Focus is a skill necessary for almost anything important in life, from finishing that term paper, to listening to your boss's instructions, to organizing your schedule for the day. Unfortunately, for many of us, focus is in short supply. It could be a natural difficulty zeroing in on the task at hand. It could be a susceptibility to distractions like listicles or social-media interactions. It could even take the form of being so overwhelmed with work that you can't focus on any one thing for a designated period of time.

Focus is difficult to master, and it may feel like it's completely out of your control, but like any skill or ability, it can be developed over time. Try using these seven exercises to gradually increase your ability to focus in almost any situation:

Find less distracting environments.
Make lists.
Memorize things.
Break things down into smaller components.
Set sprints for yourself.

Don't expect your ability to focus to turn around overnight. Only after practicing consistently will you start to see improvements, and even those will be gradual when you're first starting out. Instead of trying to find an action-reaction relationship between these exercises and measurable results, focus on making these exercises habits in your normal routine.