6 Foolproof Tips for Finding Focus.
Every single second, our brains take in an incredible amount of information — 11 million bits of information per second to be exact, Joseph Cardillo, Ph.D, writes in his book, Can I Have Your Attention?
How to Think Fast, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Concentration? But we actually pay attention to about 40 bits.
Which is still a lot — particularly if you’re trying to complete or even start a task.
So finding focus can seem like a farfetched feat.
Focus is a skill that we can cultivate. It’s not something that we have or we don’t have. And practice makes perfect (or at least good enough). Below are few tips on attention and focus for finding focus in our distraction laden day and age.
1. Do Creative Work First
The biggest mistake we do is, we do mindless work first and build up to the toughest tasks and this drains your energy and lowers your focus. Initially when we start something or say we sit to study our brain tends to be fresh, this is we can use in most effective way by engaging our brain into things which develop interest and all the tough tasks should be handled in this very initial phase.
“As you move down the track you are left with less energy, irrespective of the work you do”. Remember, every decision we make tires the brain.” So it’s always better to utilize accordingly. Check off the tasks that require creativity or concentration first thing in the morning, and then move on to easier work, start studying in this early phase of the day, Facebook, Wats-app and Instagram etc. can wait.
2. Allocate your time deliberately.
Attention span is the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted. Most educators and psychologists agree that the ability to focus attention on a task is crucial for the achievement of one’s goals.
With all what I have studies and learned from my experience, studying n number of people personally or through various sources I have found that human’s concentration drastically drops after 45 minutes. This means our brain can work effectively in those 45 minutes, as a result most of you must have faced problems like getting distracted by anything and almost everything after these 45 minutes.
A study has also proved this fact to be true, our brain is at its best for the first 45 minutes, but this doesn’t mean that it cannot work beyond that. This 45 minutes time is an Interval based time, which means we can utilize the best of our brain again after a small break. Remember a lecture in school or college lasts to 40-45 minutes and then comes a break.
Therefore there comes a demand for Time Allocation and that’s why this phase plays a very important role in our life, from the childhood itself we keep on listening the same thing “allocate your time, make a time table” etc
“Don’t try to work for 10 hours straight. Schedule 45 minute blocks with 15 minute breaks. Decide what you are going to accomplish during those 45 minutes, and record what you have done.”
Most people focus best in the morning or late at night, few are best at early mornings whereas many are late night readers.
Therefore the next step for you is to notice where and when you focus best, then allocate your toughest tasks for those moments and clear your head of all thoughts that are not associated with whatever you want to focus on. For example, once you are your study table, forget about everything else, no phone call no messages nothing, these will not fetch you marks.
3. Set Reminders, make them work as Trigger.
According to one study, “concentration improved when people silently repeated the names of loved ones who believed in them immediately before starting a task,” said Palladino.
Therefore, I suggest you to have a memory of past success, anything you achieved in recent past. This will feed your brain regularly with the feeling of success, the happiness you will get the moment you will succeed.
“Remind yourself specifically why it’s worth the effort you are putting in, ask yourself what if you will not achieve what you are trying so hard, why you want it. ” You might envision “your name on a mark-sheet with the marks you want to get, feeling as if you have achieved it or a football hit well enough to score a goal.” Imagine it or draw a picture to get yourself triggered every-time you see this.
4. Use motivating self-talk.
At times you may feel tired doing the same thing again and again, specially studying at a regular interval, most people tends to give up at this point. But, you need to stay determined because you want it so badly; you want to make it happen. A Ninety plus score will make all your efforts fruitful and make you forget the entire struggle you made, the problems you faced.
Tell yourself that yes you can do it, you are capable of achieving this, talk to self. You have come so far for this and now you cannot let it go. I request you all not to ask for suggestions with all those who want you to fail, and trust me you will hardly find someone who want to see you succeed. So, analyze yourself. Only you know yourself better and no one else.
5. Mind your multitasking.
Multitasking can be a brain booster while working on Boring tasks and the same can prove to have a negative effect because of brain plasticity, the ability of the brain to change physically, functionally and chemically throughout life. Brain changes with experiences.
When you’re multitasking, your brain is changing itself to favor divided attention and fragmented thought, rather than concentration and this resists distraction and rebounds from interruption.
I came across many people who claim to be a multi-tasker, they studies along with their chat on and its manageable for them as they say. But somewhere it’s scientifically not good as this distracts the brain as the attention gets divided. This results in failure of not completing any of the tasks or completion with frustration.
While multitasking is an important skill, it also has a downside. “It reduces our
Intelligence, literally dropping our IQ.
So, I want you all to give undivided attention to whatever you do because it’s all what you want and this needs your attention, undivided attention.
6. Assess yourself.
Assessment always proves to be a tool to improve something we really need to.
It’s important for us to assess and evaluate whatever we do on a regular basis, say daily basis. Many people practice this on task basis or weekly basis; it depends on person to person. I myself have suggested people to assess on a daily basis initially as this will help you evaluate better and you will be able to observe your strengths and weak points.
It involves asking yourself a series of questions that will help you in a self-scan. You need to ask these on a frequent basis depending upon the field you are involved in. Below are the questions, taken from Cardillo’s book:
- Where am I at present? (e.g., I’m at an office meeting.)
- What do I want to gain from this situation? Identify your goals in order of importance.
- What should I gain from this situation? Consider what you feel you should gain from the situation. Then examine whether this is different from your desires and how these work to modify your behaviors.
- What have I done in similar situations in the past? Identify your past actions.
- Do I want to change that? Identify any behaviors that you don’t want to repeat.
- If so, how? Identify how you can avoid these actions. Note: Any procedures you create here will, through repetition, become habit, and from there become automatic for future experiences.
- What do others expect to gain from the situation? Identify and prioritize these details.
- What attention does my environment demand from the situation? For example, I can only speak when it is my turn. I have to use professional language.
- What information that is entering my attention should be activated? For example, it may be best if I am calm at this point of a phone call or meeting and if I don’t ask questions.
- What information should be restrained? You can, for instance, hold back frustrations and irrelevant information. For example: teachers and business people may have to convey an emotion that is inconsistent to how they feel (say they are angry or on edge).
Remember that focus is a skill you foster. Try out these techniques, keep what works and keep practicing!