Welcome To Productivity Theory’s Mental Focus Challenge!
Everyone gets distracted at times. It’s a natural part of life.
However, some distraction behaviors are easier to remedy than others.
For example, being distracted by a loud conversation in your office or by your dog demanding your attention while you meditate is definitely irritating. Those are outside sources of distraction imposing themselves on you.
However, you can do things to stay focused in these times, and they’re usually pretty simple fixes: wear headphones when conversations happen around you, and maybe let your dog chill in the yard during your meditation sesh.
But if you struggle with internal sources of distraction, this is a mental focus problem that is often harder to fix.
When I say internal distractions, I mean that little urge you get to check Twitter in the middle of working on an important project, or the impulse to find a dinner recipe for tonight even when you should be paying attention to something else. Nothing really imposes these urges on you; you generate them yourself. And that’s the tough part.
Now, to some extent, we can blame our goldfish-like attention spans on society and the vast amounts of media we’re exposed to every day. But we can’t let that blame also be an excuse to sit back and do nothing about our lack of ability to focus.
At its core, the inability to focus is a problem of habits. We habitually check out phones, habitually give in to those urges that tell us to get on social media, habitually let our minds drift to other projects when we already have one in front of us, etc. And, as habit-researcher James Clear notes, the best way to correct a bad habit is to replace it with a good habit.
That’s why I set out to create a habit-establishing, mental focus course: to help people struggling with internal distraction problems get focused and productive.
About Productivity Theory’s Mental Focus Challenge
This is an informal challenge (i.e. you are not competing with others, but with yourself to be the best version of you that you can be). Your goal will be to find ways to stay focused in your day-to-day work, whether that be in your career, at home or in any other niche of your life.
If you find yourself feeling frustrated and mentally exhausted as the result of too many distractions vying for your attention, this two-week activity may be for you!
Disclaimer: This challenge is not meant to be used as a substitute for professional treatment for anyone with ADD, ADHD, or any other kind of focus-impairing, clinically recognized mental health disorder. If you suspect you have an attention deficit disorder, please seek help with a mental health care professional.
To give you an idea of what the 2 Week Mental Focus Challenge will entail, here is a short description of what you can expect:
- Each day, for two weeks, you’ll follow the Mental Focus Challenge Schedule, which will be delivered to you by PDF when you sign up for the course. I’m also including a pre- and post-challenge self-evaluation sheet that you can fill out to track your progress over the two weeks you do the challenge.
- The challenges were designed to easily fit into your day, and many of them only take 10-15 minutes.
- Eventually, you’ll be asked to choose your two favorite focus strategies and stick to them for one week. This is to help you start forming a healthy focus habit, based off of tactics you’ll have already tried.
- With each daily challenge, I’ll also include a motivational or inspiring quote, as well as an app suggestion for those of us who use our phones to log daily activities. (Note: None of these apps are sponsored suggestions. I did some research and am recommending tools that I think could genuinely help you focus better!)
- During the second week of the course, these app suggestions will focus on brain-training tools and games. This is to help you exercise your brain a little bit more, which could potentially help you learn how to stay mentally engaged for longer periods of time. How long you play the games are up to you, though I suggest trying to play for over six minutes (the average attention span right now), and then increase that time each following day.
- When you sign up for the challenge, you’ll also be subscribed to my blog’s weekly newsletter. I encourage your to give the newsletter a try for a week or two, but if you don’t love it, I’ve made it easy for you to unsubscribe at any time.
If you think this two-week exercise sound like a fun personal challenge, sign up below.