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How To Improve Brain Power And Focus

You are probably aware that your brain diminishes through lack of use.  This thought-provoking article on how to improve brain power and focus was written by neuropsychologist, Dr Charlotte Tomaino for AGbeat.com.  She uses the example of how one loses the ability to speak a foreign language when not practiced for some time and how if you persist, and practice, you can actually improve your brain power.

How To Improve Brain Power And Focus

The good news that neuroplasticity brings us is that you can work to improve your brain, and to improve your daily tasks. Most people will not devote time to carving out a routine, but imagine two workers – one who writes four blog articles every day, and one who writes once per week – the first worker will be much faster at finding inspiration, producing content, formatting, and promoting than the person who does so once per week.

Imagine two more workers, one who makes it a point to make five cold calls every day, and the other gets around to five on the last day of every month. The first worker will have a much more polished pitch, be more confident, and have better recognition of buying signs. Again, imagine two professionals, one who does his own filing at the end of every day, and the other who does his filing at the beginning of each quarter. The first will more readily know where each file is and what it contains, while the other will likely struggle to tell you much about the location or contents of each.

Repetition is difficult, it takes devotion to any task, especially the menial, tedious tasks that professionals often see themselves as too important for. But if you can master the simple menial tasks with ease, and forge new pathways in your brain, your fluency in that task will be tenfold someone who is out of practice.

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So practice makes perfect! If you’re keen to learn more about how to improve your brain power and focus, I’d recommend subscribing to receive our free weekly newsletter which is sent to your inbox every Thursday morning.  What did you think of this article? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

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How Exercise Increases Attention And Focus

Would you like proof of how exercise increases attention and focus? Here, Meg Faris, for Eye Witness News explains all. There are a number of articles about exercise and focusing on this site, but this one is different.  It’s different, because it’s a different study.

Last week we told you about new brain studies showing that exercise actually increases new brain tissue more than thinking or doing brain puzzles and cognitive exercises. Well now exercise is also shown to also increase your attention and help you process information faster. The neuroelectrical brain activity on scans, shows that brain activity after 20 minutes sitting, is low.

The brain scans from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, suggest fewer resources devoted to focus after 20 minutes of rest. But brain scans after 20 minutes of hoofing it, show much more brain activity. Research has found that just 20 minutes of working out can help your mood for the next 12 hours, and it helps your body become less affected by stress.

While you’re exercising, you’re not only helping your brain and mood, but your body as well by burning off fat. Well now a new European study suggests you can burn more fat during the exact same work out. How? Eat something low glycemic for a snack pre-workout. Nuts and apples would fit into that category because they trigger low levels of the hormone insulin. But eat it with a high glycemic or sugary, high fructose food, such as candy, cookies or a soft drink, and you lose the positive fat-burning effect.

Read the full article here

Not only does this show how exercise increases attention and focus, but it also shows that your brain slows down after twenty minutes of rest.  It actually slows down.  No wonder people go into zones where they are completely unproductive when they’re sat in front of a computer for 8 hours a day.

 

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How To Focus On Finding Your Dream Job

Have you landed your dream job yet? If not, these tips on how to focus on finding your dream job will point you in the right direction.  They’re written by Olu Oyeniran for The Nation Online and may save you a lot of time.  I therefore highly recommend a read of the full article and to make note!

How To Focus On Finding Your Dream Job

Make a list of potential employers 

The first step in this process is compiling at list of all companies that you would be interested to work with. The more, the merrier; the longer the list, the better your odds at success.

You can source for this list via your personal network, the yellow pages, corporate websites, newspaper adverts business listings from industry publications and even your local Chamber of Commerce directory. You could create this list of companies by focusing on a specific geographic area, a particular industry, corporate rankings, or the like.

Get your pitch down pat

Your pitch is your personal introduction. To ensure you’re not tongue-tied at the crucial point of a telephone conversation, prepare a short script to guide you on your self-introduction to the prospective employer.

A pitch allows you to relax and focus on what you need to say and how to say it prior to calling an employer. Be sure to relate your previous professional experience with what this flew company needs. You may have more than one pitch that you refer to depending on the type of job that you are applying for.

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Of these strategies on how to focus on finding your dream job, I could identify with the suggestion to make a list of your potential employers.  Approaching employers directly can often be more effective than going through a recruitment agency.  I made the mistake of applying to companies that were presented to me, rather than researching companies I actually wanted to work for.  By going through these steps, it can encourage some thorough research into potential companies on your wish list, which will help to avoid working for a company that is not in tune with your interests/strengths/goals etc.

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10 Ways To Focus On Productivity At Work

As an employee, it’s often challenging to focus on one task at a time when there’s a constant flow of emails entering your inbox along with phone calls, people asking you questions etc.  Here are 10 ways to focus on productivity at work, from which I have excerpted three of my favourite.  They are written by Daniel Bortz for USNews.com and I highly recommend a read.

10 Ways To Focus On Productivity At Work

Set long-term goals. “Too many people get caught up in the day-to-day things that need to be done—the recent email that came in, the phone call that just came in—and then they really don’t get anything done that’s significant because they’re just fighting fires,” Wendleton says. Develop two big-picture things that you want to accomplish throughout the year and post them next to your computer as a reminder.

Don’t multitask. Focus is key. “These people who think that they can multitask are wrong,” Wendleton says. Focus on one thing, get it done, and move on. “The people who are able to focus and get something done well are the people who are most productive,” she says.

Multitasking will eat up 40 percent of your workday, Tabaka says. “Employers want people who can focus,” she says. Instead, block out time to do certain tasks. “You’re not putting things off—you’re scheduling things,” Tabaka says.

Power nap. A number of medical studies have shown that short napping in the early afternoon increases a person’s pr

oductivity, alertness, and sometimes even their mood. “A very short, regenerative nap can help you channel your energy and refocus,” Tabaka says. Just be sure not to sleep for more than 15 to 20 minutes. Otherwise, it could create problems with your boss.

Read the full, original, article here

From these 10 ways to focus on productivity at work, a favourite of mine was to take a power nap.  Now, whilst I love the idea of this, it’s not often that easy.  My choice used to be the toilet cubicles and a number my colleagues/friends would do the same.  We used to exchange ideas of how to create a pillow and more often than not, the toilet roll on its holder would be the preferred choice.

 

 

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Tools To Help You Focus

Sometimes it’s just easier to use tools to help you focus. Here, Lily F. Karlin has written for TheCrimson.com (Harvard University life blog) explaining some of the great (free) tools out there that can help you as a student to focus, but these tips can be applied to anyone really.  I have excerpted two out of five tools which I found most interesting.

Tools To Help You Focus

Spreeder.com

How often do you wish you could just read faster? Spreeder is an easy-to-use website that allows readers to do just that. The website posits that humans can consume text faster than does the inner reading voice—that is, the voice that aligns with how fast one can read a passage out loud. To use the website, just upload a chunk of text into the provided box. The program will flash the words onto the screen at an increased speed, forcing you to consume them before they disappear from sight. Determine through trial and error the speed that works best for you, and then set your preferences. Increase the speed setting periodically to further sharpen your skills.

Focus Booster

Focus booster is an application based on the Pomodoro Technique, a method of studying that promotes timed intervals of focus interspersed with brief breaks for the brain.

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Why not try these tools to help you focus? Spreeder sounds like a great idea and totally original.  Another one I came across which I featured on this site was called GetFocused – an add-on for Google Chrome web browser.  You can apply time limits to websites where you don’t want to waste too much time.  If you try to extend the time limit greater than what is suggested, a jokey message will say something along the lines of “dude, are you absolutely sure?”

 

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Minimise Onscreen Distractions To Focus

Whether you’re a Mac user or Windows user, both operating systems are getting faster and more efficient at managing multiple windows and applications simultaneously.  Whilst this is great in terms of technological advances, it is not so beneficial for our brains.  It’s essentially multitasking, which we all know is counter-productive.  This article written by Adam Dachis for Lifehacker explains how to minimise onscreen distractions to focus.

Minimise Onscreen Distractions To Focus

If you haven’t figured it out already, the theme of this post is “restrictions are good when you want to focus and get organized.” Clutter is easier to see in smaller spaces, so if you’re using multiple monitors and can never find anything there’s a good sign that you should switch to a single monitor setup—at least until you get your clutter problem under control.

It may sound silly, but looking at a clean desktop can help you focus betterbecause you’re not staring at the problem all day long. If you’ve got the time, put some effort into designing a clean desktop that looks nice and avoids the clutter. If you don’t have time, just grab a minimalist wallpaper and get started with this three icon desktop triage system to rid yourself of clutter in a few minutes.  Read the full, original article here

So if you’re one who loves to have twenty windows open at once, try closing all except for the one that you’re working on in order to minimise onscreen distractions to focus.   It’s too easy to switch from one window to another, and before you know it, you’ve wasted half an hour on something that’s on a complete tangent to what you were trying to focus on.  Having multiple windows open at once can only be harmful to focus, right?

 

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How To Focus At Work By Reducing Stress

Stress at work can lead to an inability to focus as I have found in the past.  If you would like to learn how to focus at work by reducing stress, then take a few minutes out to read this brilliant, and original, article by Amy Martinez. – a senior faculty member for the Centre For Creative Leadership.

How To Focus At Work By Reducing Stress

1. Manage your own resistance. Become cognizant of how much energy you expend opposing what already is. It translates into less energy to accept, adapt, and solve your challenge.

2. Give your best, but don’t get attached to the outcome. Trying to control the way things turn out will make you crazy. Instead, care enough to speak up and take action but not so much that you fall apart or blow up when a certain outcome is not achieved.

3. Stay in the present. How often do you relive the past? How much effort and energy do you give to thinking about future possibilities? Remember, right now is the only point where life is happening—and you can choose how to think and act in this present moment.

4. Be compassionate. Extend compassion to both yourself and others. When things go wrong, people start to blame each other (or themselves). But if you can soften your heart a bit, you send soothing messages to the brain—allowing it to figure a way out of messes and stresses without causing more damage.

5. Shift your view. Try to “re-frame” the situation. What other way could you look at it? What other points of view could you consider? Who could help you see this situation differently? Find them.

6. Understand your beliefs about adversity, and choose your response. The way you currently view setbacks, challenges, or adversity stems from how you have been taught to think about it. When you get clear on what you believe and where those beliefs come from, you can choose to “unlearn” them. You are in charge of your own thoughts and are empowered to respond in new ways. Click here to view the original source of the article

As a previous employee for a large organisation, I can fully appreciate how easy it is to lose focus in the work place. It might be worth copying and pasting these 6 points on how to focus at work by reducing stress, and keeping them in a suitable place where you can refer to them in times of need!

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How to Capitalize on Your Lack of Focus

Apparently a lack of focus isn’t such a bad thing after all.  If you would like to learn how to capitalize on your lack of focus, then this is a must read.  This may be more applicable to a corporate environment, but the techniques are useful to understand.  If you work alone, or if you’re an entrepreneur, it’s always great to brainstorm ideas with others and this article explains why.

How to Capitalize on Your Lack of Focus

Like many of you, we are trying to build a fast-growing company, which requires us to respond quickly to new market opportunities and changing customer demands. Conventional wisdom tells us that a focused organization is a nimble organization. As a team, however, we’re fairly unfocused–and yet we’ve built an Inc. 500 growth company. How is this possible?

We’ve actually embraced our lack of focus as critical to our success. The fact that we routinely have five to 10 business initiatives going at once, and we often have trouble describing to outsiders what we “do,” is a core competency.

We each have different strengths and ideas, so surely the solution is to leverage those and create synergies?  That’s how to capitalize on your lack of focus – by creating synergies.  Talk with others and never work entirely alone!

 

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Sleep and focus!

Are you aware how important sleep is in maintaining an organised and healthy mind, among many other benefits? I called this post Sleep And Focus because without sufficient sleep, you will struggle to focus. Living in this 21st century is hectic and I think people often forget how imperative it is that we get a good night’s sleep. Felicity Duncan explains all.

Learning and memory

When you sleep, your brain does something called “memory consolidation”, which is basically similar to what a librarian does – it involves sorting through information, grouping it by subject, and filing it neatly away where it can easily be found later. Although the mechanics of how sleep helps learning and memory are not yet clear, what is clear is that people who are sleep-deprived can have a lot of trouble in these areas. A good night’s sleep makes you smarter.

Mood

As I can personally testify, sleep deprivation leads to testiness, gloominess, and general misanthropy. Studies show that people who didn’t get enough sleep the previous night are more irritable, impatient, moody, and unable to concentrate than their well-rested peers. Sleep deprivation can take a toll on personal relationships.

Not only do sleep and focus go well together, but your body as a whole requires a certain number of hours of sleep every night in order for various vital organs (like your heart and brain) and bodily processes to function correctly, such as your metabolism. Getting enough sleep will also be good for your immune system and fending off disease. It will also keep you safe so make sure you don’t deprive yourself of one of your body’s most basic needs!

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How Stress Can Help You Focus

In contrast to a post a few days ago, this thought-provoking article explains how stress can help you focus, and can actually be beneficial to your brain. Not only do pressing deadlines gear your mind for focus and hyper efficiency, but such stress can actually be good for your immune system when experienced in small bursts.

Improves efficiency

The short buzz of energy released by stress can also help to improve work productivity and efficiency. Small doses of stress not only enable you to keep on your toes, they also help to improve your memory and spur you to perform tasks more efficiently.When stress hits, the instant energy boost released makes the entire body go on full alert and it becomes highly productive and focused.

Breeds success

In an extremely competitive work environment, a little anxiety is actually good and even necessary for you. Highly successful people often use stress positively to bring about change and activity. They are anxious about today and the future; they stress about the thought of losing and they worry about not having enough hours in a day to get everything done.

This reminds me of how I got through my degree and masters (just thought I’d slip those both in there). Like many people, I’ve always performed better under pressure. It’s important that for the most part, your are not under constant high levels of stress as that can be detrimental to your health and performance, but it is clear how stress can help you focus when experienced in short bursts.

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