Success starts with focus.
Lacking focus is kinda like riding a cross-legged horse. It’s painfully slow and inefficient.
A woodpecker can tap twenty times on a thousand trees and get nowhere, but stay busy. Or he can tap twenty-thousand times on one tree and get dinner.Seth Godin
Bouncing our focus-spotlight around prevents, immersion and reaching a state of flow becomes impossible.
It goes without saying, focus is a key component to effective living. The sharper the knife, the cleaner, faster the cut, the less the spillage.
With laser-like focus, we can accelerate achievement and turn into achievers, experts, and highly sought-after professionals.
Learning to Focus is not About Eliminating Distractions
This is not just another “turn your phone off” or “remove all digital distractions” article.
Deep focus not about removing distractions. It’s about concentrating in spite of distractions.
Our ability to focus depends on our resistance to interruption.
It’s about our capability to focus in its purest manifestation.
The Secret Ingredient: Vaccination Against Focus Breakers
We simply can’t shield ourselves from a constant barrage of noises, digital media, impolite colleges, intruding thoughts.
Therefore, we need to train our mental fortitude to be able to do the following:
- Collect our thoughts in the face of meaningless distractions.
- Remain focused and deliberately deflect mental intrusion.
Here, I’m talking about the ability to concentrate in spite of barrages of sensory distractions baiting for your attention.
Neighbors slamming doors? Sitting on a chair like a bed of nails? Pounding tiredness? Ringing phone? All mere distractions to deflect when your efficiency is at stake.
And, the good news is, we can easily train our brain, like a muscle, to zero in on a single matter. . . without getting thrown off if we don’t like to.
Visualization Exercises to Improve Focus and Concentration
Clone an Object
Sit in a chair and place a simple object in front of you on a table. Observe this object for 2 minutes studying all its details. Keep your mind on this object and disregard intrusions of distraction thoughts. Close your eyes and replicate the object of your study in your mind. Keep it clear and stable as long as possible. Even if it fades or changes, keep thinking about its visual appearance for at least 1 minute.
Relive Your Day
At your day’s end, sit down in a quiet and dark room. Shut your eyes and review in your mind the happenings of this day. Like a movie, sequentially replay what happened from the moment you woke up to this very moment reviewing your day.
Envision Geometric Shapes
Sit down, close your eyes, and visualize in your mind’s eye a simple geometric shape. Say, for example, a blue triangle. How long can you hold it in your mind until it fades, changes shape or color? Keep track of your results and try beating your efforts next time.
Mentally Write Your Name
Again, sit down, close your eyes, and picture a blank sheet of paper. Now, slowly write your name with a fountain pen in clear blue letters. This should take you about 30 seconds. If you’re like most people, you can only concentrate on a letter at a time. Keep practicing your focus until you can maintain your whole name in your mental vision.
Select a photo and put it in front of you. Look at your chosen photo for 2 minutes. Observe every little detail. Then shut your eyes and attempt to recall as much as you possibly can. Think of the background, its foreground, the colors, and shapes your saw. Open your eyes and correct every observational mistake. Shut your eyes again and attempt recreating a more detailed image.
Let no day pass by without practicing your concentration. You’ll find you can, with regular practice, direct your mind the same way you control your hands.
Your ‘Real’ Life Focus-Dojo
With the above exercises, you’ll quickly make progress. Nonetheless, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice your concentration in ‘real’ life.
- Reading: When you’re reading, ignore noises, people walking by, phones ringing. Keep your eyes glued to the page. Fully immerse yourself into the story.
- Conversation: You’re engaged in a conversation? Resist to look around, check your mobile, or react to noises.
- YouTube: Next time you watch a movie, withstand the urge to look at the comments, or check the suggestions until the video is finished.
- Reading Online: Only read with a purpose in mind. If you choose an article to read, ignore sidebars and attractive links till you’re done.
So what now?
I think the effect of these exercises to improve focus and concentration will take you by surprise. In particular, the “Relive your Day” practice will grant you astonishing results very quickly.
Let me know, in the comments below, if you’ve got any questions, suggestions, or comments.