How to stay focused

Your problem is that you can’t stay focused.  I’ll teach you how to focus better, longer, and on what you need to so that you can be successful in anything. 

By Ed Latimore Last modified

Do you have trouble keeping your mind on something?

Does your concentration falter in the face of demanding tasks?

Do you wish you’d be able to work more efficiently and effectively?

Your problem is that you can’t stay focused. The ability to focus can be trained, developed, and sharpened so you can work without being distracted by silly interruptions.

I’ll teach you how to focus better, longer, and on what you need to so that you can be successful in anything. 

What is Focus And Why Do You Need It

Focus enables you to give your complete attention to a task while maintaining situational awareness.

If you can focus, you gain an incredible advantage over most people. In a world of endless distraction, the person who can fix their attention on one thing for the longest amount of time will leave everyone else in the dust.

When you see hoards people with their eyes constantly glued to their smartphones, it may seem like a problem of modern culture, but people have always had things to distract them. Yes, technology increases both the efficacy and efficiency of those distractions, but they have always existed.

Furthermore, people have always sought them out.

Newspapers distracting into of cellphones

People have always found ways to distract themselves

Whether it be sitting around the television to catch the newest sitcom or drinking to the point where the United States made it illegal, people have always found a way to distract themselves.

This, in turn, leads to an atrophying of the ability to focus and concentrate.

This is why there have always been methods, systems, and secrets devoted to teaching men how to better focus, concentration, and resist the distractions of the world. 

If you center all of your attention and mental effort on a specific goal, you can get almost anything you want. Even things you thought were impossible may become reality if you learn how to focus. 

This power, above all others, is how you can change your life.

Understand Why Your Focus Sucks

Your focus sucks because you don’t want to focus.

That statement may shock you. After all, people always complain about not being able to focus. Why would they complain if this was the case?

Well, people forget that focus is all consuming, singular, and does not give them the luxury of entertaining other things. They want to be able to play on their smartphones, listen to music, and browse the internet–all while getting meaningful work done.

Well it simply doesn’t work that way.

Focus requires you to ignore everything else and place your attention solely on one thing. If you’ve never done this before, it won’t be comfortable. This highlights another big obstacle people have when it comes to focusing.

They want it to be a pleasant experience that does not invoke any discomfort or resistance. We may be able to focus, but our brains also evolved to seek novelty.For many of us, focus is boring and we hate to be bored.

This is why your focus sucks. You want it to be fun. You want it to be easy. You want it to be comfortable.

If it were any of that stuff, then it wouldn’t be so challenging and valuable.

If you’re willing to push yourself and suffer a little, this article will teach you how to improve your focus so that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. 

1. Get Rid of Distractions

The old saying is “Well begun is half done”. When it comes to improving your focus, this aphorism is the truth.

Focus requires understanding what is worthy of distraction, says Ron Webb, an executive director at the American Productivity and Quality Center. “Success comes down to embedding that focus into the flow of how you work,” he says.

An environment free of things competing for your attention makes it easier for you to focus. I remember I learned this lesson in college.

Homework problems were extremely difficult and time consuming. My mechanics and electromagnetism work always made me want to distract myself. Whenever I felt uncomfortable–which was quite often–I was tempted to pick up my phone or mindlessly browse the internet.

Or even worse, I’d give my attention to something important but less urgent. That way, I could justify the distraction to myself. After all, if I was doing something “worthwhile”, then it was alright for me to not focus on what immediately needed to be done.

If I let myself, then I could easily be distracted anything. Even worse, I could come up with compelling reasons why I needed to do other things. My solution to this was simple:

  • I turned my phone off. Airplane mode wasn’t good enough because I have a few apps that don’t require the internet to distract me.
  • I disconnected my computer from the internet. If you’re doing work that requires you to be connected to the internet, this may not be feasible, but most work that demands deep focus does not require a constant internet connection.
  • I worked in a clean, clutter free area. Clutter is mentally distracting. It also provides a convenient out from work if you decide that you want to clean instead of work.
  • I made sure I had a glass of water and a snack. It doesn’t really matter what the snack is. What matters is that you have something to keep you from having an excuse to break focus because you’re hungry or thirsty.
  • Before I started working, I used the bathroom. This one is obvious. 

You can adapt this process to your specific focus challenge, but the idea remains the same: remove distractions. Your brain is looking for ways to distract you. Don’t make it easy.

2. Know What You Need To Focus On

If you don’t clearly know what you need to focus on, you will always have trouble focusing. It’s very easy to let yourself get distracted by your environment if you don’t have a clear point to focus on.

One of the best examples of this can be found in poker player Poker Hall-of-Fame player Phil Ivey.

Phil Ivey’s concentration on the game of poker is so great that he does not notice when cocktail waitresses come to the table. Here is what one writer had to say about Phil Ivey’s concentration:

Phil at the tables constantly analyzes the moves of their opponents and look for tells, never seems relaxed, always 100% focused and combined with his aggressive style of play makes it seem really intimidating.

Most poker players look away and catch a glimpse of an attractive woman walking by, but not Phil. He is completely absorbed into the game. Phil is poker, and poker is Phil.

He is concentrating on the entire game of poker.

Phil’s focus rapidly switches between the tells his opponents are giving, calculating odds, potential bluffs and evaluating his own level of play. He is concentrating on poker, but switching his focus to different essentials of the game.

3. Meditation Improves Your Focus

Meditation to improve focus

The more time you spend concentrating, the less effort it takes to do so. 

Meditation is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal for helping you stay focused. Meditation changes the structure of the brain in a way that makes it easier for us to be present and focus more intensely on pressing tasks.

Researchers at the University of Columbia Medical Center say that meditation can;

  • Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Increase focus and learning concentration
  • Improve memory and attention span
  • Build stronger immune system and greater physical/psychological resilience
  • Allow better sleep

All of these things make it easier for you to stay focused and concentrate more easily.

There are generally three types of meditation:

  • Mindfulness. You focus on your breathing and let the thoughts pass through your mind.
  • Concentrative. You focus on a particular idea or point, and resist all other intruding thoughts
  • Moving. Think of Tai-Chi or Yoga. Activities that forces you to stay present on the movement, with no other distractions, so your mind is free.

Of these types of meditation, it is mindfulness that is the most effective at increasing your ability to focus.

Mindfulness meditation directly affects the amygdala. Research has found that with meditation, the amygdala—the area of the brain that responds to stress—becomes more controlled and better regulated.

4. Franz Bardon And Initiation To The Hermetics

When I was a teenager, I stumbled upon an interesting book called Initiation to The Hermetics.

I’m not even going to start on what the hermetics are. There are sites that do a FAR better job at that than I. Like this one here.

You don’t need to know what hermetic science is to make use of the book. You don’t even really need to care. However, you should keep an open mind for the next few sentences, and I promise you that you’ll come away with a powerful tool for improving your concentration.

Initiation to The Hermetics provides a set of exercises to strengthen your mind, body, and emotions so that you are fully prepared to practice ritual magic. Whether you believe in magic or think it’s possible is irrelevant. What is relevant is that the exercises in the book do an exceptional job of improving your ability to focus.

You learn how to properly meditate, focus your mind on one thing, visualize, and truly turn your mind into a highly functional weapon. These exercises aren’t difficult, per se, but you will quickly realize the weakness of your ability to focus on one thing

There are PDFs of the training all over the internet, but if you want to support my website, I’d love if you picked up a copy through my affiliate link below.

Franz Bardon’s “Initiation To The Hermetics”

5. Learn how to visualize

People often talk about using visualization to increase their chances of success.

There is no shortage of successful celebrities who praise the power of visualization and how it helped them achieve their goals. However, you rarely hear people discuss visualization as something that enhances focus and their ability to concentrate. 

That’s unfortunate, because it’s one of the most powerful ways to improve your concentration and ability to stay focused. This is because visualization trains your mind on what to see and focus on.

This is due to something called the reticular activating system (RAS).

The RAS ensures that our brain doesn’t have to deal with more information than it can handle. It determines what sensory information we’ll receive and process, and which we’ll ignore.

The reticular activating system is, for all intents and purposes, a filtering system for reality. The system notices what it believes to be important. It decides what’s important by what you visualize.

If you visualize having an easy time on an upcoming math exam, you’re going to have an easier time seeing the solutions. If you visualize having a best-selling book, it’ll be easier to focus when you sit down to write 2,000 words per day necessary to achieve that goal.

An added bonus to training the reticular activating system is that it might make you some extra money. Read about the famous quarter experiment and the effects of training your mind with visualization to focus on opportunities. 

6. Use Nootropics

Nootropics–also known as “smart drugs”–have become quite popular. 

Although the term “nootropic” has become a hip term, tt was coined by Dr. Corneliu Giurgea back in the 60’s.

A Nootropic is any chemical or substance used to enhance mental functionality. This covers everything from nutritional supplements to prescription drugs produced by pharmaceutical companies.

In order for a product to be considered a true Nootropic, Dr. Giurgea had strict conditions. It needs to do at least do one of the following:

  1. Enhance memory
  2. Improve behavior
  3. Protect the brain from injury
  4. Improve tonic cortical/ sub-cortical control mechanisms

All with a low toxicity and side-effect profile.

These drugs are excellent for helping you to focus better, focus longer, and make you mental badass. The following are a list of the ones I’ve personally tried that are safe, effective, and give you laser-like energy and focus.

Black Coffee

Actually, it doesn’t matter if it’s black. That’s just how I like to take it. However, it does matter that it’s regular coffee. NOT decaffeinated

Caffeine helps to improve reaction time, alertness, memory, and mood. This all translates into a mind that is more capable of focusing more intensely over a longer period of time.

In fact, from a mental mental perspective, there isn’t much that caffeine doesn’t do.

Modafinil

Modafinil is a prescription medication used to promote wakefulness and treat excessive sleepiness caused by sleep apnea, narcolepsy, or shift work disorder.

When taken as Nootropic, Modafinil is a non-addictive drug that works to increase resistance to fatigue, improve mood, build motivation, decrease reaction time, and increase mental vigilance.

Although Modafinil’s mechanisms are unclear, it does such an amazing job of keeping someone focused that people call it the “Limitless” pill.

Be careful though. You definitely want to take Modafinil in the morning because it’s half-life is over 12 hours long. This means that you’ll feel the full effects of it for AT LEAST that long after taking it.

My preferred supplier of Modafinil is ModafinilXL. If you’ve never used Modafinil to improve your focus, they have some great introductory programs as well.

If you want to support the site and improve your ability to focus, try them out here at my affiliate link.

Gorilla Mind Rush

Gorilla Mind Rush is the granddaddy of all nootropic supplements.

You get the increased concentration and focus that comes with Modafinil, but without the ridiculously long half-life. This means that you can take it after the sun comes up and still be able to sleep that night.

It gives you the alertness and awareness that comes from drinking caffeine, but without the ridiculous urge to go to the bathroom every 20 minutes. You only need to take 2-3 tablets in the morning, and you’re set.

The magic of Gorilla Mind Rush is its ingredient profile. It uses Alpha-GPC to stimulate the release of acetylcholine, a chemical important for memory and learning functions.

To reinforce the effects of Alpha-GPC, Gorilla Mind Rush also includes the natural amino acid, L-Theanine. Because L-Theanine easily crosses the blood-brain barrier, it reaches your brain within 30-45 minutes of consumption. Once there, it unleashes a host of benefits that improve your focus and concentration.

  • L-Theanine boosts alpha brain waves to promote alertness, and theta brain waves, which are associated with creativity.
  • L-Theanine increases GABA, serotonin, and dopamine levels in your brain. This not only energizes, but improves cognition and memory.

Lastly, Gorilla Mind Rush is non-habit forming and there is no nasty crash (users of adderall and to a lesser extent, Ritalin, can attest to how big of a deal this is). 

If you want to support the site and improve your ability to focus, then pick up a bottle of Gorilla Mind Rush here.

7. Practice deep breathing

No matter what the discipline, I have found that keeping your breath steady keeps your mind steady.

Controlled breathing keeps you composed, relaxed, and most importantly, focused.

Researchers have found a direct link between your ability to focus and the quality of your breathing. According to the study:

The locus coeruleus (LC) has established functions in both attention and respiration. Good attentional performance requires optimal levels of tonic LC activity, and must be matched to task consistently. LC neurons are chemosensitive, causing respiratory phrenic nerve firing to increase frequency with higher CO2 levels, and as CO2 level varies with the phase of respiration, tonic LC activity should exhibit fluctuations at respiratory frequency.

The locus coeruleus is a part of the brain involved in modulating norepinephrine production during times of stress. 

When you’re stressed out or overwhelmed, you produced too much norepinephrine and this makes it difficult to focus. On the other end of the spectrum, when you’re feeling lazy or lethargic, you don’t produce enough and that makes it difficult to focus.

An optimal amount of production leads to optimal focus. This is accomplished by deep breathing

The research shows for the first time that breathing – a key element of meditation and mindfulness practices – directly affects the levels of a natural chemical messenger in the brain called noradrenaline. This chemical messenger is released when we are challenged, curious, exercised, focused or emotionally aroused, and, if produced at the right levels, helps the brain grow new connections, like a brain fertiliser. The way we breathe, in other words, directly affects the chemistry of our brains in a way that can enhance our attention and improve our brain health.

This is important because when you lose your composure or become flustered, you lose your concentration more easily. This will, in turn, increase the possibility of failure.

Put your mind on your breathing. Try to consciously breathe more slowly with increasing depth and control.

The relationship between your breathing, mind, and mood has been well documented.

Do these things and you will increase your ability to focus.

Improving Your Ability To Focus Comes Down To This…

  1. Remove distractions. By definition, they only hurt. 
  2. Get clear about what your goals. This keeps you from being distracted trying to sort things out. 
  3. Practice to meditation. It’s like weight lifting for your mind.
  4. Franz Bardon’s Initiation to Hermetics. Especially levels 1-3.
  5. Learn how to visualize. Your reticular activating system makes it easier to focus, and your visualization is how you develop it.
  6. Use nootropics. Especially Gorilla Mind Rush combined with black coffee.
  7. Breath deeply and slowly. You mind and breath and closely related. Regulating one will regulate the other. 

Your mind abhors extended concentration on only one thing.

When you first start this it will be a struggle for you, but the more you do it the easier it becomes and the longer you can concentrate.

And next, read this: Review of The Wim Hof Method