14/08/2018

LIFESTYLE | How To Focus and Concentrate in a Digital World


Because getting our minds off the internet is a skill in itself.

Some time ago, I realised that my attention span has decreased a lot in the last few years. I used to be an avid reader, as well as someone who could watch films every day for entertainment. Today, I find that the only source of entertainment I always come back to is instant, short, snappy content: Instagram pictures and Stories, YouTube videos, or blog posts. I seem to have lost the ability to focus for a long time, and even when I'm working, the temptation to scroll through my phone is often distracting me from my goals.
Ultimately, I think this is a symptom of our time: we are drawn to our little screens, we want very visual content which brings us an instant reaction and satisfaction. Our attention span reduces because we don't need to pay attention anymore. Everything is thrown at us and we just absorb it, to forget it straight after and make space for the new content we'll see next.

In this context, I think it's important that we don't focus the ability to focus properly. This is a big deal especially when it comes to mindfulness and relaxation, as well as switching off from the buzzing world around us to take time for self-care. So here are some tips I have been using to work on being more focussed:

READ MORE (NO KIDDING)
It may sound like simple and basic advice, but we should never overlook the fact that we probably don't read as much as we should, and most likely not as much as we used to when we were younger - and didn't have that many screen distractions. Truth is, reading is a great stress-reliever, and good exercise for the brain: we have to focus on the words, on the plot, and I find that prolonged reading sessions (i.e. at least a good twenty minutes) make you work on your concentration levels. So whether it be a novel, poems, the newspaper, graphic novels - take the time, every single day, to read at least twenty to thirty minutes. I have been doing that every morning for the past month, reading a few chapters when I wake up and it really makes me feel relaxed to start off the day.

PUT YOUR SCREENS AWAY
If you are used to face screens for hours on end, you need some down time during the day to rest your eyes and brain. Giving your eyes a break gives you time for other things, and this could be as simple as taking a five-minute nap, reading a (paper) magazine, preparing yourself a little snack or having a workout session. It might be the smaller day-to-day activity, but when you're addicted to your phone screen (like I am, although it pains me to admit it..!) every little thing that you willingly do to take a break from screens will make you feel good about yourself. It may seem silly, but every effort you put towards making this digital 'detox' happen will be rewarding and motivate you to do even more!


ENJOY THE SILENCE
This is the part that I would like to self-care and mindfulness the most: taking some time, as often as possible, to sit in silence and let your thoughts and ideas unfold. If you enjoy it, you might also practice yoga or meditation, but since it is not something I do, I keep my advice mainly to what works for me - but meditation is definitely a way to focus on the moment and get rid of information overload. Silence helps you center yourself and feel more aware of every stream of thought that goes into your brain. Light a candle or play some white noise in the background if it helps, and take the time to just do nothing. You may find, if you are used to a busy lifestyle, that staying there doing nothing can be very difficult, but plan this time into your routine and schedule and you will very quickly see the benefits of this little silence break in your everyday life.

What do you do to focus when you've had a digital overload?
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20 comments:

  1. When I need to work, I make sure that I don´t have my phone on me and I try and not open any tabs on my browser like Instagram and such, to avoid the distraction. And I take a book with me to the playground. Not really uninterrupted, but a great way to turn some pages.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

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    1. You're doing the right thing Anne! Having your phone next to you slows down every thing. Reading little by little whenever you can is great too! xx

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  2. I agree with you, the digital age ascends and it takes us to a completely different world

    https://pinmytees.com/

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    1. We have to make the most of it while still being careful :) xx

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  3. It can be so, so hard to convince ourselves to put our screens away, right?! I find I'm on my phone most very lately at night, switching between various apps haha. Thanks for the inspiration Julia! Hope you're having a fabulous week so far :)

    aglassofice.com x

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    1. I know, it's terrible haha. That's one big thing we have to work on! I hope you have a wonderful weekend Gabrielle! xx

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  4. I agree with everything you said.

    Three-four years ago I though I don't have time to read regularly. Now I'm reading a lot, 60 books last year and 52 finished this year (more non-fiction). How? I stopped reading online forums that were taking too much of my time while getting annoyed too often. I also spend less time on twitter and facebook and that helps too. The same time, but spent in a better way.

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    1. Your book count is amazing Anca! Well done on taking the time to read that much. It makes the world of a difference to be well-read :) xx

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  5. Girl I couldn't agree more!

    x Lisa | lisaautumn.com

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    1. I'm glad we see things the same way! xx

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  6. Aw loved this so much, especially what you wrote about pleasing visual things being thrown at us and we just forget them almost straightaway, just sort of throwaway entertainment haha! I would so love to read more, I miss the satisfaction that comes from a great book or movie but will definitely cave and look at my phone for some time, it's so addictive having the world instantly at your fingertips, but maybe it is not good for us too :( loved reading your thoughts! xx

    elizabeth ♡ ”Ice Cream” whispers Clara

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    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed the post Elizabeth! Reading definitely brings so much satisfaction. Sometimes we have to push ourselves to do what's good for us haha xx

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  7. I'm making myself look less on insta and there's even a point now where I can go three days without posting anything! My favourite thing is having total silence to read so I can easily escape into a fictional world haha

    franalibi.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Fran, you're ahead of the game haha! Although I only post every other day generally (unless I'm very inspired!), I still spend a loooot of time scrolling through Instagram. Too much time haha. I have to have silence to read too, it makes it much more relaxing! xx

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  8. Peace and quiet is a must for me to be able to clear my thoughts and be super productive and ready to tackle the day.

    www.themakeupaficionado.com

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    1. I love quiet and silence, it's so relaxing! xx

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  9. Great post! I really enjoy reading it! You give very useful tips.
    I prefer reading book every day like the best method for focusing and escaping digital world.

    http://www.exclusivebeautydiary.com

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    1. Reading is one of the best things ever, it helps in so many ways! xx

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  10. Great post.
    xx
    https://theonethattravels.wordpress.com/

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