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What do you do to help focus yourself on a task?

Back in college, I was getting bad grades and found I couldn't focus. I picked up chess, not necessarily to help with that, but just because I enjoyed it as a child. My grades immediately went up when I began really studying chess, and while I've tried to be careful to not commit post hoc ergo propter hoc, I, to this day, still use chess puzzles as a way to amp up my brain and get myself thinking better and more focused. Do you have any tricks that you do for that purpose?

By PolyWolf7
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I take whatever task I need to do and break it into steps via writing it out. Especially if it's a big task with many moving parts.


Agree with @Chilton704, I have to break things down into small steps, and then do them one at a time.

bleurowz Level 8 Dec 26, 2018

Put headphones on and listen to jazz.

t1nick Level 8 Dec 26, 2018

I find any kind of instrumental music helps my productivity.


Adderall XR. LOL


Vyvanse, lol

I was going to say Adderal. ?

@Lutherzme I did say Adderall. LOL


I drink coffee. Stimulants tend to narrow one's mental focus, so you don't become distracted.

snytiger6 Level 9 Dec 26, 2018

I do that too, for sure. Probably a bit too much. Think I'm on my fourth, or maybe fifth, pot today.

Yep! That's how ADHD is treated. CNS stimulants, and caffeine is a stimulant!

@PolyWolf Five or six pots? Usually I stop at three cups. There was a point where I was doing aobut two pots a day when I was younger, but I hit a point that I call "coffee toxification", which is where you just dont' feel good at all because you are drinking coffee instead of eating nutritious food.

@snytiger6 I was being sarcastic. ? I do about five cups a day on a bad day. I'm not happy about that much though, trying to roll it back.


I'll take a break, shut my eyes, and clear my head...or...I'll play a quick game of spider solitaire on the computer. Probably like chess does for you, it seems to reboot me. Or, if I'm really tired, I quit and start again the next day. I also know that I'm more focused in the morning, so if it's a highly demanding level of focus needed, I try to do it in the morning.

linxminx Level 7 Dec 26, 2018

I have adopted the "NO HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS" principle. At the very moment I say I will make a call, look something up, etc.....I do it right then. Believe it or not it has helped 1000%. pisses people of for some reason. LOL....who cares. I just don't have that weighing list of things to do anymore.

Count Level 5 Dec 26, 2018

I paint and listen to music.

Paracosm Level 8 Dec 26, 2018

Break things down in small manageable tasks

IamNobody Level 8 Dec 26, 2018


jerry99 Level 8 Dec 26, 2018

Usually, if I lose focus when reading or doing other things, it is because something else is on my mind. Something that maybe I should take care of, rather than doing the activity that I'm doing. I have found that if I take care of what's most important first, I can focus better on other things.

I play competitive pool a lot (pocket billiards) and it is a game that requires intense focus to do well. When I'm playing bad, it is almost always due to something else being on my mind that breaks my focus. When this happens, I try to identify what is on my mind and then, if I can't take care of it immediately, make a mental note to deal with it later. If it's emotional, which it often is, just acknowledging the emotion is sometimes enough.

sfvpool Level 7 Dec 26, 2018

I have struggled with focus my whole life. Looking up techniques to even START a task I have found committing like 10 min at a time helped. Even if it's not your best work. And usually I'll keep going but after 30 min take a break bc I think adult mind can only really focus that long.

Jaed Level 5 Dec 26, 2018

I listen to jazz

Orbit Level 7 Dec 26, 2018

I think of this phrase: attitude determines action. Action determines accomplishment. Works for me.

Nemosson Level 6 Jan 6, 2019

I pick up some mindless knitting or crochet project at home...a few minutes seems to clear my head and free-form thinking begins to help me solve a problem or stay on task...

At work, I listen to jazz...this seems to allow my analytical brain to focus on numbers, data, stats, etc. I also get up and take a quick walk around our huge office building if I get too bogged down.


I color. Yeah, I color pictures. It's not difficult, nor time consuming, but it forces my mind to make choices and act upon those choices and also realize the consequences aren't gonna get anybody killed.

I particularly like tattoo imagery, so I color those types of pictures. The more I do, the more sure I am about the next tattoo I get.

And in turn my confidence helps my productivity in other things.

Kintaro Level 6 Dec 27, 2018

I am writing a non-fiction book and I also write code. I use noise-canceling headphones and a service called And yes I admit sometimes I will use Modafinil.

DeStijl Level 7 Dec 26, 2018

If there is work I have to do that I'm avoiding, I usually end up cleaning. It's an easy thing to do that makes me feel like I'm doing something productive. After that I usually try to minimize distractions, and just start. Take small frequent breaks if you need

I like this. I used to do it myself. I need to start again - cleaning always makes me feel better/more productive, even if it's just something small. Thanks for reminding me.


I've struggled with this for as long adadd I can remember. I graduated summa cum laude with my bachelor's in 2009, and got my master's with a GPA of 3.65 in 2011, and did all of it putting off assignments until the last minute. I still haven't found my secret. I've said repeatedly it seemed to work for me, but boy it would have been less stressful to be on top of things!!


Depends on the task. In the past I would call up (from memory) a set of songs and listen to music while working on a task.


Seek out and limit any and all distractions. When we have all the world at our finger tips its easy to loose focus.

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