How do you stay focused on a task or activity?

Topic #8

For me, staying focused is all about being in the right environment. And one environment doesn’t necessary suit all points of focus.

One thing that generally always helps my focus – but probably hinders many more people – is listening to music. My brain is constantly thirsty for a tidbit of magic towards my ears. I listen to music throughout the day where possible. Whenever I’m in front of the laptop and not watching something, when I’m walking somewhere, when I’m on the bus to uni, when I’m on a train… Basically anytime that doesn’t require me to be listening to something else (I won’t listen to music during a lecture, no matter how boring it is).

When I’m working, music, for the most part helps. But again it’s not always the same music that will help stimulate my brain. Sometimes I want good vocals, sometimes no vocals, sometimes a good heavy beat, sometimes no beat at all. Music that is never wrong to listen to is Ludovico Einaudi (anything involving the sound of a piano gives me ‘eargasms’ as I call them), anything composed by Hans Zimmer (the soundtrack for Gladiator being my favourite), The Piano soundtrack by Michael Nyman (a film I’ve yet to see) and Jónsi.

In terms of environment, I focus best when needing to do uni reading, coursework, studying etc at the library on campus – there really is no point trying at home! For reading a fictional book, I focus best oddly enough when I have background noise I can’t control. Reading in my bed, or somewhere with my own music finds me constantly drifting away from actually reading and instead imagining and playing the book out in my head with my own words. For some reason knowing I can’t control the environment other than reading the book in front of me makes me read it and not get distracted by other things. Odd, I know.

For writing, or blogging? I’m not too sure. I think my own room is the best place, with no one else around me and whatever music I’ve been mainly listening to that day. Writing for me, however impersonal a post it, is extremely personal for me so I can’t write when I feel like I’m being watched or could be walked in on. I need to be alone when writing.

Once I’ve given myself the correct variables my focus is actually pretty good for someone with an exceedingly short attention span. 🙂


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