Does Your Mind Wander when You Need to Focus It?
By Remez Sasson
You are busy with your work, reading, or listening to a lecture, when suddenly, you realize that for some time, you have forgotten what you were doing. Instead of focusing on your work, the book or the lecture, you were lost in a reverie about something else, completely unrelated to what you were doing.
Did you sit at work, in a classroom, at a meeting, while your mind was miles away, busy with other things? Suddenly, you realized that someone has asked you a question. You see him or her staring at you, but you don't know what the question was. This could be embarrassing.
The strange thing is you don't even recall when your mind became distracted and for how long.
This happens to everyone, and sometimes, even in situations where it could be risky to lose the attention, such as while driving.
Losing the attention, and allowing the mind to wander, is quite a common daily occurrence. This happens in all ages and to all people.
This often occurs, when you are bored, tired, or doing something you don't like doing. If you don't like your work, your attention might frequently wander to other subjects.
Losing your attention could be risky, if you are a driver or works with machinery. It could lead to mistakes and errors and to inefficiency in every kind of work.
It is less likely for the mind to wander, when you are doing something, which you love doing, or are excited about. The excitement and interest do not allow your mind to wander away.
Let's Make an Experiment.
Look at the square below, and focus your attention on it for a minute or two. Be careful not to strain your eyes. Blink, if you feel you need to. Do it now!
What happened during these moments? Were you able to hold your attention steady? Probably not!
Your attention wandered to other thoughts, probably just a few seconds afterwards. Then, you realized that you were not directing your attention to the square, and brought it back. This perhaps happened quite a few times.
This exercise proves how easily the mind wanders away. I am sure you realize by now, how important it is to try to focus your mind on what you are doing.
You might say that you enjoy mentally wandering away while working, and thinking of other things, because you don't like your work. Actually, I am inclined to believe that a great percentage of people daydream part of the time, at work, especially when doing some automatic activity.
The mind might wander to something more pleasant and enjoyable than what you are doing at the moment, but it can equally, wander to negative thinking, worries and problems.
Would it be useful to develop the skill to control the attention? It certainly is!
With this skill developed, when you work, the likelihood of making mistakes is smaller. And you do your work, better, more efficiently, and can finish tasks in a shorter span of time.
- At a lecture, you don't miss anything.
- While driving, you are aware of the road and how you are driving.
- When with friends, at a meeting, or with clients, you don't miss what's going on, and are always aware of what people are saying or asking.
- This ability is also useful, when you meditate, helping you to focus and to clear your mind of unessential thoughts.
When you have more control of your attention, you avoid being absent-minded and thinking about other matters, in places and times when you should be alert and attentive.
4 Simple Tips to Stop the Wandering of the Mind
- Try to be aware of the thoughts that pass through your mind. This would help you become aware when your mind is starting to wander, and be able to bring it back more easily.
- Try to focus on what you are doing. Don't do one thing, while at the same time thinking of something else.
- When you are busy with something, and an important thought pops up into your mind, write it down on a piece of paper, so that you would return to it later.
- When tired or bored, at work, while studying, or at times when you need to be focused, stop what you are doing for a few moments, stretch your body, and take a few deep breaths.
In my book, 'How to Focus Your Mind', I have covered this issue. This book teaches, how to improve the concentration and learn to focus on what you are doing. You will find in this book guidance, tips, and simple exercises to improve your concentration, and help you stop your mind from wandering.
The book is available in PDF eBook format, and you can download immediately after ordering it. You can read it on your PC, laptop, iPhone, iPad, tablet or smartphone, and you can also print it out.
Click here to order the eBook, and immediately download it.
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