Why Can’t I Focus?
Heat’s on, application season is coming in like a tidal wave, and you can’t focus on your essays. In fact, facing your essays is like facing yourself in the mirror with a bad haircut– you’d rather look in any other direction.
Yet it’s practically a commandment: To write requires focus. To write something as important as your college essay requires focus on yourself, the most elusive subject of them all. And it can make you feel like you have an irredeemably bad haircut.
Crap! What are you to do? The more you try to focus, the less you can, like trying to untangle a thin chain. And the more you tell yourself you just need to read or do one more thing before you get down to business, the less likely it is the writing is going to happen.
Why are we wired this way? Can we do anything about it?
Read This Sage Advice from Psychology Today
It’s easy enough to blame external things: the endless ways to seek eye-candy information and communication in a digital lifestyle. But the internet and your cell phone don’t force themselves on you: you choose to use them.
And so as we always advise (and always try to do!) at Essay Intensive, we need to look at our minds first, and the actual quality and contents of our attention and thoughts.
Here is a great article from Psychology Today that says as much: it’s about the neuroscience of distraction and how to stay focused:
But be warned: the article and advice amounts to (for those of you too distracted to read it fully): shut off everything and write first. And just write. Quiet negative thoughts by the age-old trick used in schoolyards– ignore them (“I don’t hear anything. Is that the wind?”). Plow write through them. (Typo intentional, and not a result of distraction. Even though our baby is really cute. And drooling right over there.)
We Can Do Better– Try This!
Though we laud ourselves as the smartest of species, our distractions seem to outfox our willpower– almost every time. Sad. We can do better. Set aside 15 minutes, right this minute and do the following:
- Read the linked article–understanding sometimes breeds action.
- Gather your fortitude to ignore those tempting texts, and look at your mind instead (a mere 1 minute of inward observation will show you what’s up).
- Make choices that support the college essay you want to produce (phone off, internet disabled, eyes blindfolded–maybe), and start scribbling.
Then, of course, if you’re still flipping out and aimless in your focus, contact us. We will rivet your eyes to your page and give you a piece of your mind.