Have you been in a situation recently that had you struggling to focus? I’m talking about those moments where your attention span grows smaller and smaller when the conversation/presentation seems to get longer and longer. Here’s some things I do to give myself a little mental break without being rude.
1. “Keep a song in your heart”, as my mother says. I usually keep a good gospel or catchy song in my head. Something like “This Little Light of Mine” or “Push It” (don’t judge me) will usually do the trick.
2. Writing on something unrelated helps me refocus. I’ll usually write ideas for the blog or a few lines of poetry to give my brain a break. On an average day my attention span is great, but if the environment is too bright, too noisy, or chaotic, my mind seems to drift away easily.
3. Try to build a connection with the topic presented to something else. I’ve been known to make random food connections to topics in education. For some reason the classroom environment directly correlates to pizza and I’ve even used my favorite chip flavors as names for my small groups. Whatever floats your boat!
4. What if there’s a pop quiz? I don’t think this actually happens in adult world, but I’m sure someone will ask for your input, challenge you to a rebuttal, of simply ask, “What do you think?”. Stay on your p’s and q’s so you don’t have to ask them to repeat what they said because nobody likes repeating themselves if it’s something important and they’ll be able to tell you checked out.
6. Relax. If somehow the above statements did not work for you or do not apply, take the situation as some down time in your day. Maybe you’re meeting about something you have already heard or maybe there’s a video that you must see. Enjoy the time while you can.