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Ways To Focus When Studying Outdoors

If you’re a student this summer, and having to study, then doing so indoors when it’s beautiful outdoors is never a pleasant feeling. Here are a few short, but sweet, ways to focus when studying outdoors. They are brought to you by Jeremy Teel for American Intercontinental University.

Ways To Focus When Studying Outdoors

Ways To Focus When Studying OutdoorsSit in a shady, peaceful place. Sitting in a shady spot can be relaxing. Your mind can better absorb information when it is relaxed, so find a shady, quiet place. Outdoor activities and noises can be distracting. You can be more likely to stay focused if those tempting distractions aren’t nearby.

Define goals and set up a schedule. If you find yourself drifting from your studies, create specific goals before you start. Goals can keep you motivated and moving forward while you work. To help meet your goals, allot periods of time for specific tasks. Keeping track of the time can help you maintain a good work pace and complete the necessary tasks.

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If you can think of more ways to focus when studying outdoors then please share them below and of course, share these tips too. I can remember having to study in the summer and it was painful doing so indoors when it was so inviting to be outside. When I did attempt to study outside, it was in my back garden in the sun, when I couldn’t read as the glare was unbearable and I’d have perspiration running down my forehead. Shade is a much better option, wish I’d thought of that!


10 Ways To Focus On Your Job Hunt

If you’ve just come to the end of your studies at university, it may be that the summer you’ve always looked forward to is taken over by the daunting prospect of job hunting – unless of course you’re lucky enough to already have your ideal job or income generating idea lined up. Here are 10 ways to focus on your job hunt brought to you by Josh Tolan of Spark Hire, who wrote this article for Business Insider.  As with everything, focus is absolute key in ensuring that you land your ideal job, and that you don’t just settle for one as it has an attractive salary and it’s vaguely in tune with your interests and goals.

Focus On What Makes You HappyDefine The Job You Want
Nothing kills job hunt momentum more quickly than unrefined searches. Unrefined job searches deliver unrefined job results, so take time to think about what you want to do and where you want to go. Once you have an idea of the job you’d like, tailor your search to reflect your position’s criteria.

Keep in mind that not all results will be your dream job. If the results you receive aren’t what you want to do, perhaps you need to re-define what you’re looking for.

Don’t Take Rejection Personally
Rejection happens. You must acknowledge that there may be better candidates than you applying for the same job, but that doesn’t mean you should stop trying. Acknowledging defeat will deter your focus and hinder your determination. To keep your focus, ask the company’s recruiter if you can have feedback about your application or interview. If given, improve upon the suggested areas and move on to the next lead.

Continue reading whole post from Business Insider

The reason I excerpted these 2 points from the 10 ways to focus on your job hunt are because they’re so incredibly important. I fell into the trap of applying for all sorts of jobs where my skills and qualifications fitted best. I wanted a decent salary. I settled for quite a few jobs for the wrong reasons, and unsurprisingly, didn’t last longer than 16 months in my longest employment (where I developed insomnia). Had I known what I know now, I’d have written down my long-term goals, asked myself what I personally wanted to achieve. I would have asked myself where I wanted to be in 5 year time, or 10 years time, and worked my way backwards to see what I needed to do to reach those goals. I’d have delved into my past to think about what really makes me truly happy. What are your true, natural talents that you were born with? Everyone is born creative, but our education systems suck this out of us (in case you haven’t seen it, watch Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity in the videos section of this site. In fact, watch the Steve Job’s speech too – very inspirational).

I think it’s so incredibly important to really ask yourself what makes you happy and what makes you tick. Otherwise, you find yourself on the slow corporate career ladder, climbing it gradually with relatively small pay rises each year, by meeting your appraisal goals and pleasing your employers and after 5 years or 10 years, you can find yourself in a position wondering what on earth you’re doing there. This has happened to a number of my friends in their 30s. Don’t let it happen to you!

I almost forgot to mention, the author of this article, Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark hire which instead of using cvs, uses video resumes and online interviews to connect job seekers with employers – what an ingenious idea!



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.


Ways To Focus And Manage Time More Effectively

This is an excellent article aimed at students, but applicable to anyone.  The author outlines some original ways to focus and manage time more effectively, as well as some that you would have already come across.  I’ve excerpted some of my favourite points, but be sure to read the entire article for full effect.

Ways To Focus And Manage Time More Effectively

Time wasted is existence, time used is life.

Giving structure to your day and following a study technique is a great way to be focussed on the task at hand and be efficient. However, we can still find ourselves struggling with our concentration form time to time. There are some techniques we can follow to directly improve our concentration.

Take breaks: It is prudent to divide your study schedule into small chunks of half an hour each especially when you are struggling to concentrate! Take a break after every half an hour of studying and don’t forget to pat yourself on your back for staying focused for this long. However, don’t leave the place, but sit back in your chair, relax, deep breathe and keep your focus. Take longer breaks every hour when you can get up from your seat and stretch your legs.

Worry time: For those of us who tend to worry about things incessantly, set aside a worry time. Whenever your mind slips into worrying remind yourself that you have a special time devoted to worrying and you can worry then!

The ‘five more’ mantra: This is something I came across and I felt it’s a great way to build sustained attention and build frustration tolerance. If you’re in the middle of a task and tempted to give up- just do FIVE MORE. Read FIVE MORE pages. Finish FIVE MORE math problems. Work FIVE MORE minutes”. By implementing this strategy, you are building mental stamina and exercising your brain muscles and endurance just like athletes built their muscles and stamina.

Mind and Body exercises: Keep aside all tasks, select a thought and keep it in your mind for as long as you can. It can be thought like, how to keep fit. Now stay focused on this idea and develop it for as long as you can. Be aware of times when your mind wavers off and then bring it back to the topic.

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Do you set aside ‘worry time’? When researching ways to focus and manage time more effectively, it’s rare that you come across tips like taking ‘worry time’ and the ‘five more’ mantra.  This is why I particularly appreciated this article.  Visualisation was another great, original, tip;

Visualisation is an extremely effective technique to prepare the mind to concentrate. Before starting your studies, close your eyes and imagine yourself in a situation when you experienced deep concentration. It could have been playing a sport, a musical instrument or gazing at a bird sitting in a pond. Try to picture this state of total concentration in your mind’s eye and stay with it for about five minutes. Then open your eyes, take a few deep breaths and start studying.

I’ll be setting aside worry time from now on and using visualisation as a new method of focusing.  And I absolutely loved the closing line;

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you have always got.


How Sipping Water Can Help You Focus

There are plenty of foods that are proven to significantly improve concentration, focus, memory, and brain power as a whole, as you may have seen on this site from articles such as Foods To Help You Focus or Plant Foods Help You Focus.  Here, Linda Wasmer Andrews, for Psychology Today, describes how sipping water can help you focus.

How Sipping Water Can Help You Focus

Hydrating the brain

One possibility is that drinking water may have a direct physiological impact on cognitive function. Water is essential for every cell, tissue, and organ in the body, and the brain is no exception.

Dousing test anxiety

For worriers, there could be another benefit as well. Sipping water during an exam is sometimes suggested as a strategy for easing test anxiety. By offering a momentary distraction, it can break a chain of anxious thoughts and free the mind to focus on the task, leading to better performance.

Pouring on optimism

Drinking water can also aid concentration the same way a sugar pill can ease pain: by activating the placebo effect. Water has received a lot of good press lately. If people believe that sipping water helps the brain work more efficiently, that expectation alone could be enough to boost brainpower.

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I think people forget how important water is in order for all of our vital organs to function correctly, not just our brains.  Of these 3 explanations on how sipping water can help you focus, the fact that it could have a placebo was an interesting one.  Had I known that during my finals maybe I’d have pulled out a First!


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.


Focus On Being Creative?

I was taken by this article written by Carrie Barron for Psychology Today as I for one have always been practical and sought enjoyment and satisfaction through being creative, namely with home renovations.  Do you ever focus on being creative? Her article explains how Dr Kelly Lambert has discovered a relationship between the use of your hands, cultural habit and mood.

Focus On Being Creative?

Consider how you felt the last time you made something by hand.  Whether it was a cake, a home improvement project, a garden, or a scrapbook, it was absorbing and satisfying, right? Maybe you even had a moment or more of euphoria.

Creating something with your hands fosters pride and satisfaction, but also provides psychological benefits. Because it can uncover and channel inner stirrings, wounds smart less and growth ensues. When you make something you feel productive, but the engagement and exploration involved in the doing can move your mind and elevate your mood. As you sift, shape, move and address your project your inner being moves too. As one of my clients said, “It isn’t so much what you can do, but what you do do.” The process itself provides value.  If we can treasure doing as much as having done we provide new avenues for success, self-esteemor self-repair.

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I think we all have it in us to be creative in some respect and it’s all too easy to lose focus on being creative. As Sir Ken Robinson (creativity expert) quite rightly points out (in my opinion), as we’re all put through education, we’re all steered towards financial security and subjects that put is the in the best stead for getting a well-paid job.  At the same time, we’re often steered away from out creative side, the arts subjects, which is often where people are in their element.  I’ve featured this clip a few times on this blog now, but in case you missed it, I thought I’d feature it again.  It’s 20 minutes long but entertaining and quite frankly, brilliant.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?


Set Goals To Help You To Focus

Why do career advisors, successful entrepreneurs and athletes harp on about setting goals? Firstly, set goals to help you to focus.  Secondly, if you don’t know where you want to head, how are you going to get there? This is a great post written by a management and career consultant, V Pradeep Kumar, for the Decan Herald.  I have excerpted a few favourite points.

Set Goals To Help You To Focus

Set smart goals

Use the power of your imagination as well as skillful planning to set your professional goals.

Integrate goals

It’s a good strategy to have multiple goals in different areas such as your professional career, personal life, financial and asset creation, health and fitness. These goals in different aspects of life should complement each other and not contradict them.

Why is goal setting so important?

Life is all about making the right choices and goal setting is the process of making those choices. Goals enable you to focus, act as strong motivators and improve results. Follow your dream; but be sure you love the profession. You may start with a job; turn that job into a passionate career.

Career success is a destination you want to reach. Let the goals be specific like setting a needle in your compass. From then on, the compass knows only one point, faithfully guiding you through the journey ahead. Look forward to the destination, but appreciate and enjoy the journey.

Read more of the original article here

No matter where you are in life, whether you’re still at school, finishing university, half way through your career, or even in retirement, if you haven’t already done so, set goals to help you to focus.  Without your destination in mind, you’ll be like a lost puppy in a jungle not knowing which way to turn, or how you’re going to get there, because it’ll all be mystery!


How To Avoid Exam Stress And Focus

This is an article especially for students at this stressful (for some) time of year.  If you’re quickly approaching exam time, then these tips on how to avoid exam stress and focus are well worth a read.  They are written by Learning Development Officer, Paula Moran for the Belfast Telegraph.  Some of the tips you may have already come across but there are some useful, original pointers in here too, such as an example revision day.

How To Avoid Exam Stress And Focus

Revision Suggestions Leading Up To Exams:

Typical day

8.00am breakfast/shower/get dressed

8.30am get your study space ready and all you need for the morning.

9-10.30 Learn a topic e.g. Topic one for Biology (create flash cards, spider diagrams or lists with key points)

10.30 -11 Test yourself on that topic

11.-11.30 Short walk, snack

11.30-1pm past paper for maths

1-2pm Break and lunch

2-3.30pm Biology topic two (as above)

3.30-4pm Test yourself or get someone to ask you questions

4.- 6pm break/tea/watch TV

6-7.30pm Go through notes for another subject covering a key topic

7.30-8pm Break

8-9pm Test yourself on what you have just covered

9-9.30 tick off what you have covered today and look over plan for next day

9.30 – 10 relax

10.30 Bed and sleep

In Exams

Make sure you have everything you need for the exam. When you go in read over the instructions carefully and re-read. Allocate your time so that you cover all the questions do not be tempted to spend more on the answers you know more about as you will lose marks on questions you haven’t attempted. If you find it hard to get started or feel you are getting panicky just start to write something on your notes page to get your focus back on the exam paper. If you have lost marks for silly mistakes in the past give yourself time to check over your answers and read each question carefully, underlining key words to keep you focused. If a question is worded differently than you expected take your time to think of how you can apply what you know..

When you come out, tick off the exam you have finished and move on to the next subject do not waste time analysing what you could have done differently.

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Were these tips on how to avoid exam stress and focus useful for you? Please share with your friends if you think so (icons below). I’ve been there at exam time plenty of times, during school, university, and for a masters so I am only too familiar with one’s frame of mind around exam time.   As Paula Moran quite rightly points out, and as I’ve said a number of times over different posts, exercise is key in reducing stress.  You’ll never regret doing exercise! (Unless you injure yourself, don’t get that happen.) You’ll only feel great afterwards and it will enable you to refocus and think clearly.  Always make time of it! There were times when I would wind myself up to the point of near burn out when trying to solve problems, then go for a cycle or run, and sit back down at my desk and solve those problems almost immediately.



How To Improve Your Focus And Creativity

If you would to learn how to improve your focus and creativity, then these words from co-author of Organize Your Brain, Organize Your Life: Train Your Brain To Get More Done In Less Time, Margaret Moore, should fill you with confidence.  This article was written by Celeste Perron For HealthGoesStrong.com and I have excerpted two of my favourite points.

How To Improve Your Focus And Creativity

Take brain breaks. One key to better focus is to take a “brain break” every 30-60 minutes. “After that amount of time your brain gets depleted and you need a break, especially as the day goes on,” says Moore. “So move around and do little tasks like making the bed, or go for a walk.” Surfing the web and watching funny YouTube videos doesn’t necessarily qualify as a brain break. “It’s important to get out of your chair and move your body,” she says, and adds, “sometimes taking break from what you’re doing can lead to your best creative insights, which is why we so often hit upon great ideas in the shower.”

Stay cognitively flexible. One risk we face as we age is mental rigidity, getting stuck in opinions and thought patterns that can block creativity and also hurt working memory. One trick Moore suggests for preventing that is intentionally exposing yourself to opposing points of view—say, watch MSNBC followed by Fox News, or read an editorial in the New York Times followed by one in the Wall Street Journal that voices the opposite opinion. “You don’t want to get too stuck in your ways of thinking, because being able to understand multiple points of view helps you stay more youthful and get the most of your brain.”

Click here to view the original source of the article

Of these methods on how to improve your focus and creativity, I could entirely relate to Margaret Moore’s suggestion to take brain breaks away from your computer.  She makes a point that you can often have your best ideas when you’re in the shower – this is so true.  It’s easy to reach a stalemate sat in front of your computer.  If you read the full article you’d have understood the importance of reducing stress, getting enough sleep, not multitasking and feeding your brain with the right types of food in improving your focus and creativity.  She also mentioned how exercise is essential as it helps your prefrontal cortex to grow as well as reduces stress.  As you may know by now (as a regular on this site), the hippocampus is largely responsible for memory and exercise is essential in maintaining a healthy hippocampus.

The point about remaining cognitively flexible was very interesting as was her reference to mental rigidity.  I can completely identify with that as I have parents! I’ll be having words.