Man, I just can’t focus right now…

After I blogged about Power Naps and the Art Of Sleeping To Be Productive I would like to shift to the next important domain in everyone’s daily life. In order to be productive one has to stay focused. We are going to discover how you can be as concentrated as possible – to achieve your goals. But pay attention – being focused means much more than that…

 Focus-mindmap-for-web

What to do if your mind refuses to work?

Pay attention. Be focused. Concentrate.

For all of us at least some of these words remind us on that certain situation when your brain wants to do everything but not the task. Personally I get this one feeling astonishing fast when I am totally lost with a task or challenge – because I simply can’t concentrate. I bet you all know this situation. But how can we overcome that moment? Look what I found when I was looking for the answer – a guy like who is having the same problem:

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“It looks like my brain is not used to think anymore.” – DeusExMachina

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Reading through the comments I already got a few possible solutions for our little problem. Lionhearted throws some really good checklist in. Let us take that list of questions as foundation to the “natural approach” to concentration. By natural approach I mean things that obviously are natural to be done when we are hunting our flow of focus.

How many students endanger themselves…

Of course there is another approach to the “tunnel of focus”. It occurs to be obvious especially if we consider the following quotation:

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“Paying attention, for long periods of time, is a form of endurance athleticism” – livehacker.com

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It is offered that concentration “requires practice and training to get the most out of it”. Though, as I am a young student who, from time to time, is confronted with a lot of work, tasks and stress, and who is clueless about all these dangers out there, one thing rapidly pops up in my mind:

Marylin Wedge

Marylin Wedge

“What about doping!? “ Marilyn Wedge warns in her really interesting post “How to focus like a laser” about the abuse of medical substances to be “hyperfocussed”.

More and more students tend to abuse e.g. ADHD medications like it were vitamins according to Marilyn Wedge, Ph.D., author and family therapist.

Always remember, drugs are drugs – not medicine or your way to unleash your true performance – check out outrageous happenings in the US military! Doping yourself can’t be the right approach, so let’s look for other ways…

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What about classical music to set up a friendly environment?

Creating a proactive atmosphere is one of the main goals if you want to focus on your work. Before you start a new task finish your last one. If you can afford it, put away your mobile phone, try to encapsulate yourself from everything that is consuming your focus. A great challenge in the days of all those distractions on the web. Depending on your profession try to abandon facebook, your mails, the latest news or listening to music, which depending on the task and your personality can be detrimental, claims Aneeli B. Haake, PhD in “the experience of music in the office”. People in business even agree on “focus hours” – a period of time when everyone around you, including yourself, quit every sort of conversation – if it is possible in your business. Therefore, setting up a friendly environment sounds good – adding music could be a bad idea.

Dr. Larry Rosen

Dr. Larry Rosen

Is technology generally distracting us?

Undoubtedly, there are several partially contra dictionary professional opinions on what is distracting and what could help you to focus. It is undoubtful that today’s digital technologies do more to distract students than to help them academically, maintains a research of Dr. Larry Rosen.

He clarifies that especially the young generation suffers from only short attention span party only up to 3 minutes! Dr. Rosen furthermore states that many students have the need of checking their social network at least once per 15min – which leads, as has been proven, to a lower grade-point average! What is even more shocking: If they were not allowed to check e.g. their facebook it caused anxiety, which is undeniable contra productive and inhibiting learning.

What are the things we should keep an eye on?

So generally speaking there are 3 main things that give foundation for working focussed:

  1. Your approach to it: make sure you are physically able to get down to your task: Enough sleep, a balanced life, the right mood, food and accommodation, perhaps no drugs 😉
  2. The right environment: keep away everything that might distract you (music, media etc.)
  3. Know what you are aiming for: Ensure that you know your target, working on a task and accomplishing your “mission” gives positive feelings, as soon as finished: award yourself something desirable

So far you managed it to keep your attention on reading that long post, who did you process that? What about sharing your secret in staying focussed?

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