Your For Reading, Cheers
About Lakeisha Angelika
Based in Toronto, Ontario — Lakeisha Angelika is mental health & wellness freelance blogger, with a background in Psychology. She shares informative and helpful articles on ways to boost quality of life, manage mental illness and issues surrounding the psychological community. Lakeisha Angelika also designs illustrations and posters that compliment her written text.