It took me a whole class period to write that one sentence. Ninety minutes to get out thirty-eight words.
The lack of progress occurs because high school is a breeding ground for distractions. Distractions are abundant everywhere, but school traps them all into one cramped location. There’s a lot of information being transferred and distractions include other students, teachers, noise of other classrooms, phones...the list goes on.
Currently, I’m switching between the four tabs I have open on my desktop: music playing in one, a review for an upcoming test in another, and a research tab. A couple of these distractions are self made; do I really need to be playing music and doing two assignments at the same time? Other distractions are a bit out of my control; no one can control high schoolers and their need to be a distraction to others and themselves.
But there are steps anyone can take to improve focus. Exercise, sleep, and a healthy diet are the most important and easiest to change. Exercise makes endorphins which betters memory and focus, everyone knows the havoc sleep deprivation wrecks on the mind, and an empty stomach eats away at your focus while you’re trying to do work. Breathing techniques are one method you can use if you found yourself drifting. Slow breathing as you think about your task.
Over the course of this article, I have gotten distracted by no less than six things. A teacher talking to a student, two students chatting with each other instead of doing their work, a student asking me a question, my nails having dirt underneath them, something being thrown across the room, and a really good song coming up on my playlist.
The brain is truly exceptional, responsible for the many tasks of running a body and everything that comes with it, but the mind is less able to multitask like the brain. The mind is much easier to distract from its task, with a new thought each second and so much sensory input to process. Productivity is much higher without a distracted mind, so even if you need a quick break to get back to full focus, that’s preferable to forcing yourself to continue with half a mind. Your mind is valuable; if you take care of it, it will take care of you.