How to Refocus the Wandering Mind (15 Practical Solutions)

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Want to cognize what Steve Jobs thought was nan eventual cardinal to achieving success?

“Focus and simplicity… erstwhile you get there, you tin move mountains.” – Steve Jobs

I judge this belief is much important coming than it was years ago. Information and intermezo are disposable easy astatine your fingertips. So, it’s nary wonderment we each person specified a wandering mind nowadays.

Thanks to nan net and smartphones, attraction is practically a rate we should beryllium much budget-minded about. In fact, a personification who tin stay focused is not only much apt to get much done but besides beryllium much satisfied astatine nan extremity of nan time because of it. Don’t you agree?

Going further, a person who’s focused will much easy execute their goals—anything from losing 20 pounds to getting a promotion astatine activity is wrong scope of this type of person.

Peruse nan conception beneath to cognize everything astir nan wandering mind and really to power it.

What Is a Wandering Mind?

A wandering mind, arsenic nan sanction suggests, flits astir for illustration a fly. It keeps asking questions, thinking, worrying, creating problems, imagining, and coming up pinch effective solutions. This not only happens while you are relaxing but besides while driving, eating, aliases cooking.

A wandering mind is simply a hotbed of antagonistic and vain thoughts. A Harvard study reveals that wandering minds are straight related to unhappiness.

“A quality mind is simply a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind. The expertise to deliberation astir what is not happening is simply a cognitive accomplishment that comes astatine an affectional cost.” – Killingsworth and Gilbert, Psychologists of Harvard University

A wandering mind makes it harder for you to attraction and woody pinch issues effectively. It will besides forestall you from completing important tasks by focusing connected tasks unrelated to nan important ones and falling asleep. Other communal names of mind wandering are pensive flights of fancy aliases fantasy.

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What Causes a Wandering Mind?

While nan nonstop origin of mind wandering hasn’t been understood, investigation studies successful laboratory settings person shown that location is simply a web of neurons that person been linked to mind wandering. This web interacts pinch immoderate regions of nan cortex which woody pinch behaviour and emotions.

This web is usually progressive erstwhile a personification is astatine remainder aliases moving connected tasks that don’t require you to salary attention. Changes successful this network’s default mode person been linked to changes successful encephalon activity and a wide scope of intelligence diseases specified arsenic schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic accent disorder.

Is It Bad to Have a Wandering Mind?

Having a wandering mind harms your productivity and capacity successful different ways. Plus, it affects your value of life. Here are a fewer reasons compiled by cognitive subject that propose that mind-wandering is bad for you:

  • Lack of awareness: When you are preoccupied pinch your thoughts, it’s difficult to beryllium alert of your environment. This usually leads to accidents for illustration banging connected group aliases objects, falling, and ignoring postulation signs. Lack of consciousness is 1 of nan starring causes of accidents connected astir roads.
  • Failure to comprehend: An worker aliases student whitethorn neglect to understand what’s being explained to them. And this will lead to immense errors. It’s much difficult for personification pinch a wandering mind to read, perceive to, aliases travel their regular tasks.
  • Poor focus: A wandering mind reduces your capacity to attraction connected important tasks. And this tin beryllium interpreted arsenic a deficiency of liking successful being uninvolved successful tasks. It besides makes it much difficult for you to persevere pinch tiresome, dull, aliases time-consuming chores. And erstwhile you activity connected a task astatine random times, you’ll extremity up making sloppy mistakes.
  • Depression: One of nan communal consequences of a wandering mind is worry and depression.

How To Control a Wandering Mind?

Here are 15 ways to tame and refocus your wandering mind to get much things done.

1. Find Your Totem

Do you callback nan totem from nan movie Inception? When they touched it, it served arsenic a reminder that they weren’t dreaming and helped to support them successful nan present.

You tin usage this thought to enactment focused arsenic well. Find a “focus totem” that will enactment arsenic a regular reminder to prioritize your occupation and put an extremity to daydreaming. In nan best-case scenario, it should beryllium thing you tin touch and see.

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Both nan chess portion and nan spinning apical that was utilized successful nan movie are smart ideas. To thief you concentrate, you mightiness besides deterioration a ring, usage a family photo, aliases utilize a mini trophy (in fact, a greenish lantern ringing mightiness beryllium benignant of cool for this).

2. Promise a Reward

Incentives are an evident measurement to go. And if you want to study really to refocus your mind, past promising a reward would person awesome results.

Any travel that culminates successful golden makes you want to support going for nan rewarding experience. In general, rewards should beryllium successful proportionality to really difficult aliases time-consuming nan activity is. For example:

  • Finish a speedy location chore = a portion of chocolate
  • Complete an annoying administrative task = 10 minutes of Youtube
  • A successful time of being successful nan authorities of travel = a full movie connected Netflix

Pretty elemental stuff, right? But you’d beryllium amazed really often you hide to reward yourself for doing coagulated activity connected nan regular.

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3. Enter nan State of Flow

Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, a notable scientist successful affirmative psychology, suggests the thought of nan authorities of travel by saying that erstwhile personification is highly concentrated connected a circumstantial activity, one’s mind is afloat occupied because nan quality tense strategy is incapable of processing excessively overmuch information.

One method to execute a long-lasting emotion of contentment is to participate nan travel state, which stops your mind from daydreaming.

Imagine you’re a musician who is penning a portion of music. It is easy to envision that your thoughts will beryllium wholly consumed by philharmonic notation, leaving you pinch small clip to see what to eat for lunch. Most of our anxieties and concerns are put connected clasp erstwhile we are successful a authorities of travel because we are afloat present.

Going into travel is for illustration learning to thrust a bike:

Pick a Route You Enjoy

If you take nan routes you for illustration erstwhile you thrust a bike, your travel will beryllium much joyful. You besides request to find thing fascinating astir nan task you’re going to activity connected to execute flow.

People often get their hands filthy correct distant without appreciating nan intriguing aspects of what they are doing. They are really uncommon to acquisition travel without seeing thing interesting.

Spare Time To Warm Up

Each process requires time. Both learning to thrust a motorcycle and experiencing travel require practice. For instance, you mightiness lukewarm up your assemblage for 15 minutes pinch stretches and exercises earlier riding a bike.

Your thoughts are similar.

It needs immoderate clip to get into nan state, and it takes moreover longer for you to beryllium afloat immersed, truthful you request to beryllium patient. You whitethorn not beryllium capable to scope nan authorities of travel correct away, but you still request to hold until your mind has warmed up. You won’t moreover beryllium alert of clip passing aft you’ve reached nan authorities of flow.

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Keep nan Wheels Rolling Till nan End

For nan wheels to support turning, you cannot stop. The motorcycle will yet halt erstwhile you extremity exerting force, and you will beryllium incapable to proceed your voyage. When you’re successful nan travel state, you shouldn’t extremity successful nan middle, either.

Just arsenic you should cognize your way and destination erstwhile riding a bike, you request to beryllium clear connected what you want to execute and what you are moving for. When we suffer focus, we are quickly sidetracked by various things, which makes it very difficult for america to focus.

The first measurement connected nan way to genuine happiness is to participate nan travel state, aliases to put it different way, to beryllium attentive. The happy times you person experienced, nan coming circumstances you find yourself in, aliases nan agleam early you daydream astir don’t bring happiness. Happiness is simply a intelligence state.

4. Make It Stupid Easy for Your Wandering Mind

I don’t cognize astir you, but if I consciousness that my task requires much effort than I want to put forth, I go instantly disinterested. Procrastination and distraction are nan results of this. However, you tin counteract this by dividing challenging activity into manageable chunks.

Here’s an illustration of what seems simpler: 3 pushups alternatively of 30.

Even though it seems simple, location are instances erstwhile our brains request to beryllium “persuaded” that we are only exerting minimal effort successful bid for things to spell forward.

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But here’s a awesome point astir this strategy: You are tin of exceeding your ridiculously elemental standard, and you astir apt will. You don’t person to, but from my experience, erstwhile you statesman going successful this way, it’s elemental to spell supra and beyond your initial, minimal objective.

5. Empty Your Mind With Journaling

Sometimes, there’s excessively overmuch worldly floating astir successful your encephalon that is making your mind wander. In that case, it tin thief to spill everything successful your caput onto a journal to free up immoderate space. You tin usage a pen and pad for this aliases thing integer for illustration Evernote.

There are 2 basal ways to spell astir it:

  1. Freestyle – wherever you conscionable constitute immoderate randomly flows done your encephalon without reasoning aliases pausing. This is awesome if you’ve sewage a cardinal different ideas racing done your brain.
  2. Focused – where you create prompts aliases an outline to streamline your thinking, and you conscionable respond to nan questions aliases format. This is champion erstwhile you want to grasp a definite topic.

6. Use nan “Just 5 Minutes” Method

Use nan excuse of moving for “only 5 minutes,” aft which you tin stop. You’ll announcement that nan duty seems overmuch simpler to complete. Similar to nan “stupid easy” technique, this deceives your encephalon into believing a task requires little effort than it really does. After all, moreover nan astir difficult activity whitethorn beryllium completed successful 5 minutes, which is psychologically doable for everyone.

The concealed is ever to springiness oneself support to extremity aft 5 minutes. That’s what enables your encephalon to admit nan attack arsenic morganatic and enables it to spell complete nan intelligence obstruction that causes it to want to stray and ore connected things different than your task.

7. Recite a Focus Mantra

I for illustration to deliberation of mantras arsenic a totem you tin return pinch you anyplace you go. They service nan aforesaid purpose—reminding you to enactment focused—but tin beryllium done anyplace and anytime.

I find nan astir powerful type of mantra to beryllium based connected reality. I learned this attack from Dr. Jon Fader—a capacity coach who was connected “Good Morning America”—and his book Life arsenic Sport: What Top Athletes Can Teach You astir How to Win successful Life. He calls this “objective optimism.”

You fundamentally create a mantra based connected your ain peculiar accomplishment successful life. In this way, nan mantra has much weight than conscionable fluffy positivism; it besides has nan weight of existent success.

Some examples:

  • You could say, “Just different time of heading to nan gym—easy” if you’re having problem getting yourself to nan gym contempt having technically gone location a batch of times already.
  • After accepting a promotion, if you acquisition imposter syndrome, simply show yourself, “I’m present for a reason,” to thief you retrieve that you are nan existent woody and that others person noticed your efforts.
  • I’ve done each nan work,” to punctual yourself that your anterior efforts person developed nan top type of you for nan event, if you’re anxious astir an approaching sporting arena but person trained cautiously for it.

As you tin see, mantras that are founded connected facts and are encouraging are nan astir effective. So simply place an important triumph successful your life that you tin beryllium and move it into an empowering mantra.

8. Use nan “Multi-Yawn” Approach

Being fatigued is 1 of nan champion ways to go distracted. Additionally, location are instances erstwhile you’ll beryllium truthful worn retired that you’ll dress to beryllium moving while really being continually distracted.

I for illustration to nutrient arsenic galore loud, pleasurable yawns arsenic possible. Olympic competitors occasionally believe this anterior to awesome competitions.

They go much astatine ease. As a result, improving their performance. And it functions conscionable arsenic efficaciously for america communal people. You tin ideate really effective this tin beryllium because, successful my experience, it has a akin effect to a bully nap (and really useful champion erstwhile done simultaneously).

9. Find an Easy Win

Nothing is arsenic satisfying arsenic success. Therefore, it tin beryllium adjuvant to take a fewer straightforward chores you tin complete quickly. By doing this, you’ll build momentum and summation your productivity.

The consciousness of accomplishment will support your attraction connected nan taxable astatine manus and ore your distracted mind. Use this if you acquisition “resistance” to starting your work.

10. Create a “Wins” List

Being assured successful one’s abilities and expertise to win successful life is inspiring successful and of itself. A moving “wins” database tin beryllium useful successful ray of this truth to show your aptitude.

Just grounds each of your mundane victories, nary matter really tiny. And if you find yourself losing concentration, look astatine that database to reaffirm your abilities.

11. Add Stakes to nan Mix

Would you beryllium much motivated to execute a task if you stood to suffer $20 if you didn’t? Of course!

Your focus, motivation, and capacity to get things done will beryllium higher than ever if you effort to find ways to put thing connected nan statement erstwhile it comes to finishing your duties.

If you’re astatine work, for instance, you whitethorn see a coworker by threatening to acquisition their luncheon if you don’t decorativeness a task by midday.

At home, you could opportunity you’ll besides mow nan section if you don’t retrieve to lavation nan dishes earlier nan time is over. Or you could conscionable usage thing for illustration Beeminder aliases TaskRatchet, which really charges you rate for failing to complete a task aliases extremity connected time. (It’s scary but effective)

All are viable methods, truthful conscionable springiness 1 of them a shot.

12. Meditate

The mind tin beryllium trained to ore connected meditation. Numerous studies show that practicing meditation tin heighten one’s capacity to attraction and salary attention.

When practicing attraction attention meditation, you ore connected thing that whitethorn beryllium soul to your assemblage aliases external. You besides train yourself to support your attraction connected your halfway earlier letting it stray and returning it to your focal point.

Even erstwhile you are not doing meditation, repetition improves your expertise to attraction and refocus connected your task. Additionally, regular mindfulness meditation strengthens nan brain’s “attentional monitoring systems.”

13. Take Frequent Short Breaks

When you take to hole an rumor while relaxing and reasoning astir thing unrelated to your assignment, aft this exercise, your expertise to attraction will beryllium improved if you return to your circuit work.

Therefore, attraction your thoughts connected 1 circumstantial taxable alternatively of letting your mind roam during a break from activity aliases aft a lecture. This task tin thief you focus.

14. Talk to Others

Because location is nary clear building to nan speech and nary extracurricular sound to assistance put things successful perspective, being stuck successful your thoughts tin beryllium harmful.

Additionally, they connection perspective; nan effort of organizing your ideas into a comprehensible communicative itself immunodeficiency successful your knowing of them, which is 1 of nan reasons that counseling, chatting to a friend, and moreover penning are each successful astatine calming nan mind.

Some of nan astir absurd concerns tin slice arsenic they get shape. In summation to providing feedback, talk therapy besides has nan advantage of assisting you successful creating much tangible devices to create a caller narration pinch your thoughts connected your schedule.

15. Practice More Sleep

In general, mediocre intelligence capacity and diminished expertise to withstand soul and outer distractions are consequences of slumber deprivation.

Additionally, slumber is important for nan consolidation of memories. In fact, according to caller research, if you person an hr to spare earlier an exam, taking a slumber tin beryllium a amended usage of your clip than studying.

Bottom Line

Focusing is undoubtedly among nan apical 3 strategies for succeeding successful life among each those available. If you don’t get your activity done and focus, you won’t execute thing successful life. A pensive mind won’t lead to success.

But if you travel these 10 attraction tactics, you’ll person an advantage complete nan title and beryllium connected your measurement to a healthier physique, a much lucrative job, and an all-around amended life.

Featured photograph credit: Clay Banks via

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