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Is Managing Your Time A Waste Of Time?

Time ManagementIs managing your time a waste of time? Controversial title I hear you say. This is an intriguing article from Entrepreneur.com where Steve Tobac looks at some of the myths associated with ‘time management’. In my top ten tips for effective time management, you’ll have seen that I came across the idea that ‘time management’ is a misdemeanour because one thing in life that we really can’t manage, is time. It’s given to us, and is our most precious commodity. It cannot be replaced. We can, however, manage ourselves, and more importantly, our focus. [Read more…]

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Struggling To Focus As You’re Addicted To Distractions?

We’re living in a world surrounded by a myriad of distractions. Have you ever wondered if you’re struggling to focus as you’re addicted to distractions? With social media taking over the the internet/our world, it’s not difficult to understand that this may be a new phenomenon. According to Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D. for Psychology Today, it’s all down to dopamine in our brains as we seek pleasure and instant gratification;

Struggling to Focus As You’re Addicted To Distractions?

Turn off distractions to focusPleasure vs. seeking  You may have heard that dopamine controls the “pleasure” systems of the brain: that dopamine makes you feel enjoyment, pleasure, and therefore motivates you to seek out certain behaviors, such as food, sex, and drugs. Recent research is changing this view. Instead of dopamine causing you to experience pleasure, the latest research shows that dopamine causes seeking behavior. Dopamine causes you to want, desire, seek out, and search. It increases your general level of arousal and your goal-directed behavior. From an evolutionary stand-point this is critical. The dopamine seeking system keeps you motivated to move through your world, learn, and survive. It’s not just about physical needs such as food, or sex, but also about abstract concepts. Dopamine makes you curious about ideas and fuels


Not without costs 
 This constant stimulation of the dopamine system can be exhausting. And the constant switching of attention makes it hard to get anything accomplished. Can you do anything to get out of a dopamine loop? Or prevent getting in one in the first place?your searching for information. The latest research shows that it is theopioid system (separate from dopamine) that makes us feel pleasure.

Turn off the cues  One of the most important things you can do to prevent or stop a dopamine loop, and be more productive is to turn off the cues. Adjust the settings on your cell phone and on your laptop, desktop or tablet so that you don’t receive the automatic notifications. Automatic notifications are touted as wonderful features of hardware, software, and apps. But they are actually causing you to be like a rat in a cage. If you want to get work done you need to turn off as many auditory and visual cues as possible. It’s the best way to prevent and break the dopamine loops.

Continue reading on Psychology Today

It’s a little scary wouldn’t you agree that you may be struggling to focus as you’re addicted to distractions? To be honest, this doesn’t surprise me in the least. As we flit from one social media site to another, from text to phone call to push notification from wherever, we’ll soon be multitasking so ineffectively that we achieve nothing! The key to focus is to remove yourself from distractions, so turn these notifications off and put yourself and your computer in ‘airplane mode’.

 

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Ways To Focus And Motivate Yourself

If you struggle with motivation, then these ways to focus and motivate yourself, written by Donna M. White (LMHC, CACP) for Psych Central, are well worth a quick read. Motivation and focusing go hand in hand, as without one, the other will suffer. There are various reasons why people struggle with motivation, ranging from a lack of interest in the task in hand, lack of exercise, poor diet, depression, anxiety, fear of failure etc. A number of these reasons are easily remedied, but some are harder to fix. These tips may just change the way you think about your endeavors and help you get motivated.

Ways To Focus And Motivate Yourself

Ways To Focus And Motivate Yourself Whatever your reason for your lack of motivation, there are ways to get it back. These simple solutions may get you motivated in no time.

  • Weigh the cost of not getting the task done.

When you can’t think of a reasons to get up and get moving, think of what will happen if you don’t.  When we evaluate the costs of not getting something done the answer is usually something negative. If you’re not motivated to exercise, the costs could include gaining weight or health issues.  If you’re not motivated to go to work, the cost could include getting further behind.

  • Hang around inspiring, motivated people.

If I’m feeling lazy it sure doesn’t help if I’m hanging around other lazy people.  Surround yourself with other people who are motivated to do things.

Continue reading on Psych Central

I liked the first point of these ways to focus and motivate yourself. When it comes to motivation, the majority of us are driven more by the fear of what will happen if we don’t do something, rather than through our desire to do or achieve something. So when you weigh up the costs of not getting the task done, this may just kick start you into getting the task done. Give it a go, write down a few ideas as to how you’d feel and what would happen if you don’t complete the task in hand. Once you’ve got them down on paper, keep them to hand and refer to them whenever you need to. Also write down your goals, and then visualise them and how you’d feel accomplishing them.

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6 Ways To Avoid Work-Family Burnout

Starting your own business is time consuming and can easily eat into your family life if you’re not careful. Here are 6 ways to avoid work-family burnout brought to you by Melinda Emerson for The Huffington Post. She shares some great tips like treating your family as your number one business client, never bringing work home with you, and engaging your family in your business. I read this advice in one of Richard Branson’s books – so it must be good!

6 Ways To Avoid Work-Family Burnout

  1. Focus on being present, wherever you are. Entrepreneurs always have a lot going on. We’ll appear distracted at best, disrespectful at worst. Give people your full attention everywhere you go by setting appointments for meetings and phone calls when you know you won’t be disturbed and taking care of anything pressing beforehand. Be present with your loved ones, too. Do not take calls once you pick up the kids from school, while you’re out at the ball field or during dinner.
  2.  Use the “5 before 11 a.m.” principle. I learned this great technique from the book The 7 Minute Solution by Allyson Lewis. Simply make a list of five essential things that need doing each day, and focus on getting them all done by 11 a.m. Make your list the day before, so you can begin tackling the list immediately each morning. Continue reading all tips on The Huffington Post

What did you think of these 6 ways to avoid work-family burnout? Please share your thoughts below. It’s too easy as an entrepreneur to allow your business to take over your life and you can find yourself neglecting your family and loved ones – who are of course much more important than any amount of money.

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Ways To Focus By Decluttering Your Life

How cluttered is your life? These ways to focus by decluttering your life from Psychology Today, are highly relevant in today’s ridiculously hectic world. We’re surrounded by distractions in every direction, with so many choices for everything we do, be it TV shows, films, video games, reality TV, shops, supermarkets, technology, gadgets, email, messages, internet, social media (how many platforms are there now?) No wonder so many people struggle to focus! Take time to read this whole article – it’s thought-provoking and so very true.

Look at your life:

  • Schedule: Too many activities and appointments ;
  • Garage/storage: Too many boxes filled with stuff that you will never use again;
  • Closets: Too many clothes, equipment, tchotchkes, and just plain junk that will never see the light of day;
  • Purse or wallet: Too many credit cards, membership cards, and receipts;
  • Toys: Too many for children and adults;
  • Refrigerator: Too much food.

Stuff, of the cultural, technological, spatial, temporal, psychological, and social varieties, do so much more harm than good in our lives. It makes us stressed, claustrophobic, overloaded, overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, and lonely.

So here’s what you can do to tackle this growing concern:

Ways To Focus By Decluttering Your LifeHere’s what you should do. De-clutter your life!:

  • Popular culture: Watch, play, and listen less, don’t buy stuff you don’t need, don’t believe anything it tells you, don’t care too much about it;
  • Technology: Opt out, delete, uninstall, don’t update, don’t click, don’t save, don’t friend, follow, or like, disconnect, unplug;
  • Your world: Throw out, empty, clear, sell, donate, give away, reuse, recycle, reduce;
  • Time: Un-schedule, don’t plan, don’t over-commit, say no, do nothing, slow down, take off your watch, be spontaneous;
  • Your social life: Be selective, choose quality over quantity, spend time alone.
  • Your mind: Clarify, prioritize, simplify, tune in, zone out, read,meditate;
  • Your body: Eat nutritiously and in small portions, exercise frequently, go outside, relax often, nap regularly, go to sleep early.

Ah, your life uncluttered. Enjoy! Read whole article here

I couldn’t agree more with these ways to focus by decluttering your life. If you’re close to someone who never throws things out, give them a gentle nudge. Clutter affects your subconscious mind too, sending mixed messages to it that there are things to do which aren’t complete, and this makes it more difficult to focus using your conscious mind, think clearly and make good decisions.

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10 Ways To Focus And Fight Anxiety

Ways To Focus And Reduce AnxietyIf you’re one to suffer from anxiety, these 10 ways to focus and fight anxiety from OpposingViews.com will be of interest to you. Whilst a number of them appear to be more about improving your ability to focus, there are a number of suggestions such as meditation and being present now which may just help with anxiety. I’ve excerpted the first of 10 points.
  1. Meditate – meditation is the best way to clear you mind and get focus or clarity. Doing it daily for an extended period of time (just a few minutes) can lead to a better quality of life and teach you to quickly clear your head almost on command.
  2. Take a break – turn off the TV, shut down the computer, turn off your phone, laptop, tablet.. clear all of the distractions and just relax. De-cluttering your surroundings for a little while each day can help you relax and re-focus. Doing so for an hour or so before bedtime can help you sleep better as well.
  3. Declutter your surroundings – removing visual and auditory clutter from your surroundings in your office, workroom, study, and/or bedroom can help you to keep focus and relax.
  4. Breathe – simple and effective, taking a few deep breaths can act as a sort of on-demand meditation technique to help you relax and clear your mind.
  5. Be present now – by thinking only about what’s happening right now. Forget the past and future and focus on the now. Doing this can remove negative thoughts and change your perspective. Click here to view the whole article
I do think that these 10 ways to focus and fight anxiety are great tips for focusing, as I said in the opening paragraph, but I’m not massively convinced about their ability to fight anxiety. A friend of mine suffered from anxiety for a number of years, and she was put on medication. I’m not sure these 10 tips would have really helped her. She actually cured her anxiety by coming off the medication after conducting her own research to find out how to help her anxiety. She found out that by exercising daily, eating very well (with a full understanding of nutrition) and taking natural supplements she was able to fight it. It goes to prove that medication is not always the best route to solve problems such as this one.
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How Not To Focus Like A Monkey

According to a senior lecturer in psychiatry, Ramesh Manocha, at the University of Sydney, background mental chatter that we experience in our human brains is similar to what happens in the monkey mind. This excerpt looks at how not to focus like a monkey, and ultimately how to improve your concentration, by doing your best to remove the monkey mind-like chatter and distractions.

Ways Not To Focus Like A MonkeySo what’s the key to getting the monkey off your back and improving your concentration and focus?

Dr Manocha said it comes down to meditation, with his studies showing those who studied Sahaja Yoga meditation – which focuses on mental silence – had more activity in the parts of the brain associated with sustaining attention.

But if you’re sitting at your desk, struggling to concentrate there are some simpler things you can do to refocus.

“One way is a simple zen exercise which is to ask yourself ‘where is my attention?’ and that quite often helps you bring your attention back’,” Dr Manocha said.

“The second thing is to focus on the absolute present moment and you find two things occur.

“One is when you that when you focus on the present moment there’s no cluttered thinking activity.

“Secondly that enables you to bring your attention onto the present rather than things that are happening in the future or the past.”

Read the full article here

Among this advice as to how not to focus like a monkey, we again see meditation, thinking in the present (a part of meditation), taking breaks from tasks, and eating the correct types of food to help you concentrate, namely those which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin B12, such as fish, chicken and lean red meat. The more I write on this site, the more I see  meditation appear as one of the most effective ways to focus. Have you tried meditation yet? Are you ready to break through that mental barrier?

 

 

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Focusing Tips From Dan Sullivan For Entrepreneurs

These focusing tips from Dan Sullivan for entrepreneurs are well worth a quick watch. Dan Sullivan basically reveals in this 2 minute video that one of the main reasons that people lack focus, is due to the fact that  they’re not completely sold on an idea. This makes a lot of sense and is so obvious, yet I bet so many people waste a lot of time on ideas that they’re not completely sold on.

These focusing tips from Dan Sullivan for entrepreneurs sound so obvious, yet so true. If you’re not entirely convinced in what you’re doing, then it’s easy to lose focus. I liked what he said regarding the more you convince yourself that what you’re doing has value is and worthwhile, then the more your brain easily locks into what you’re trying to achieve.

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Ways To Focus On Your Strengths

Ways To Focus On Your StrengthsThis really caught my eye as I remembered the days when I worked for a large organisation. Here, Diana Clement explains why it’s necessary to learn ways to focus on your strengths after making an interesting point about how organisations often focus on developing areas of weakness of their employees, rather than their strengths.  Her words make a lot of sense as she points out a number of negative effects that focusing on weaknesses will have on employees:

  1. Negative, not positive, interactions with colleagues
  2. Treat customers poorly
  3. Tell your friends what a miserable company you work for
  4. Achieve less on a daily basis
  5. Have fewer positive and creative moments.
  6. Many people may be staring their strengths in the face, but until they can see them are held back in their careers or simply sit at their desks disengaged.
She then reveals a few interesting statistics about how a management consultancy service uses a book called Strengths Finder 2.0 to work through performance appraisals of the organisation’s employees.

Gallup, which provides a management consultancy service in New Zealand, found that only 1 per cent of employees surveyed whose manager primarily focused on their strengths were disengaged.

Not surprisingly, the organisation’s consulting focuses on what executives and employees do well.

It provides staff with a copy of its book, Strengths Finder 2.0, and takes them through an assessment of their strengths.

The book gives an introduction to the concept of strengths psychology and then has a unique access code which enables the reader to complete a 30-minute questionnaire.

The results highlight each person’s five top strengths out of 34 and provide ideas for action on each relevant theme.

Participants are then asked:

1. How does this information help you better understand your unique talents?

2. How can you use this understanding to add value to your role?

3. How can you apply this knowledge to add value to your team, workgroup, department, or division?

4. How will this understanding help you add value to your organisation?

5. What will you do differently tomorrow as a result of this report?

Read the full article here

These ways to focus on your strengths are actually in tune with what creativity expert, Sir Ken Robinson, has to say in the previous video.   He mentions how the majority of people in this world end up drifting through life not working in a job that’s in line with their strengths.  I’m sure everyone would be much happier if they truly focused on their strengths rather than developing their areas of weakness which would in turn, lead to increased creativity.

 

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Step Into Nature To Improve Your Focus, Creativity and Happiness

The advice to step into nature to improve your focus, creativity and happiness may not come as a surprise to many. We are all human beings after all, and I’m sure nature did not intend for us to sit in offices in front of a computer, watch TV and play video games for the majority of our lives. Sadly, this appears to be the direction that society is pushing us. I’ve touched on creativity before on other articles on this site, where ideas can come to you at the most obscure of times, such as in the shower, or when you’re on a cycle ride or hanging upside down pretending you’re Batman. I may have made that last one up, but I’m sure there’s some kind of sense to it.  This is an excerpt from Lifehacker where Jonah Lehrer of the Wall Street Journal is featured.

Boost Focus By Getting Into NatureAccording to Jonah Lehrer at the Wall Street Journal, a growing amount of evidence suggests hanging out in nature can increase your creativity, happiness, and focus.

Research from a forthcoming paper by researchers at the University of Kansas suggests that when you wander into untamed landscapes it calms your nerves and restores your brain power. As Lehrer points out this can help you be more creative, happier, and improve your focus. In the University of Kansas study, just three days in nature lead to a 50% increase in performances on creativity tests.

Read the full story here

So when you’re next stuck for ideas, and your mind is going off in all sorts of directions, step into nature to improve your focus, creativity and happiness. It makes complete sense to me. It’s easy to get stuck in the 9-5 grind (or 8-6, 7-7 or worse), with an hour commute either side of your working day and just get used to the idea that that is what life is about.  I believe every single person has it in them to be creative, as Sir Ken Robinson quite rightly points out. I don’t think we’ll ever find our creative sides by sitting in front of a computer. Do as nature intended and get outdoors!

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