How to focus the brain anytime
Our brain has given us humans the ultimate power as a species. It has enables the Romans to build the city of rome which was the greatest city in the world for two centuries.
The Super Brain
It is very interesting to know that the ancient Egyptians once thought that the heart is the organ that makes us think. To them, it is the pure essence of life as well as the source of good and evil thoughts. But as we became more civilized, soon enough the scientific revolution especially here in the west was able to prove that the brain indeed is the main engine and the thinker.
Then science became focused and obsessed with the brain, and tried to map out the essence of conscious and the unconscious. It is an exciting era for learning and getting information about the mystery and the power of the mind. The brain truly is amazing, our mind has the capacity to ponder the infinite and allows us to become our own Gods within ourselves and project our destiny through the power of thought. That in itself is an amazing revelation in the history of human consciousness.
So lets begin by analyzing and looking at what this powerful human brain is consist of. Our brain is a connection of billion of neurons and synapses that connect and bridge together. It is one very powerful living supercomputer. There will be nothing in the universe past or future that can surpass the magnitude of the capacity and extent of the power of our brain.
It’s something that it is actually hard to fathom how a 2lbs size sticky and mushy slob can hold so much complexity and intelligence, that even with today’s technology we still cannot exactly duplicate. We can never clone the pure knowledge of the mind which enables us to transcend intelligence, creativity and productivity to the outside world.
Our brain is one powerful computer that is able to do and analyze multiple calculations and arithmetics at once. It has social and emotional intelligence that is able to calibrate facial expressions and social circumstances and therefore analyze emotions and feelings (at once) at any given time. The brain does this through a mixture of analytics and processes that connects synapses and neurons with the help of various hormones called neurotransmitters circulating within the body.
Lets look at a baby’s brain, since that is how it all begins. A baby’s brain is a mystery whose secrets scientists are just beginning to unravel. It begins in the mother tummy, only four weeks into gestation the first brain cells, the neurons, are already forming and multiplying at a very fast rate. During this time there will be billions and billions of neurons and synapses that builds billions of connections between cells.
Every cell is precisely linked between neurons and synapses that are encoded in circuits. These circuits is the beginning of what will processes the information, feelings and intelligence that makes up our adult brain in this present moment. These connections is what enable us to perceive and read someone’s facial expression or body language. It allows us to solve arithmetic formulas or formulate creative project. It enables us to grieve, become empathetic to other people’s feeling and to fall in and out of love.
Vision allows us to look at the world in full colors of the spectrum. It is what connects us to the physical world and shapes our introspective connection with our surroundings. The human eye is one amazing work of art, it is made up of some of the most amazing tissues within the human anatomy.. The lens in our eyes is capable of being able to focus on multiple amounts of data at any given moment.. Our visual cortex continue to develop over time an adapts to various stimulations that we encounter in our lifetime.
The process of us being able to see begins with the presence of light, this light then forms the image that is projected to the retina, and a message or an impulse would then be transmitted to the brain, which processes the information and perceive the “object” as a visual perception telling us that the “object” is real and what it is, which is processed by the brain..
Fast forward to our adult life, we use our senses a lot, as a matter of fact we use it way too much that it has become quite unproductive. Lets face it, with everything going on with our lives, we are always prone to doing everything at the same time or “multi-tasking”. Throughout my adult life, it always seemed as though I was always behind on everything that I do. I always felt that there is not enough “time” in a day to do everything.
Society has always thought and expected us to do a hundred things on the computer at once, with the radio and television on in the background while we are talking with a co-worker while texting a friend all at the same time. Obviously we know that we are doing multiple things at once in our subconscious, yet we are not fully aware of IT consciously. We know that we are doing multiple things at once, yet we do not acknowledge it, and that is a big problem.
I find it interesting that we sometimes feel quite unproductive if we are not multitasking. It seems like our mind automatically thinks that it is necessary to do everything at the same time. We know it’s bad, but the conscious perception still makes us think that what we are doing is actually productive even though it is doing quite the opposite. This is because our society sees a person that has multiple tasks and projects going on as someone that is important to society. Obviously, this cannot always be true since the true essence of productivity is within the results.
We have all unconsciously made multitasking a daily part of our everyday life, especially here in the US. Multi-tasking is no longer about being productive it has become a way of living. It’s not necessarily the most effective way of working either. Other people have been multitasking all their lives, to a point in which they have a hard time having to focus on one tasks and starts to get anxious and fidgety.
Contrary to what we actually think, Multi-tasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears for each new task, and the switch back again. The ability of the brain to be able to switch from one task to the other takes time and effort. And during this process, the brain has already lost it’s “focus ability” on the task at hand. The brain would then need to calibrate to the change in task or goal and get back into the focus mode. And this takes time and causes more errors which in turn results in actually lower productivity
Multitasking usually results in errors and mistakes. The reason why multitasking does not always work is because our brains can really only handle one thing at a time, and so we get so used to switching between one thing and another with our brains that we program them to have a short attention span. This is why it’s so hard to learn to focus on one thing at a time again.
Therefore, we need to prioritize and Isolate are tasks and do it one at a time. We need to be fully focus and emerged ourselves into one particular tasks and finish and do it. We need to motivate ourselves to be able to finish an entire task at hand. We need to find an incentive after accomplishing a certain goal is quite very important. Knowing that their is a rewards at the end of the tunnel is a big motivation for anyone.
One of the best thing, I found out that worked really great for me was to become obsessed and be very passionate about what I am doing. I had to reframe myself and my mind to love and be obsessed about what I am doing. Obsession can sometimes be the key your focus. It’s easier to achieve a certain goal by focusing on that particular goal with a very strong intent and a purpose.
An easy way to have a really strong focus is by being obsessed on the job at hand. The state of your obsession should be very strong. It needs focus and obsession. Same thing when you were very obsessed with the girl that you had a crush on in 7th grade. This obsession causes you to think about your project day and night and even when you are doing something that is totally different from what you are doing.
A really good way for me to master and focus on my work is through habits. Make your task a habit from the beginning. Habits is important. It is important to build rituals into your everyday life, in order to assure that I get to the things that are most important to me — and that I don’t get derailed by the endlessly alluring trivia of everyday life. Its normal not to be able to focus on a task for long periods of time.
Clear the clutter from your life (both physical and mental.) When we are clutter free, we can Find Peace and Balance
It’s hard to feel calm when physical and mental clutter are overwhelming. Start clearing away stuff and make room for peace.
It’s important to start small. You only need to focus for just one minute at first. Clear everything away, pick your one important task, and just do it for one minute without switching. This is hard to do in the beginning but if you consciously focus on focusing, you can do it. It’s just a minute.
This is a life lived fully in the moment, with a dedication to doing the best you can in anything you do
Life can sometimes be a paradox. There is this thing that is cold that is so Riley paradox which is a situation in which in Israel there is data that shows it is marked the one of the lowest cholesterols levels in the best the Western world but apparently it also has the highest rates of my cardio infarction and obesity. The reason for this is that due to religious forbidden’s and consumption of meat and milk products in the same meal therefore a lot of Israelis exclude butter and use vegetable margarita margarines which is rich in omega six which is really bad for you this causes danger in the body since Omega sixes really bed then which causes the highest rate of heart attacks.
(mine) Everyone needs some kind of motivation at some point in their lives. One of the biggest challenges in meeting any goal, whether it be related to productivity, waking early, changing a habit, exercising, or just becoming happier, is finding the right motivation to stick with it. If you can stick with a goal for long enough, you’ll almost always get there eventually. It just takes patience, and motivation. Motivation is the key, but it’s not always easy, day in and day out, to find that motivation. What follows is a guide to motivation using what I’ve learned over the last few years in a series of successful accomplishments, goals and habit changes. I’ve had many failures, but also many successes, and I’ve learned a lot from all of them. Motivation has been a particularly important topic of exploration for me.
It is important to know what motivation is (mine). Motivation is what drives you toward a goal, what keeps you going when things get tough, the reason you get up early to exercise or work late to finish a project. There are all kinds of motivations, of course, from positive to negative. Having a boss threaten to fire you is motivation — you’ll likely work harder to complete a project with that kind of pressure. But I find that positive motivation works better — if it’s something you really want to do, you’ll do a much better job than to avoid something you don’t want (such as being fired).
So motivation, in its best form, is a way for you to want to do something. There may be times, for example, when you don’t feel like getting up early, and in those times you may seriously just want to sleep in (not that there’s anything wrong with that). But if you have a reason to want to get up early, something you really really want to do, you’ll jump up out of bed with excitement.
The best motivation, then, is a way for you to really want something, to get excited about it, to be passionate about it. Remember that, as there are many other types of motivation (especially negative), but in my experience, this is the kind that works the best.
There is only so long that you can go trying to motivate yourself to do something you don’t like to do, something you don’t want to do. But if you find ways to really want to do something, you can sustain your effort for much, much longer.
There are plenty of ways in which you can motivate yourself to. You can begin by having One goal. Too many people start with too many goals at once, and try to do too much. And it saps energy and motivation. It’s probably the most common mistake that people make. You cannot maintain energy and focus (the two most important things in accomplishing a goal) if you are trying to do two or more goals at once. It’s not possible Get excited.
Many of us grew up in the age of multi-tasking, where you couldn’t call yourself productive if you weren’t a good multi-tasker. We learned to always have several balls in the air at once — while writing something on the computer, we had a phone call going, we were writing something on a notepad or paper form, we were reviewing documents, sometimes even holding a meeting at the same time. That’s the productive worker, the effective executive.
When email and Instant Messaging and blogs and the rest of the Internet came along, multi-tasking went haywire. Now we’re expected to do 10 things on the computer at once, still with the paper, phone, and meetings going, along with texting and Blackberry Messaging. Multi-tasking is no longer about being productive — it’s a way of living.
It’s not a sane way of living, however, and it’s not necessarily the most effective way of working either. A few notes on why:
Multi-tasking is less efficient, due to the need to switch gears for each new task, and the switch back again.
Multi-tasking is more complicated, and thus more prone to stress and errors.
Multi-tasking can be crazy, and in this already chaotic world, we need to reign in the terror and find a little oasis of sanity and calm.
Our brains can really only handle one thing at a time, and so we get so used to switching between one thing and another with our brains that we program them to have a short attention span. This is why it’s so hard to learn to focus on one thing at a time again.
A single-tasking life
Imagine instead, a single-tasking life. Imagine waking and going for a run, as if running were all you do. Nothing else is on your mind but the run, and you do it to the very best of your abilities. Then you eat, enjoying every flavorful bite of your fresh breakfast of whole, unprocessed foods. You read a novel, as if nothing else in the world existed. You do your work, one task at a time, each task done with full focus and dedication. You spend time with loved ones, as if nothing else existed.
This is summed up very well by something Charles Dickens once wrote, “He did each single thing as if he did nothing else.” This is a life lived fully in the moment, with a dedication to doing the best you can in anything you do — whether that’s a work project or making green tea.
If you live your life this way, by this single principle, it will have tremendous effects:
Your work will become more focused.
You will become more effective at your work.
You’ll become better at anything you do.
Your time alone will be of better quality.
Your time with your family will be much more meaningful.
Your reading will have less distractions.
You’ll lose yourself in anything you deem worthy enough of your time and attention.
How to live a single-tasking life
It sounds nice, but how do you live a life like this? Is it as simple as saying you’re going to do it, or is it impossible? Somewhere in between, of course, and like anything worth doing, it takes practice.
Here’s what I’d recommend:
- Become conscious. When you start doing something, become more aware you’re starting that activity. As you do it, become aware of really doing it, and of the urge to switch to something else. Paying attention is the important first step.
- Clear distractions. If you’re going to read, clear everything else away, so you have nothing but you and the book. If you’re going to do email, close every other program and all browser tabs except the email tab, and just do that. If you’re going to do a work task, have nothing else open, and turn off the phone. If you’re going to eat, put away the computer and other devices and shut off the television.
- Choose wisely. Don’t just start doing something. Give it some thought — do you really want to turn on the TV? Do you really want to do email right now? Is this the most important work task you can be doing?
- Really pour yourself into it. If you’re going to make tea, do it with complete focus, complete dedication. Put everything you have into that activity. If you’re going to have a conversation, really listen, really be present. If you’re going to make your bed, do it with complete attention and to the best of your abilities.
- Practice. This isn’t something you’ll learn to do overnight. You can start right now, but you’re not likely to be good at it at first. Keep at it. Practice daily, throughout the day. Do nothing else, but practice.
While the above tips will apply to work tasks as well as life in general, here are some tips focused more on productivity at work:
- Pick just a few tasks each day. While you might keep a longer master list of things to do, each day you should make a short list — just 1-3 things you really want to accomplish. Call this your Most Important Task (MIT) list. These should be extremely important tasks that will have a high-impact on your life.
- Don’t do anything else before doing the first thing on your short list of MITs. Don’t check email, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, online forums, news sites. Start your day after making your short list by working on your first MIT.
- Clear distractions. Shut off phones, close the browser if possible, close your IM program if you have one, even disconnect your Internet if you can stand it.
- One task at a time. Keep things simple, focused and effective by single-tasking. Focus on one task until it’s done, then move to the next.
- If you feel the urge to check your email or switch to another task, stop yourself. Breathe deeply. Re-focus yourself. Get back to the task at hand.
- Keep on your MITs until you’re done. Then you have time for email, paperwork, routine tasks, etc. Or if you have the time, pick another set of MITs.
- If other things come up, note them on a piece of paper or small notebook. These are notes for things to do or follow-up on later, or ideas. Just take a short note, and then get back to your MIT. This way you don’t get sidetracked, but you also don’t forget those things you need to remember later.
- Take deep breaths, stretch, and take breaks now and then. Enjoy life. Go outside, and appreciate nature. Keep yourself sane.
Keep a very short to-do list, clear distractions, do one thing at a time, until the list is finished. That’s single-tasking productivity at its essence.
There’s a distinction between tasks and projects that should be made in any discussion of mult-tasking. Doing multiple tasks at the same time is less effective than single-tasking. But doing multiple projects at once is sometimes more effective than only one project at once.
Sometimes it’s necessary to work on multiple projects — even if you are in complete control of your work, which is not true for many people. If you only work on one project at once, often you are held up because you’re waiting for somebody to do a task or reply to you with necessary information. What happens then? Or what happens if you’re collaborating on a project but while someone else is doing their part, you don’t have much to do? In these cases, it would probably be a waste of your time if you just waited, and worked on nothing else.
So multi-projecting can work — you get one project going, but while you’re waiting on something, you can switch to a second or even third project. All the time, you’re only working on one task at a time, until each task is done, however.
Do note that there’s a danger in taking on too many projects at once. I’d suggest taking on as few projects as possible. If you can do only one project at a time, without getting stuck in waiting, then do that — it’s much more effective and you’ll get your projects done much faster. But when you must wait, you
can switch to a second project. Again, work on as few at a time as you can get away with.
‘Success demands singleness of purpose.’ ~Vince Lombardi
When you set your sights on a large target, broad in scope, you spread yourself thin. This is why the best companies are those with a laser focus. They do less, but they do it better.
Apple is a good example of this — they don’t try to tackle every computer niche. They don’t make netbooks or low-end PCs, for example. They have a very small product line for such a big company. And yet, they do extremely well — they make beautiful, well-made, high-functioning devices that customers absolutely love. And they make billions to boot. That’s just one example of many.
A narrower focus allows you to do a better job — to be better than anyone else, perhaps, at the narrower thing that you’re good at.
The Danger of a Broad Focus
One of the biggest problems many people have in their careers, with work projects, with their businesses, is too broad of a focus. Just a few examples:
Working on too many projects and trying to juggle your time between all of them.
Adding too many features to your software and creating a bloated application.
Trying to do everything for every customer, and spreading yourself too thin.
Trying to be everything for everybody, but ending up being nothing good.
Trying to please all your bosses and coworkers and forgetting what’s important.
Communicating all the time via email, several social networks, phones, text messaging, cell phones, faxes and more … and never communicating with any depth.
Again, there are lots of other ways to have a focus that’s too broad. In the end, it’s a choice between trying to do everything but doing it poorly, or doing only a tiny amount of things really well.
What’s your current focus at work? Are you a writer involved in a whole range of writing projects at once? Are you a developer trying to offer something that appeals to everyone and solves every problem? Do you try to satisfy every possible customer, even if most of those possibilities are the exception rather than the rule?
Whatever your focus, take a closer look at it. What do you focus on that’s absolutely essential, and what isn’t as important? Figure out your top priorities, and also think about how much time you allocate to each of these focuses.
What are the possibilities of narrowing your focus? Of dropping some features or catering to a smaller group of customers or doing fewer things for fewer people? How hard would that be? What would need to be done to make that happen?
Now that you’ve identified your top priorities, the hard part is done. Not that narrowing focus is always easy — especially when you have team members or management involved who don’t quite get it.
In that case, it’ll take some convincing. Show them examples of companies or projects that excelled with a smaller focus, and the problems of too broad a focus.
If you have control over your focus, and the focus of what you work on, you’re lucky. Now it just takes some guts, and perhaps some time. You don’t need to change everything overnight. That’s the power of small changes — you can slowly narrow your focus. Slowly do less, one thing at a time, and you’ll see how it can transform your work.
When you drop one feature at a time, do one less type of service, do one fewer project at a time … it’s not so hard. And the improvements that come with the smaller focus will encourage you to continue to simplify, until you’ve found the smallest focus that works for you.
‘A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.’ ~Chinese Proverb
Focused reading is something that’s becoming a rarer and rarer animal these days. We have a hard time reading even a single blog post if it’s not a simple list or longer than a couple hundred words — we’ll skim, and then move on to the next post or email.
Our reading habits have changed because of the persistence and ubiquity of online distractions. We read shorter, faster, more frequently, but longer reading is dwindling. Focused reading is harder.
One effect is that we’re reading fewer books and longer articles, and more blogs and shorter articles. Another effect is that any research we need to do is filled with distractions — landmines when it comes to getting work done.
However, it’s not impossible to read or do research with focus. Just harder.
How to read longer pieces without distractions
There are two keys to reading longer pieces or books: 1) clearing away everything else, and 2) shutting off the Internet.
Without those two things, you’ll always have distractions. Even if you do manage to do those two things, the siren’s call of messages and other updates are still tempting.
For reading longer articles or blog posts, I’ll put the article/post in a separate window, without other tabs to distract me. I’ll expand that window to cover my entire screen. And then I’ll turn off the Internet, so nothing else calls while I read.
Then I just read, until I get to the end (or until I realize this article isn’t worth my time). I don’t switch to another window or program until I’m done.
There’s something peaceful about this process. It’s saying: I have nothing else to do but read this one thing. Nothing is going to interrupt me, and I can just focus on enjoying this reading.
Book reading is the same way. If you’re reading a physical book, you need to put away your laptop and mobile devices, and shut everything off. Find a quiet place, and just read. If you’re reading an ebook, clear away everything else but your ebook reader.
Then you settle into the reading, and enjoy it. Bask in the luxury of reading without distractions.
How to do the research necessary for focused creation
Research can be more of a challenge, because you need to be connected to find information, usually. You’ll want to do Google searches and then follow links within the first batch of articles you find, and so on. The nature of research tends to require link-following.
Here’s the method I suggest for more focused research:
Close email/IM/social networks and other distractions.
Do your initial search, and open up your initial batch of articles/pages.
Skim these articles/pages, looking for links to other articles you might need to read. Open those links.
Repeat with the new articles, skimming and opening links as necessary. Do this until you have all the articles open you need to read.
Read one article at a time, using the method in the previous section — opening that article in its own window and hiding everything else. Read through the article, and take any notes necessary. Bookmark the article if necessary for later reference.
Repeat, taking notes and bookmarking one article at a time. When your research is done, you can do the actual work, using the focus techniques for work in the other chapters of this book.