How to Get Your Brain to Focus | Chris Bailey | TEDxManchester - Deepstash
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Distraction is just a symptom

Distraction is just a symptom

The root cause of distraction is an overstimulated brain.

Research shows working on computer with smartphone near, we focus on one thing for only 40 seconds before getting distracted or interrupted...& with chatboxes open, it comes down to 35 seconds.

We are in a hyperstimulated state bouncing between different screens in our life - phones, tablets, computers, smartwatches.... because they are very stimulating to our mind.


551 reads

Novelty bias - the reason we can't stop checking notifications

Novelty bias - the reason we can't stop checking notifications

It becomes so easily a habit because our brain craves these distractions - it's a mechanism in our mind called the 'novelty bias'.

Research shows, that one of the pleasure neurochemicals, dopamine, is released when we stop & check emails, notifications, social media updates. That means, our mind rewards us with dopamine for seeking these distractions.


556 reads

Scatter focus to be more productive

Scatter focus to be more productive

It's not just about fewer distractions but also about the mind being less stimulated.

If we are distracted in each moment, those moments of overstimulation add up to create a life that feels overwhelming

Scatter focus - let your mind deliberately wander, get bored. Boredom is moving from high stimulation to low stimulation - doing something that doesn't take up most of our attention.

Because of where it wanders to (48% of the time towards the future as shown by research)... the mind connects different ideas & comes up with new plans - essentially makes us more effectively productive.


653 reads

Mind's perspective bias - Where does our mind like to focus?

Mind's perspective bias - Where does our mind like to focus?

Research shows, when we just let our mind wander, it goes to 3 main places: past, present, & future.

But we think of the past only 12% the time (in that too we are often recalling ideas), 28% we think of present, and thoughts of the future takes up 48% of the time. The remaining 12% occupies ideas not rooted in time.

It's called the mind's perspective bias.

That's why we usually plan out the day essentially before it even begins - "what needs to get done today?".


433 reads

Overstimulation is the enemy of focus

Overstimulation is the enemy of focus

Instead of trying to fit more in, allowing our mind space to wander and come up with ideas & plans that make us more effectively productive.

To feel the effect, try this for 2 weeks (because research shows it takes about 8 days for the mind to fully calm down & rest):

  • Limit screen time.
  • Disconnect from the internet or digital devices for a set time during the day, or a certain day of the week.
  • Rediscover boredom
  • Scatter focus - let your mind deliberately wander.


440 reads

Chris BailEY

"The state of our attention

is what determines

the state of our lives."



617 reads



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