focusing is a "formula"whichemptying the mindis one of its "ingredients..."
A lot of people find it hard to empty their minds and to focus. The tips I can give you are about emptying your mind and concentrating.
After trying to "empty"my mind, Irealized it wasn't possible. I was getting distracted by an erroneous, fictitious idea, and my brain couldn't understand my command.
It's like trying to "empty" a cup. IMPOSSIBLE. When you remove all the water, the cup is full of air. To get rid of the air, you might try filling the cup with sand, and then to get rid of the sand... (endless battle)
So, what worked for me, was knowing that maybe a cup cannot be "empty", but if it's full of air, it's just as good.
When I try to relax, I imagine all my stressful thoughts as a sword. I sheathe it, and lay it on the ground.
I don't ask my brain to empty itself, but rather to let go. I don't try not to think about anything. I just stop trying anything at all.
At first, like a small boat on a shore, some tides will push me back to land, but eventually I find myself in the open sea of relaxation.
Don't try anything, just stop trying. Breathing heavily helps if you can manage not to think about breathing.
For me, the point of "emptying" my mind is to get in contact with my inner self, and that involves thinking, but without interference. I "empty" the cup to fill it with something else; a perpetually "empty" cup is useless. So, if I feel relaxed, and some ideas come to me, it means I'm finally "re-filling" my cup with the good stuff.
I don't try to clear my mind like I clear my desktop, I let go of old thoughts so I can get some new ones. I need to spill the rotten milk before I fill my cup with fresh milk.
Now about the concentration.
Unfortunately, this is one of those problems that just takes practice and concentration work. Actually the memory game can help with this, and you can use two sets of runes or two weeded tarot decks with this. Yes, also you might want to try a shamanic journey using repetitive sounds either drumming, rattles or something similar to focus your mind. I find that people who have a hard time "turning off" do better with the shamanic work.
I'd recommend Michael Harner's cd's... he has an entire series dedicated to it. I have to admit, I've had the best luck with live drums, but a cd does work, too.
If you are looking for some kind of system to help with this kind of focus, Christopher Penczak's book "The Inner Temple of Witchcraft" (book one) or "The Temple of Shamanic Witchcraft" (book three). Silva has a paperback book which has an entire series on mind control, but I tend to pick and choose. The beginner excursuses in particular are useful for the problems you seem to be having. (to find this, look up Silva Mind Control in a search at Amazon.com under used books. I have no idea if this is still in print. ) Also, Kerr Chuluhain in "The Wiccan Warrior" also has some good suggestions.
Also, Aden McCoy in "Making Magick" also has good ideas for this.
Please note that I was talking about "emptying your mind" because this is one of the factors of being able to focus and to concentrate...