Whether you’re looking to increase your own focus on daily tasks or itching to get your kids to buckle down and do their homework, focus is highly important when it comes to living a productive lifestyle and learning as much as you can. While there’s something to be said for relaxation and balance, focus is still important, and it’s often not valued the way it once was. Between the abundance of screen time kids are exposed to, the more fast-paced lifestyle, and the pressure many people feel to multitask, commitment to focus has only dwindled over time.
It takes conscious effort and attention to focus well, and that effort might be best used in unexpected ways. There are plenty of strategies you can use to encourage your family to focus, and while some are about hard work, others are about being creative and finding balance. Everyone is different, and you may find certain family members gravitating towards specific techniques. No matter what you choose to test out, there are so many methods you can use to focus your family a bit more.
1. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness can help you relax, but it can also help you focus on tasks in front of you. Mindfulness is all about being present in the current moment and engaging fully with your surroundings. This means no multitasking or distractions. While mindfulness meditation is a highly beneficial practice to take up in order to ingrain these skills, it’s also entirely possible to simply use mindfulness exercises to focus more on the tasks at hand and get more done.
2. Focus on Different Learning Styles
It can be really freeing and beneficial to accept that people learn best in all different types of ways. While the three main types often discussed are auditory, kinesthetic, and visual learners, there are even subsets and configurations beyond those. Some people learn best through music or even conversations with other people. By determining your learning style and the learning styles of everyone in your family, you can use those strengths to determine specific focus techniques for everyone in your household.
3. Play Music
While some people maintain that music is a distraction rather than a helpful focus aid, many people take the opposite stance. Really, it’s a personal preference. If you think it may help your family, you can try playing soft background music and see if it helps everyone stay engaged. While it isn’t recommended to play loud music or music with words, classical music or other instrumental music with a steady tempo can work great in creating a steady workflow. You can also try out white noise or nature sounds if those tend to be more your style.
4. Take Breaks
While taking breaks might seem counterintuitive when you’re trying to focus, it can actually be what some people need to truly buckle down and make the most out of their time. Especially for kids who have trouble sitting still and have a lot of energy to expend, taking breaks for movement or rest can help to recenter you back to focusing. Taking breaks can help to restore motivation and minimize fatigue so everyone gets more done.
5. Designate Quiet Time
On the opposite end of the spectrum from the music lovers and auditory learners, quiet and silence can also help get many people in the zone to focus. Even if you don’t have a big task in front of you, designating a few quiet hours for your house each day can improve focus over time and encourage the whole family to be more focused when they really need it. A bit of silence can give the mind rest, time to think and allow for a bit of reprieve. If you plan to focus on something, quiet can help you do it. However, quiet for the sake of quiet can be great for the brain in the long term.
6. Use Focus Triggers
Sometimes tools, routines and rituals can do more than meets the eye. It’s simple psychology that when you condition your brain to expect a response from a trigger, you’re more likely to adjust to that over time. Whether you have specific hours for focus time, make a certain kind of tea or put on specific music, those routines can trigger a response. You can even use certain triggers that have been proven to improve concentration — like how smelling scents like cinnamon and peppermint can help you focus.
7. Put the Screens Down
Not all screen time is created equal, but too much of any one thing can wear you down. For both kids and adults alike, too much time spent on screens can actually damage your attention span — not to mention your eyes and brain cells. While plenty of life is linked to screens nowadays between work and school, taking some intentional time away from screens could improve your focus in the long term.
Focusing Better in Your Family
Everyone is different, but there are so many ways to get your family to focus just a little bit better. From using momentary triggers to building consistent habits, you have the power to ensure that your family can focus, learn and feel satisfied with their productivity.