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8 Ways To Improve Your Focus

Grab Some Coffee

It helps you focus on the day.  While caffeine doesn’t improve learning or memory performance, Astrid Nehlig found it does increase physiological arousal, which makes you less apt to be distracted and better able to pay attention during a demanding task.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

8 Ways To Improve Your Focus

8 Ways To Improve Your Focus

https://www.fastcompany.com/3050123/8-ways-to-improve-your-focus

fastcompany.com

8

Key Ideas

Prepare Your Brain

Take a minute or two to sit in a comfortable position and breathe deeply into your stomach.

Let your body calm down before you approach your work. You’ll find it really helps you concentrate.

Where Your Focus Needs To Be

Take the time to identify what deserves your focus for the year, for the month, for the week, and for the day. Then look at your calendar and block time dedicated to focus.

Unplug For 30 Minutes

If you need to focus, log out of email and social media. Log out for 30 minutes either at the beginning of the day or for a period in the afternoon. You won’t believe how much you can get done when you’re not always interrupting yourself to return emails.

Grab Some Coffee

It helps you focus on the day.  While caffeine doesn’t improve learning or memory performance, Astrid Nehlig found it does increase physiological arousal, which makes you less apt to be distracted and better able to pay attention during a demanding task.

Check the Thermostat

If it’s too hot or too cool in your work environment, it could impact your focus. 

study from Cornell University found that workers are most productive and make fewer errors in an environment that is somewhere between 68 and 77 degrees. 

Turn On Some Music

Too much background noise can be very distracting. According to some studies, having music playing helps you focus on your own thoughts. The catch? You have to like the song.

Take Short Breaks

study found that participants who were given short breaks during a 50-minute task performed better than those who worked straight through.

The study examines a phenomenon called “vigilance decrement,” or losing focus over time. Taking a short break in the middle of a long task reenergizes the brain.

Doodle

If you’re sitting in on a long meeting or conference, improve your focus–and your artistic skills–by doodling.

Doodling aids in cognitive performance and recollection.

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Practice Slow Work

When we react to every little thing that comes up at work, we lose focus and attention.

Counter this by scheduling extra time to complete a task, engaging in single-tasking, and set...

Develop a Stress Management System

Stress is unavoidable, but we can create systems to decrease its influence over our capacity to work. These systems vary from person to person but they often include meditation, aerobic exercise (i.e. running, cycling, walking), surrounding yourself in nature, and eating healthfully.

When you know an upcoming project will generate stress, anticipate scheduling periods into your work plan to participate in the stress management activities that work for you.

Seek To Explain

Memorization doesn’t necessarily mean learning. The test for whether you understand a subject or not is the capacity you have to explain your subject or argument. 

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Listen to Learn, Not to Be Polite

Listen from a place of curiosity, not generosity. True dialogue does not happen when we pretend to listen, and it certainly cannot happen if we are not listening at all.

If you ev...

Quiet Your Agenda

Really listen to what someone else is trying to say.

We need information that is disconfirming, not confirming.

Ask More Questions

Ask more questions than you give answers.

When you ask questions, you create a safe space for other people to give you an unvarnished truth.

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Why You Should Take Breaks
Why You Should Take Breaks
  • “Movement breaks” are essential for your physical and emotional health. A 5-minute walkabout break every hour can improve your health and well-being.
  • Breaks can prevent ...
When Not to Take a Break

When you are in a state of “flow” it is not good to take a break.

“Flow” is characterized by complete absorption in the task, seemingly effortless concentration, and pleasure in the task itself.

Good Breaks

A “good break” will give that goal-oriented Prefrontal Cortex of yours a good rest by switching brain activity to another area.

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Work in chunks

Our brain focuses best in short spurts, so dedicating 25 minutes to one activity, taking a five-minute break, and then resuming that activity or switching to another activity for another 25 minu...

How Memories are Formed
  1. Create a memory. Our brain sends signals in a particular pattern associated with the event we're experiencing and creates connections between our neurons, called s...
Effective Ways to Improve Your Memory
  • Meditate to improve working memory. Take a pause to empty your mind and to reduce stress.
  • Although still debatable, drink coffee to help improve memory consolidation.
  • Eat berries for better long-term memory. Berries contain flavanoids,  which appear to strengthen connections in the brain.
  • Exercise not only to improve memory recall, but also to enhance cognitive abilities.
  • Chew gum to make stronger memories. It is proven that it increases activity in the hippocampus. It also increases heart rate which causes more blood to flow in the brain.
  • Sleep more to consolidate and easily remember memories.
William James

“Wisdom is the art of knowing what to overlook.”

William James
The 2 kinds of distractions
  • Sensory distractions (External): The things happening around us, like colleagues talking, phones ringing, people moving around us, music playing, etc.
  • Emotional distractions (Internal): The thoughts that make our attention drift from what we’re doing. For example, remembering a phone call you need to make or thinking about a future meeting.
Daniel Goleman
Daniel Goleman

“It’s not the chatter of people around us that is the most powerful distractor, but rather the chatter of our own minds.”

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Break Up The Tedious Tasks.

Boring tasks lead to distraction and procrastination and enduring them exacerbates the problem. By taking frequent breaks and doing physical activity, gives you the energy you need to mai...

Fidget To Help You Focus

Trying to focus on something without moving tires the mind. In general, releasing excess energy throughout the day will help you stay on task.

When you need to pay attention during a call or meeting, bring a small object that you can play with, such as putty. Handling something that you can manipulate mindlessly while you listen frees up your mental energy so you can better focus.

Visually Map Your Time And Tasks
Map your day by the hour and review it throughout the day to help you organize your time. That visual cue will help you pace your day and budget your time appropriately. To do that:
  • Use free hours effectively by ranking your task list visually.
  • Try color coding your list according to priority, with four or five levels of urgency.
  • Do the essential, time-sensitive tasks early in the week while you're fresh, then save the optional ones for later.

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Breaks keep us from getting bored

The human brain just wasn’t built for the extended focus we ask of it these days.

The fix for this unfocused condition is simple—all we need is a brief interruption (aka a break) to ge...

Breaks and brain connections

Our brains have two modes:

  • focused mode, which we use when we’re doing things like learning something new, writing or working) and 
  • diffuse mode, which is our more relaxed, daydreamy mode when we’re not thinking so hard.

The mind solves its stickiest problems while daydreaming—something you may have experienced while driving or taking a shower.

Breaks help us reevaluate our goals

When you work on a task continuously, it’s easy to lose focus and get lost in the weeds. In contrast, following a brief intermission, picking up where you left off forces you to take a few seconds to think globally about what you’re ultimately trying to achieve. 

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Memorizing new material

When we try to memorize new information, we assume that the more work we put in, the better we will do.

But, our memory for new information is the most fragile just after it has first been en...

Take some downtime

Aiming for minimal interference - to do literally nothing - is the best way to consolidate the facts and remember it better.

Research found that short periods of rest increased the ability to recall information up to 30 % in healthy individuals. For people with neurological injury, such as a stroke, the ability to recall after some rest, places them almost within the range of healthy people.

We remember better after rest

When memories are initially encoded, they pass through a period of consolidation that cements them in long-term storage.

It was once thought to happen mostly during sleep; studies have found that it is not limited to sleep, because it happens during periods of wakeful rest, too.

Scientific Backed Ways To Learn Better
Scientific Backed Ways To Learn Better
  1. Learn faster and retain more by imagining that you have to teach someone else what you are learning
  2. Sleeping between two learning sessions greatly improves retenti...