Presentation on theme: "Focus Train Yourself to get in the Zone!. The Zone! The moment you get effortlessly lost in work The point where you're able to tune out the world around."— Presentation transcript:
The Zone! The moment you get effortlessly lost in work The point where you're able to tune out the world around you and calibrate your brain to pay attention to one single task Your Sweet Spot It's when you Get Things Done Your entire cognitive effort is concentrated on one task and when you're in that moment the outside world disappears
We all struggle to maintain focus in our daily lives Endless distractions keep our brains from focusing on a task as we struggle to get things done at work and complete projects around the house But what's actually happening in your brain when you're lost in a project? And more importantly, how can you train to induce that focused state in yourself?
It is important to understand what is actually happening in your brain when you are focused and what happens when distractions occur Once you understand what’s happening you can eliminate the distractions and train your brain to focus better
What is happening is your brain when you are focused – Selective focus is controlled by the top-down attention system This system is under your control and asks a simple question, "What do you want to focus on?“ When you decide to focus on something, the brain goes through 2 Steps to sort and understand the information.
Step #1 - Visually, you take in all information in a scene and start processing the information to find what you need to pay attention to. Picture the process like a blurry photo that slowly starts to come into focus. Step #2 - The second part involves focusing on one single aspect. As that same photo comes into focus, the attention starts to zoom in on the one aspect you want to pay attention to.
This is the same process with voluntary and involuntary focus You are able to “tune out” peripheral distractions This is being in The Zone
What is happening in your brain when Focus is broken – The root of breaking focus is an evolutionary system meant to keep us safe Breaking focus comes from the involuntary bottom-up attention Bottom-up attention is hard-wired into your brain as a passive process Bottom-up attention asks, "What is happening that needs your attention?"
There are two outside events that will cause you to break focus every time: 1. Bright lights 2. Loud Noises Your focus is drawn to things that might be dangerous or rewarding Police Siren Dog Bark Email Notification Phone Ringing
Once the top-down focus is broken it takes an average of 25 minutes to return to a project Each time it's broken, you restart the process and use up your brain's resources Essentially you're slowly growing exhausted by distractions
Minimize the External Distraction Triggers We All Have – Wear headphones or earplugs: If loud noises are the biggest cause of distraction then the most logical approach is to remove them from the equation Distraction doesn't come from just loud noises that are directed at you (someone shouting your name) but loud noises in general Schedule focused time around times you know will be extra noisy
Wear Digital Blinders – Remove the visual cues from your environment This means blocking audio and visual notifications Notifications come with both distraction triggers, audio and visual, and can wreck serious havoc on your concentration Want to focus on a task - Close everything except what you are working on and turn OFF you mobile
Creating a private little noise and light-free cubicle is a good for blocking the outside influences neuroscientists have pinpointed as the cause of distractions, but what about the all-too-familiar internal distractions we all deal with?
Pinpoint Your Internal Distractions and Stop Them Before They Start We all get distracted by different internal things throughout the day What’s for dinner Did Bobby pass his science test Gotta pick up the dry cleaning after work Limit those brain wanderings when you need to focus on a task by simply putting the brakes on the thought process
Susan Perry, Ph.D, a social psychologist and writer for Psychology Today said -
Be aware of YOUR internal distractions and how they begin in your mind When you take an action your body reacts in kind – (once you decide to stand up, it would take more focus and effort to not stand as your body has already begun the process) Once you open your email and see the messages from people you know, it's so much harder to stop yourself from reading them Make a conscious effort to avoid these triggers early when they occur
A couple of things you can do to Increase your Focus on a task Increase the relevance of the task – Put all your tasks for the day in a To-Do List Remember Focus is Top-Down attention in our brain Put the Most important tasks at the top of the list and less important at the bottom Assign a specific Due date – Offer yourself a reward for completing
Exercise and train your MIND to be able to better concentrate Do these concentration exercises in a quiet place, alone Make sure you are comfortable Eliminate any possible distractions Relax your body as much as possible with deep breaths Practice each of these exercises daily, for 10 minutes Start with the first exercise. Practice it every day, until you are able to do it without any distractions or forgetfulness, and without thinking about anything else, for at least three continuous minutes
Start with the first exercise Practice it every day, until you are able to do it without any distractions or forgetfulness, and without thinking about anything else, for at least three continuous minutes Every time you get distracted, start again, until the 10 minutes is up You have to be honest with yourself Proceed to the next one, only after you are convinced that you have practiced it correctly and with full concentration
Exercise 1 Take a book, any book, and count the words in any one paragraph. Then, count them again, to be sure that you have counted them correctly. After a few times, do so with two paragraphs. When this becomes easy, count the words of a whole page. Do the counting mentally and only with your eyes, without pointing your finger at each word. Exercise 2 Count backwards in your mind, from one hundred to one.
Exercise 3 Count in your mind from one hundred to one, skipping each three numbers, that is 100, 97, 94, etc. Exercise 4 Choose an inspiring word or phrase, or just a simple sound, and repeat it silently in your mind for five minutes. When your mind can concentrate more easily, try to reach ten minutes of uninterrupted concentration.
Exercise 5 Take a fruit, an apple, orange, banana or any other fruit, and hold it in your hands. Examine the fruit from all its sides, while keeping your whole attention focused on it. Do not let yourself be carried away by irrelevant thoughts that might arise, or thoughts about the grocery where you bought the fruit, how and where it was grown, its nutritive value, etc. Stay calm, ignoring, and showing no interest in these thoughts. Just look at the fruit, focus your attention on it without thinking about anything else, and examine its shape, smell, taste and the sensation it gives you when you touch it.
Exercise 6 This is the same as exercise number 5, only that this time you visualize the fruit, instead of looking at it. Start, by looking at the fruit and examining it for about 2 minutes, just as you did in exercise number 5. Then close your eyes, and try to see, smell, taste and touch the fruit in your imagination. Try to see a clear and well defined image. If the image becomes blurred, open your eyes, look at the fruit for a short while, and then close your eyes and continue the exercise. You may imagine holding the fruit in your hands, as in the previous exercise, or imagine it standing on a table.
Exercise 7 Take a small simple object such as a spoon, a fork, or a glass. Concentrate on one of these objects. Watch the object from all sides without any verbalization, that is, with no words in your mind. Just watch the object without thinking with words about it. Exercise 8 After becoming proficient with the above exercises, you may try this exercise. Draw on a piece of paper a small triangle, square or a circle, about three inches in size, and paint it with any color you wish. Put the paper with the drawing in front of you, and concentrate your whole attention on the shape you have drawn. For now, only the drawing exists for you, with no unrelated thoughts or distractions. Keep your attention on the drawing, and avoid thinking about anything else. Be careful not to strain your eyes.
Exercise 9 Start the same as number 8, but after looking at the figure for a moment, close your eyes and visualize the figure with the eyes closed. If you forget how the figure looks like, open your eyes for a few seconds, look at the figure, and then close your eyes and continue with the exercise. Exercise 10 The same as number 9, but now visualize with your eyes open.
Exercise 11 Try for at least five minutes, to stay without thoughts. Do this exercise, only after you have practiced all the previous ones successfully. If you practiced the preceding exercises correctly, you will be able to impose silence on your thoughts, even if this is at first, just for a short while. Constant practice is the secret of success. The more time you devote to the exercises the faster you progress, but you should do it gradually. Start with ten minutes, and as it becomes easier, and your ability to concentrate improves, increase the time.