Try This Tip to Regain Focus When Your Mind Starts to Wander

Increased productivity starts with giving yourself permission to veer off course.

MinDof / Shutterstock
MinDof / Shutterstock

It’s human nature for our minds to wander from time to time. In fact, yours could be wandering right now. You could be thinking about what you ate for lunch and what you “should” have eaten. You could be worrying about unpaid bills, an unfinished writing project, or a promised deadline to your publisher.

Take a minute and give your mind full permission to wander. Notice where it goes without trying to change anything. This counterintuitive strategy is much like leaning into a curve when riding a motorcycle — even though your thoughts might try to get you to lean the opposite way. This practice can actually relax the mind because we’re leaning in by noticing, not struggling to make something happen.

Like Grand Central Station, wandering minds have so many thoughts coming and going they prevent us from being fully present during our writing moments and from pausing and catching our breath. Studies show when we stray, we pay — we’re more stressed-out and unhappy when our minds wander than when we stay in the here and now. We’re happier no matter what we’re doing — even working overtime, vacuuming, or stuck in traffic — if we’re focused on the activity instead of thinking about something else.

Today’s Takeaway

Pay attention and fully engage in each moment to keep your mind relaxed and alert at the same time; your writing will take on a fresh glow plus well-being and productivity will soar.

Excerpt from Daily Writing Resilience by Bryan E. Robinson, PhD, with permission from the author and publisher.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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