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Strengthening focus with Mindfulness

The blinking of the cursor on a blank page of code, the soft hum of the laptop fans, the quiet burble of faraway conversations in the building – all are easy to tune out and miss, however after a period of transition I’ve found that I was able to achieve greater focus when harnessing the power of these small, often unnoticeable events.
I often struggle with focus, this is not a new thing, or a work thing, but a ‘me’ thing. Whether I am doing chores, choosing something to watch on Netflix or trying to solve a coding problem I regularly find my mind wandering. It’s not intentional, and often it has its uses (it can be an asset when you want to be creative), but when there is work to be done it has a tendency to stifle productivity.
Working for Mayden, who do so much digital work with mental health services, has raised my awareness of some of the techniques used to nurture mental health wellbeing and most relevant for me when faced with the question of improving focus was a practice called mindfulness. Mindfulness is a technique that encourages more attention to be paid in the present moment, treating your brain like a muscle and training it as such to dial in and notice the small things such as everyday sensations, noises, sights and colours.
I decided to weaponise mindfulness in an attempt to help with my battle with focus. Now when I find my focus weakening I take 5 minutes, noticing and acknowledging things going on in my environment before returning to the task in hand with a renewed focus. The effectiveness of these focus breaks have been improving for me with more practice, and I have noticed a marked increase in the time between the breaks, which is encouraging evidence that I am holding my focus for longer and returning to my original task ready to make progress.