Can’t Concentrate on Anything? The Complete Guide on Focus, Attention, and Concentration.
- I can’t focus on anything.
- I can’t concentrate on what I am reading. I have to read a line over and over again to understand it.
- Whenever I sit to study, my brain wonders about other things, and sometimes I don’t understand when someone is explaining to me.
- My mind seems to focus momentarily, and then I lose it.
What is wrong with me?
But wait a minute.
I don’t have focus problems because I can watch a movie without having a second thought.
I can complete my work when the deadline is near.
So, does that mean our concentration depends on priority and interest?
Let’s talk about,
Table of Contents
What are Focus, Attention, and Concentration?
The above three are different in meaning.
Focus is used in a broader sense.
For example, you want to sort out all the mess and focus more on life.
You want to focus on what is important and what matters the most.
This is ‘focus’ for you, where your values are associated with your activities. You focus on those things which are essential to you.
You want good things in life, and you want to take steps to achieve it.
Attention is brain function.
When you are talking to somebody about something, your attention is on the person, but during the conversation, if a road accident happens, your attention shifts to the accident.
Attention shifts from one thing to another.
You may be aware of it if you are mindful or unaware. Most of us are unaware.
Your attention will shift if your brain sees it important and you can’t control it.
Concentration is the last and narrower stage.
It is using our thought process to understand what we are doing. You are reading this article. You are concentrating on the sentences and trying to understand them.
You are playing the guitar and concentrating on playing it right. Your teacher is teaching you something, and you are concentrating on understanding.
Therefore, the true question is not why I can’t focus on anything; it should be why I can’t be able to contrate on anything.
Benefits of Improving Focus in Life
Improving focus is vital to have a great life. Life without focus is like driving without any destination, which may result in accidents.
The simple thing to understand is that you will never have ‘today’ again.
So, make the best use of it.
The benefits of improving focus are:
- You will have the direction to move forward in life.
- You can avoid or quit bad habits that are ruining your life.
- Your self-esteem will grow over time.
- You will live a much happier and more fulfilling life.
- Your productivity will increase as you know what to do.
A. How to Develop Focus in Life
You can focus on your life goals, or what you want to achieve this year, this month, or you can focus on today.
Focusing on each day, each hour, and each minute will improve your overall focus in life.
I don’t need to tell you what you want to do or what is right for you. You already know that.
The point is you get distracted while doing it.
You start your day well, but after some time, you are doing something else that wastes your time. Why is that?
1. Wired Brain For Pleasure
Our brain is trained for pleasure.
Whenever some activities cause great pleasure, we like to do them more.
Pleasure is the response of a neurotransmitter in our brain called dopamine.
Dopamine is responsible for our motivation and desire to do something in life.
If we repeat the activities repeatedly for pleasure, it becomes a habit and soon becomes an addiction.
Once we are addicted, our happiness will depend on those pleasure-generating activities.
We will not find other things as interesting as before.
For example, if you’re addicted to pornography content, you will not find other things interesting to pursue in life.
In this case, no matter how much you try to focus on life, you will find failure.
What can you do about it?
To take control of watching pornography content, you can start nofap.
You can learn more about nofap and its benefits in the below article.
2. 80/20 rule
The rule suggests that 20 percent of your activities will result in 80 percent of your work.
It means that you may have hundreds of work to complete today, which seems important to you, but there will be only 20 crucial tasks that will give you the maximum result.
How to use the 80/20 rule?
Prioritize your day according to the importance of tasks.
In the morning, our motivation and willpower are strong and should be allotted to our most important activities.
Our willpower depletes as the day proceeds; use it wisely.
You can use the same rule on life goals.
Instead of achieving everything simultaneously, focus on achieving those that matter the most.
Write down all the goals you want to achieve in life. Select only 20% of the goals and avoid all the others at any cost. Don’t look for how to accomplish the rest of 80% of your goals until you achieve the first 20%.
3. No work schedule
You can’t focus on much until you have a written plan for achieving it. To become productive in life, you need productive habits.
Habits form if you repeat the same activity every day. You can repeat the same activity every day when you have a proper plan of what to do.
Making your schedule in advance, preferably the night before going to bed, will give you what you need to do. You don’t need to spend your willpower deciding what you should do.
Those people are successful who plan for their goals. This is not a secret.
Only 2% of the population can multitask.
Don’t think you are one of them, and keep doing it.
A study found that people who multitask may feel like working more in less time, but the quality of the result is bad.
But, if you prefer quality, you should always go for one thing at a time. It will improve your quality of work and also reduce your overall time of doing it.
When you are in the zone of your productivity, things will flow on their own.
5. You are surrounded by distraction.
If you desire to work for your goal, you need the right environment to execute it.
The environment plays one of the most crucial points for focus.
You can never focus if you continuously get disturbed by people while working.
If you get constantly distracted by the beeps of the phone, the notifications of social media or the news on television, that will divert you from attaining the required focus.
In the book, ‘Deep Work’ by Cal Newport mentioned that a person needs almost twenty minutes to regain concentration once distracted.
Once you are isolated from all the distractions, you will produce high-quality results quickly.
B. How to Improve Your Attention Span
- You can’t stop the automatic shift of your attention that the brain thinks are important. Our ancestors trained our brains to react immediately to events. That’s how they survived in the jungle.
- In today’s world, we are still habitual to react to events.
The sudden phone call of an unknown number, the crash of the stock market, or the sudden crying of your baby will shift your attention.
Anything which is not a habit will require your attention.
The roam walls build together to fight water against the bullies.
Did you pay attention to what you just read?
If you pay attention, you will realize the sentence is unfamiliar to your daily reading. It is out of your brain patterns.
You will not pay attention to children walking with a balloon in hand, but you will pay attention if the kid is flying with the balloon—something outside of our brain pattern.
Once you become habitual to a particular activity, you pay less attention, like driving a car.
Once you know how to drive, the brain will never shift your attention to that anymore.
The question is how not to be bothered with distraction and keep our attention on whatever we are doing.
The answer is awareness.
Mindfulness practice will do wonders for you.
When you learn to notice a disturbance without getting disturbed, it will skyrocket your productivity.
For example, while meditating mindfulness, if your thoughts shifted to the fight you had last night with your spouse, then analyze the emotions you feel about the fight.
When someone is making noise while you are working, analyze the emotions evoked by the noises and how they make you feel without any personal judgment.
This will keep your emotions stable, and you can concentrate more on your work or studies.
C. How to Improve Your Concentration
I can’t concentrate on what I am reading. I have to read it over and over again to understand what the sentence means.
Does this happen to you ever?
There are various reasons for which our concentration breaks.
They are given below and how to solve them.
1. Adult ADHD
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder for which you will have trouble paying attention and act mostly on impulses.
There are mainly three group symptoms:
You might be disorganized, less focused, be forgetful about the daily activities, don’t think much about consequences, and have trouble staying on topic while talking with someone else.
You cannot sit comfortably on your chair and keep squirming, run or climb a lot when it is not required and have trouble doing quiet things quietly.
You may live on impulses and do anything that comes to your mind without thinking much of the consequences. You may not have the patience to stand in line and wait for your turn.
These ADHD symptoms are common in children but disappear in adulthood, but not to all.
The symptoms of adult ADHD are poor listening skills, trouble getting organized, extremely distracted, angry outbursts, and others.
One thing to remember is that these symptoms don’t prove that you have ADHD. These are just symptoms, and only after a diagnosis by a doctor your ADHD will be confirmed, if you have one.
What can you do about ADHD?
- The first way is to consult with your doctor if you have ADHD and don’t go for medicine by reading on the internet.
- The second way is the nofap. If you go to the nofap forum, thousands of people have mentioned the above symptoms in adulthood.
They also said their concentration power returned once they started the nofap journey.
I came across no scientific proof to provide you, but this is something of my personal experience.
I had the above symptoms, and after 50 to 60 days of nofap, my concentration power started to return.
I was more mindful during meditation and concentrated on my work, and because of the vastness of this article, I can tell you I wrote it in one sitting.
Why don’t you try it and check if it is true? You are not going to lose anything except gain.
2. Your trained brain
You can’t concentrate because you developed the skill of not concentrating.
We didn’t grow up in the Himalayas or a monk temple. If we were, we could have better concentration skills than others.
Yes, concentration is a skill, and it becomes better with practice.
We are practicing distraction from childhood. We are doing something and suddenly move to another when our favorite program is on television.
Our mind wanders from A to B to C, and we let it roam wherever it wants. We never utilized our willpower to stop it and concentrate on the task.
Concentration requires utilizing our willpower; the more you practice it, the better you will become over time. This is why the monks have an unwavering concentration in their daily life.
Meditation will be the best exercise to improve your concentration power
3. Worry or Stress
If you are worried about what will happen or may not happen, you will find difficulty concentrating.
If you have stress too about how you will complete all your work in such a short time, then it will also affect your concentration.
For example, If you worry that your wife may scream when you start your work, you can’t concentrate on the present work.
Your wife may or may not yell, and your imaginary worries hamper your concentration.
On the other hand, if you have real worries, try to solve them first or learn to live with them.
Reality is unfolding every moment, and we have no control over it. The only thing we can do is work on the present.
Having less sleep the night before will also affect your concentration. If your brain believes a 7-8 hour of sleep is essential to perform better to do your daily task well, then you will need 7-8 hours of sleep.
What is interesting is that your brain can work fine, depending on your belief system. If your brain believes that all you need is five hours of sleep, then five hours will do just fine as 8 hours of sleep.
Mental energy is essential for performing your daily task.
If you have low mental power because of junk food, stress, or depression, it will cause you to divert from your work every time you concentrate.
So, in a nutshell, when you say you can’t focus on anything, it doesn’t mean something is wrong. You are fine, and you can be best if you apply the above tips that I discussed. Changing yourself will take time, and I am not saying to do everything in one day.
I am saying start with one thing and add things slowly one after another in your life.