The Science Behind Managing Distractions and Organising Your Thoughts

distraction and focus


Concentrate. So that you may get your work done, ignore your brother. Be mindful. Do you hear me? How come you need assistance focusing on your studies yet can spend hours playing video games? Continue reading if any of this sounds familiar. These are the words that parents hear over and over. Words that, with enough repetition, we believe will bring about the required and suitable changes in behaviour.

Seeing our kids be focused one minute, and then unruly and distracted the next, is confusing. Is it the surroundings they’re in? Are there too many outside distractions? When kids work on their homework, should they be listening to music? Do they spend an excessive amount of time in front of screens? Do they not find school interesting, or is it too difficult? Research has indicated that an excessive amount of digital distraction exposure might impair one’s capacity for attention, memory, and task concentration. Is it perhaps the issue? Do they need to be evaluated for ADHD or another learning disability?

A parent of a child struggling with focus and attention has a never-ending list of questions.
Every parent wants to know how to better understand their kids and support them in managing distractions and remaining focused. Without continuous reminders and cues.

Dr. Rebecca Jackson of Brain Balance had a thought-provoking discussion with Dr. Joaquin Anguera recently to find out more about this subject. Dr. Anguera works at the Weill Institute for Neuroscience at USCF as an Associate Professor of Neurology. The talk’s objective was to provide a scientific understanding of attention science and the skills required to remain on topic and remember to turn in assignments. 

According to Dr. Anguera, some children are more easily distracted than others, and the first step in helping them get back on track is developing a better awareness of attention and distraction.

The Difference between Focus and Distraction

Two years ago, I was an entirely different person. As I matured in my academic career, I began to dream of achieving academic success that would both astonish me and others. That was only a fantasy, though, because the framework I was working inside was neither particularly noteworthy nor producing the outcomes I was hoping for. I spent endless hours watching YouTube, played a lot of video games, and quickly diverted myself anytime I felt even the tiniest bit of trouble. By no means did the framework I worked within produce the outcomes I was hoping for. My grades fell, and I began to worry that I wouldn’t pass tests. At that point, I realised I had to get my act together, so I set out to learn about Focus and how it gave top performers and students a competitive advantage.

I thus started experimenting with different productivity techniques, such as the Pomodoro technique, listening to music without interruptions, setting strict time restrictions for my gadgets, etc. Even though I no longer employ many of those techniques, the ideas have stayed with me. And that is the real distinction between distractions and focus.

Maintaining focus enables you to make connections that, in a condition of hyper-distraction, you may not have found. Furthermore, you’ll discover that you understand a subject better than people who are easily distracted.

The quality of the work you accomplish is perhaps the greatest advantage of being in a state of focus as opposed to hyper-distraction. When you are focused, you create things that look unnatural to you when you are not focused. Being in a state of focus is highly sought after since it is not only of excellent quality but also difficult to duplicate. To stand out from the crowd and provide value to the world, you must produce high-quality, difficult-to-replicate work that challenges the limits of your cognitive capacity.

Your mind is divided into several sections when functioning, as opposed to when you are distracted. Imagine that you are reading a book, and every time you finish a word, you have to quickly turn to the next one. Most individuals go about their business in this manner. When there’s a suggestion of trouble, they go to another job. Persistence is the real distinction between distraction and focus. The kind of work you do will determine how long you can persevere.

Understanding Cognitive Control

Three components comprise cognitive control: working memory, goal management (cognitive flexibility), and attention. Consequently, each component of cognitive control must be considered when analysing how our children pay attention or avoid becoming distracted—they all interact and build upon one another. Although memory and attention are notions that most people understand, goal management can be an additional level of cognitive control you haven’t yet thought about for your child.

Controlled and automatic cognitive control processes are usually combined into one category. Consciously recruited, controlled processes are slower than uncontrolled ones. Relatively quick, automatic methods are enlisted unconsciously. Working memory is often required for control operations, but working memory is not needed for automated processes, which use long-term memory directly. Students frequently begin depending on controlled processes when learning a new activity, but as they gain experience and time, they begin to rely more on automatic processes. Even though automated and regulated processes are normally contrasted, they can happen together and enhance one another.


This is our ability to stay focused on a certain task. As a result, whether your child sits down to accomplish their homework or attempts to progress in the newest video game, they must give that endeavour appropriate and purposeful attention. This is the part that most upsets us as parents. That is the inconsistency. Our kids will play video games for hours on end and lose focus on their early morning schoolwork.

Working Memory

This is our ability to recall what we just saw or heard. It entails precisely repeating what was just said or summarising a section or chapter of a book. It demonstrates our level of comprehension of what is happening in front of us. It answers questions beyond merely “Did you hear me?” It asks, “Did you hear?” in response. The short-term mental manipulation and retention of information is referred to as working memory.

Goal Management

Managing your goals means focusing your attention and efforts to get the desired outcome. It necessitates alternating between concentrated work and other activities, as well as understanding when to return to the initial job. As adults, we can switch with little to no effort at all. However, we frequently forget that our children need to learn and practice this skill. Take a moment to consider the most recent homework assignment your child neglected to turn in. It is really annoying. You both made an enormous effort to stay focused, stay on target, and finish the assignment, and you both went to bed feeling proud of yourself and your child for achieving your goals. However, he neglected to turn in the homework.

Look at each of these components; there’s a reason these are called building blocks. They’re not by themselves. Instead, they start with attention and support each other. Let’s get back to the homework assignment for a minute. To achieve that, we need to go back to the classroom. The content that was covered in class that day provides the basis for the homework assignment. Your child won’t only forget the assignment if they don’t pay attention in class; they won’t even be able to remember the lecture. Therefore, working memory is useless without the proper attention.

Let’s say, then, that she manages to go home with the project in hand, notes reminding her of the steps required to do it, and the improved understanding necessary to finish it correctly. However, your daughter has other plans. She can talk to friends, browse social media, and watch her favourite show. Important duties take precedence over others, and since she is unable to switch between them, problems at school are imminent.

Short-term solution At-Home

I know now what you could be thinking: “There are just too many potential problems and things to worry about. How am I supposed to remember all of that to provide for my child? But don’t worry, Dr. Anguera provides us with some important travel resources so you are informed and ready for the journey. Remind yourself always that our kids are lifelong learners. As they develop and get smarter, they should ideally constantly need our help in one way or another. Here are three things you can do right now to help your child use the science of greater attention to succeed and enjoy life more.

Reduce interruptions

It is unique to every one of us what causes us to become distracted. Our children are not any different. To find out if they require complete silence, calming music, an empty room, or an area with mentally stimulating objects, you will have to do some experimentation. When concentrated, some children lose track of time; others need to be timed. The objective remains the same regardless of the rhythm: to reduce distractions, not just by learning how to focus but also by identifying and avoiding distractions. You might need to try a few different things as a parent and find what works. But once you’ve found it, don’t give up.

Goal setup

As parents, it is so easy to set the rules, the goals, and all the tasks in between to accomplish what you, the parent, deem necessary and important. This makes it easy for us to forget that our kids have goals too. How often does your child have your undivided attention when they tell you about their day? Then your phone lit up with an email. You looked at your phone and completely lost track of what your child told you. This is a goal misalignment. Your child had one goal, and you had another.

We must come to an agreement on objectives as we instruct our kids in the art and science of attention. Yes, your child has to accomplish their chores and homework after school. However, they also have video games, pals, and favourite television shows. To prepare your child for success, talk to them about these objectives and together come up with a plan on how to accomplish them. When they finish their schoolwork, they may, for instance, watch TV or talk with friends—your aim. When your child engages in goal-directed behaviors, you both will accomplish greater outcomes. Focusing will be simpler if objectives are discussed and agreed upon.

Divert Attention

Now, as if by magic, all outside distractions have vanished, and your youngster is incredibly focused and happy on every assignment. Correct? False. As both you and I are aware, diversions do occur. They are all around us in the world. My wife is preparing breakfast, and the emails that keep popping up on my phone are keeping me from finishing this as I write. In addition to assisting them in setting objectives and reducing distractions, we also need to assist them in redirecting their attention when they become diverted. Many of which are uncontrollable. For instance, we live beneath the hospital’s life flight route in our neighbourhood. Several times a day, extremely rapid, low-flying helicopters may be heard shaking our house. It is really irritating. We catch it, feel it for a moment, and then return our attention to our original task. However, we still need to recall and redirect; it’s not automated. Calling your child’s attention to their lack of concentration can help them become more conscious of where their attention is going, and misdirected focus can cause chores and homework to take longer than they should.

Long-Term treatment

All of this seems very easy, doesn’t it? Maybe. You may give them a try and find a recipe that works well for helping youngsters shut out distractions. Great if that’s the case! To be a part of that journey makes us very happy. However, Brain Balance is available to assist other families who have tried these and other suggestions and still discover that their child struggles to focus on crucial activities and filter out distractions.

Research Verifies Brain Balance's Beneficial Effects

Studies have shown that problems focusing or blocking out distractions are correlated with poor connections or information flow between different parts of the brain. The good news is that there’s a chance these brain connections can change and adapt to lessen these symptoms. 

According to Harvard research, the non-drug cognitive training programme offered by Brain Balance dramatically lowers ADHD index scores, as well as improvements in hyperactivity, improved cognitive focus, and decreased oppositional behaviour. Comparable outcomes to those of a low-dose medication frequently used to treat ADHD symptoms were found in the study.

Combining physical, sensory, and cognitive activities, Brain Balance workouts and activities are specifically created to help strengthen and create new pathways. Improved executive functioning (behaviours, emotions, organisation, self-motivation, and problem-solving) and cognitive activities (attention, memory, learning, understanding, and reasoning) can be achieved through more effective information pathways in the brain.


Parents and children must comprehend the science underlying controlling distractions and constructing thinking. Through the distinctness of focus from distraction, the conception of cognitive control, and the application of policies like break minimization, goal-setting, and attention redirection, people can increase their dimensions of concentration and attain enhanced outcomes in diverse domains. Although there are short-term treatments that may need trial and error to determine which is most beneficial for each individual, long-term measures like Brain Balance programmes appear promising in terms of enhancing memory, attention, and cognitive function. By equipping kids with the necessary knowledge and abilities to manage distractions, parents may support their development both personally and academically.


Q: What are some short-term solutions for managing distractions?

A: Short-term fixes might involve trying out various strategies including minimising distractions, imposing stringent device time limits, and locating concentration-enhancing settings.

Q: How can parents help their children set and achieve goals?

A: Parents should support their children in setting and achieving goals by discussing aims and goals to their children, setting up goals with their child’s interests and priorities, and give inspiration, motivation and guidance all through the process.

Q: What is brain balance, and how can it help children struggling with focus and attention?

A: Brain Balance provides drug-free cognitive training programmes that shape new and stronger mental bonding. Brain Balance attempts to increase executive functioning and cognitive capacities, resulting in improved attention, memory, and learning outcomes, by mixing physical, sensory, and cognitive exercises.

5 thoughts on “The Science Behind Managing Distractions and Organising Your Thoughts”

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