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Focus Up

Getting distracted is easy, in fact it’s one of the easiest things to do.

Losing focus occurs all the time.

Whether you are at work, in school, at the gym or playing a sport there will have probably been a time when you have been distracted and lost focus. Distractions can come in all shapes and sizes, from the lure of the internet at work, to an attractive person walking a dog near the pitch you’re playing your football match on, each will take your mind off the task you’re trying to do and cause a deterioration in your performance.

Here are some tips to keep your focused and at the top of your game.

I’ll describe these goals mostly in terms of keeping focused at the gym, but these principals can be applied to any situation.

1) Build yourself a routine

Having a routine informs your brain of what is about to happen. This in turn tells your brain when it’s time to turn on. It can also cause physiological changes, priming you for your workout.

The most common form of pre exercise routine is a proper warm up. This prepares both your body and mind for your workout. However your routine can start way before this from the moment you walk in the door to the gym, to putting your stuff in a locker a particular way, to putting on a certain music track that gets you pumped. All of these are signals to your brain that it’s time to focus and work is about to start.

At work build small habits that you can do as soon as you get in that let the brain know it’s GO time, make yourself a cup of tea, do a little stretch, make a to-do list, anything that you can do regularly as a trigger to focus.

2) Stay Fresh

Another reason for loss of focus is trying too hard to focus…weird right?

If you try to maintain 100% focus for too long, you’ll come unstuck.

In order to prevent this, we need to build in mini breaks. Scheduled down time periods will ensure when it is time to focus, we stay at the top of our game.

“If you try to maintain 100% focus for too long, you’ll come unstuck.”

In terms of applying this to the gym it’s easy. Your rest periods between sets or changing exercise provide your down time. Just keep on top of the time you spend resting as you don’t want to be down for too long.

This principal can also be applied to other situations. In competitive sport, look for your mini breaks, when the ball is out of play for instance, then as the game is about to restart, snap back to super awesome focus mode and whoop some ass, or other generic excitable American phrase.

What’s that? How do I apply this to work?

Oh, I got you covered for that too.

Keep your production levels up by planning out mini breaks through your day. Make sure they are pre-planned though otherwise you’re just using it as an excuse to slack off. Then when you’re back to work, that’s all you focus on, shut everything else out and get that shit done!!

3) Know your distractions

Distractions are everywhere. You can’t get away from them. You can be distracted anytime, anywhere. At the gym this is particularly applicable, especially when training on your own.

“Hey who’s the blonde on the treadmill?”

“I wonder if anyone has text me”

“Oh, shit look how much that guy is benching…I wish I could do that”

One of the worst things I see is people on their phone when working out. There are very few reasons to have your phone on you when working out. Possibly if your other half is heavily pregnant. But yeah, very few legit reasons. Generally, you don’t need to be contactable every second of the day. Leave it in your gym bag. If you use your phone for music switch it to aeroplane mode, that way you won’t get that niggling urge to check it when you hear it bleep. Back when I worked in a commercial gym, I would see people on Facebook or Instagram in between sets!

What are you doing?

I mean really? REALLY??

Mobile phones are a fantastic innovation and are changing the world around us, however we are very easily distracted creatures, as we connect ourselves more and more through technology, we become more disconnected from the world around us.

Learn what things distract you most and start to make a conscious effort to zone them out. A little bit at a time.

4) Practice:

Have you ever driven somewhere and when you arrive you have no recollection of the journey?

Or been sat in a meeting and “come to” realizing you have no idea what’s being discussed then frantically pray no one asks you a question and deliberately don’t make eye contact with anyone!

These moments are caused by lapses in focus, and they are very normal, however your mind tends to work the same way whatever you’re doing through the day so if you’re prone to zoning out, it will probably happen often and in different situations. This can be a killer in the gym, zoning out means you will not be giving 100% or may just drift through your work out rendering the session not quite pointless, but definitely not as effective as it could be.

Set mini goals. Try to be constantly aware of your situation and surroundings doing day to day things. This will improve the quality and longevity of your attention span when you are focused and the easier you will be able to turn your focusing powers on!

“Set mini goals. Try to be constantly aware of your situation and surroundings doing day to day things.”

5) Challenge yourself:

When you’re not challenged you become bored.

When kids get bored because they’re not being challenged, they start misbehaving When adults get bored, we procrastinate, make excuses and eventually stop doing whatever it is.

Constantly push yourself to do more. More reps, more weight, more distance, more words per minute, more toilets cleaned per hour. Whatever it is your doing…do it better than you have before!

That's all for now! I'll keep this short and focused.


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