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Seven Ways To Boost Your Productivity

7 Productivity Tips

If you’d like instant results to improve your focus and productivity, then these seven ways to boost your productivity will do just that. In relation to the post on goal setting on Monday, the advice here is to work backwards, or “chunk” things down into bite-size manageable tasks (chunks). For example, if your main goal is world domination, then this will be a daunting item on your to-do list (I’m sorry for this example, it’s Friday). However, when you break it down into manageable milestones, which can then be subdivided into tasks, this brings your goal closer and makes the task more approachable.. [Read more…]

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12 Ways To Focus At Work

Bored at workWhether you run your own business or are an employee, these 12 ways to focus at work will definitely help you to step up your game. It’s so easy to lose attention, particularly if you have some form of ADHD. It’s even easier to lose focus if you don’t enjoy the work. If you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re not sold on what you’re doing then you will certainly struggle with focus, as I have found a lot in the past! Whatever your struggle with focus is, check these tips out by Amanda Gardner from Health.com. [Read more…]

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How To Train Your Focus Muscles

Sometimes, I just love the articles that I read. I’ve called this article “How To train Your Focus Muscles” as our brain is a muscle and our ability to focus can be strengthened much like our muscles can be. We live in an era of ‘hyper distraction’ where the majority of people are multitasking (or task switching), being bombarded with alerts from left, right and centre, and this is causing havoc with our levels of concentration and focused attention and it’s really not good for our brains. In fact, multitasking has been proven to be damaging to our brains. Thankfully, there are ways we can boost our ability to focus, one of which is a very basic form of meditation. Kelly McGonigal, author of “The Willpower Instinct,” explains a basic  technique to get the part of your brain responsible for focused attention, the prefrontal cortex, pumping:

How To Train Your Focus Muscles1. Sit still, either on a chair with your feet flat on the floor or on the ground with your legs crossed. Try not to move or fidget around, especially when that itch starts to creep up or you feel the urge to change positions. Stay still. It’s important to train you not to follow your impulses.

2. To help you concentrate, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. When you breath in, in your mind, say “inhale.” And think “exhale” when you breathe out. It activates the prefrontal cortex and quells the stress and craving parts of the brain.

3. Hone in on the way you breath and how wandering feels. After a few minutes of inhale and exhale, focus just on the sensation of breathing. If you notice your mind start to wander, focus back on breathing and say inhale and exhale a few times. That helps to train both self-awareness and self-control.

Continue reading the full article on Mobiledia here

If you’d like to know how to train your focus muscles other using a method other than meditation, then one technique is to concentrate on one task for as long as you can, having unplugged from all distractions, until you notice that your attention is taken away. Note how long you lasted, and then try it again the next day. You can actually build up your concentration span over time. I’ve done this myself. Meditation is clearly one of the most effective ways of boosting your focus muscles as described in this article but it may not be for everyone! Having said that, it really doesn’t have to be that weird and “out there”.  You don’t have to do it in public, and you don’t have to sit like a monk – unless you want to of course.

What did you think of this post? Please share the love!

 

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Muse Headband To Help You Focus?

This is remarkable, InteraXon’s Muse headband to help you focus. But will it catch on? The developer, InteraXon has developed a headband which monitors and sharpens brain activity. It uses four sensors to pick up brain waves and these are transmitted to your iphone, iPad or Android device via Bluetooth. According to InteraXon, the headband can help improve concentration, control applications, play games and even pour beer using nothing but the power of your mind. We really are in the 21st century!

Muse Headband To Help You Focus?

Muse takes advantage of the same electroencephalography (EEG) technology that doctors use to diagnose and understand epilepsy, strokes and other brain issues. With just four sensors, compared to the hundreds used in a hospital scan, Muse gives users an overall sense of what’s happening inside your mind. The headband can’t tell you exactly what pictures are running through your brain, but it does understand how you’re feeling.

“The device and application will help you deal with a range of things, like dealing with physical stress and being able to relax on demand,” said Coleman.

Click here to view original story

What are your thoughts on this Muse headband to help you focus? Would you wear one on your commute to work? As ingenious an idea it is for our reptilian brains, which feed off distractions, it is going to require a major shift in consumer behaviour for this to catch on. Who knows, maybe they’ll be seen as cool one day…

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Six Tips To Stay Focused When Everything Needs Our Attention

When people and businesses spend all day online, it means that they’re open to distractions all day long. This, now normal way of work, has taken over from focused attention. And we all know now that multitasking is ineffective. Here are six tips to stay focused when everything needs our attention originally written by Dave Lerner for Young Entrepreneur, from which I’ve excerpted the first three. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to to read this article, they’re great advice for everyone requiring help to focus.

Turn Your Email Off1. Batch your emails. By incorporating the simple routine of checking emails during defined and scheduled periods of time during each working day, a la Tim Ferriss, you will become less distracted and massively more productive. Don’t be afraid to have an auto-responding message that lets people know that this is how you operate.

2. Go off the grid. Every quarter take anywhere from a long weekend to a full week (whatever you can manage) where you go totally off the grid, a la Brad Feld. This means no emails or calls. It’s time for you to meditate and contemplate yourself and your business without distractions.

3. Just say no. During periods that are going to be incredibly busy, turn down all non-work related matters for three to four week stretches and just crank away. Some people may be miffed, but you can make it up to them afterwards.

Read full article on Young Entrepreneur

I couldn’t agree more with 5 out of 6 of these six tips to stay focused when everything requires our attention. If you continued to read the whole article you’ll have see that it is advised to write a to-do list every morning. Whilst I believe a to-do list is essential, I think the best time to write it is at the end of your day for the following day. That way, it helps to turn your brain off, and you can sit down, fresh in the morning and crack on with your high priority tasks. This is another point, if you set yourself 3 top priority tasks that you must complete that day, this helps you focus your attention further.

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Brief Mindfulness Improves Focus

Meditation has been regarded as a highly effective way to focus for some time. A recent study lead by Aarhus University, found that brief mindfulness improves focus, or in their words, is effective for “training attention-related neuroplasticity.” If you’re not familiar with the term plasticity, it refers to the brain’s capacity to structure new neural pathways based on new experiences. Many of us worry about the future, or dwell on the past, when in actual fact we should be living in the present, which is of course what being mindful is all about.

Brief Mindfulness Improves Focus

Brief Mindfulness For FocusIncreased brain responses to emotional stimuli where found only in those participants with the most practice, suggesting that such benefits may require greater training and depend upon first developing attentional skills. Overall, the meditation group showed better attention performance and increased brain activity in regions associated with executive function. Executive function consists of skills such as paying attention for long periods, resisting distractions, and cognitive flexibility. Disruption of these abilities has been linked to disorders including addiction and post-traumatic stress, which are known to respond positively to mindfulness training.

Continue reading on Aarhus University Website

I think some people regard meditation as being a little ‘out there’, or kinda weird. If brief mindfulness improves focus, then in today’s world of ‘hyper distraction’ it ought to be something that everyone should consider incorporating into their daily routines. I started a very simple form of meditation about 6 months ago, where you just focus on your breathing for 5 minutes, taking long deep breaths. Every time a thought enters your head, you get rid of it, and then refocus on your breathing. It’s very relaxing. I’ve heard some people do this for 45 minutes at a time, at the start and the end of their days. Now that’s dedication!

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10 Ways To Bring Your Focus Back

Wouldn’t it be great, if you knew how to control your brain so focusing on one task at a time became second nature? You can make a start here with these 10 ways to bring your focus back written by David DiSalvo for Forbes. Once you have an understanding of why your brain wanders and appears to be acting against you sometimes, it’s easier to take control.

10 Ways To Bring Your Focus Back2. Producing more automatic thoughts than you can possibly manage.

All of our brains are perpetually busy producing what some cognitive scientists have dubbed “automatic thoughts.” And since every thought is a physical event – an electrical signal coursing through your brain – they have physical consequences; namely, that you are momentarily captivated by whatever the thought is about, no matter how trivial. It takes discipline to block out this chorus of chaos and focus on what matters.

What to do: Remind yourself that automatic thoughts are just that: automatic. You can’t control them, but you can control what to focus on.

Continue reading full article on Forbes

Pulling you into rumination about your worst fears was an interesting one from these 10 ways to bring your focus back. It’s so easy to find yourself consumed in negative thoughts. This is rarely fruitful and uses up a lot of energy. The advice to shift your focus and get out of there is spot on!

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Ways To Focus And Be More Productive

Less is often more, and that’s what this article is about. When you get overwhelmed it’s easy to just increase your working hours, get more stressed and in turn your productivity takes a hit. These ways to focus and be more productive are written by Margarita Tartakovsky for Psych Central. She reviews a book by Laura Stack, MBA, president of the consulting company The Productivity Pro®, called What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do: Reduce Tasks, Increase Results and Save 90 Minutes a Day. She examines the necessity to process all new information fast, meaning to tackle things straight away that take less than 3 minutes so you don’t hoard new information, and to not use your inbox as a to-do list – priceless. There’s plenty more of course..

Ways To Focus And Be More Productive

What To Do When There's Too Much To Do1. “Determine what to do.” Of course, not every task on your list is important. Your job is to figure out which tasks are and which ones aren’t. Stack calls this triaging your to-do list. In the ER, Stack said, triage nurses don’t see patients on a first-come first-serve basis; instead, they pick patients based on severity (i.e., level of importance).

“Just as the triage nurse has to decide which patients need the most attention, you must determine which tasks on your list take priority over the rest,” Stack said.

She developed the following cheat sheet to help you clarify your priorities:

  • P1: You will get fired if this isn’t done today
  • P2: A valuable long-term activity that should be done soon
  • P3: Someone will be unhappy if you don’t do this eventually
  • P4: Human “pain-management” activities such as socializing and Facebook

2. “Schedule time to do it.” In today’s fast-paced, pressure-filled world, it’s not realistic to plan every minute or even hour of your day. But you can carve out time for your must-do tasks. For instance, you can block out 45 minutes to finish a job report, Stack said. Continue reading on Psych Central.

If you continued reading the whole article on ways to focus and be more productive on Psych Central, you’ll have seen that “Focus Your Attention” was mentioned, and she summarises the need to turn off all distractions – one of the best ways to focus I’ve experienced so far. Do you have any favourite ways to focus? List them below and share with the world!

 

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Concentration and Focusing – Tony Buzan

Here’s another great clip of  Tony Buzan and this time he talks about concentration and focusing. He states that we, as human beings, have no problem with concentration. We can concentrate immaculately, we just have to learn to focus. He also talks about how being mentally fit helps to induce creativity and how our brains are solution finders rather than problem solvers.

What do you think about this clip on concentration and focusing? Please share your comments below.

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The Truth About Multitasking

This subject matter may sound familiar, but I don’t think there’s any harm to harp on about multitasking as it’s a very effective way of getting nothing done effectively – and it’s harmful to our brains! The truth about multitasking is that it really isn’t multitasking – it’s more “task switching” as suggested here by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. for Psychology Today.  Here are some interesting results found from some extensive research on the subject.

The Truth About Multitasking

The Truth About MultitaskingTask switching, not multi-tasking – The term multi-tasking is actually a misnomer. People can’t actually do more than one task at a time. Instead we switch tasks. So the term that is used in the research is “task switching”.

Task switching is “expensive” – There has been a lot of research on task switching. Here’s what we know from the research:

  • It takes more time to get tasks completed if you switch between them than if you do them one at a time.
  • You make more errors when you switch than if you do one task at a time.
  • If the tasks are complex then these time and error penalties increase.
  • Each task switch might waste only 1/10th of a second, but if you do a lot of switching in a day it can add up to a loss of 40% of your productivity.
  • Task switching involves several parts of your brain: Brain scans during task switching show activity in four major areas: the pre-frontal cortex is involved in shifting and focusing your attention, and selecting which task to do when. The posterior parietal lobe activates rules for each task you switch to, the anterior cingulate gyrus monitors errors, and the pre-motor cortex is preparing for you to move in some way. Continue reading on Psychology Today

Not only does the truth about multitasking reveal that you are much less efficient than when you focus on one task at a time, that you make more errors etc, but the fact that four areas of the brain are being used during task switching is related to how multitasking is damaging to your brain. This is a quote from a previous post:

According to a 2009 study by Stanford researchers, those who multitask eventually must pay a mental price. Heavy multitaskers were constantly taxing their minds by forcing themselves to shift abruptly between one activity and the next. This caused significant cognitive impairment, creating some degree of confusion and displacement, the study found. Chronic multitaskers were mentally slower with lower levels of concentration than those who focussed on one activity at a time. In the long term, chronic multitaskers were found to be more forgetful. They might search all over the house for spectacles that are perched firmly on their heads, not remember where they put their cell phones, even have trouble recalling names, faces and important dates and engagements. Continue reading

So…stop multitasking, and focus on one task at a time! Turn your emails inbox flow off, check them once a day before lunch, use a timer to focus on one task at a time for say, fifty minutes, remove all distractions and not only will you be more effective, but you will help your brain too!

 

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