by Kusha Karvandi
In the last article we explored how things like building confidence and reminding yourself of your goals can help improve your focus. Here are a few other tips to help you concentrate and achieve your goals!
Many people love to talk about multitasking, but in actual fact multitasking is impossible. Just trying to multitask can make it impossible to complete any tasks at all because you can’t focus on any one task- instead, your brain bounces around from one thing to another. Give up on multitasking and focus on the here and now. You’re doing one thing and one thing only right now, so pay attention to it and nothing else. Elite athletes don’t think about their taxes while they drive to the finish line – they think about only what they are doing right now with great intensity.
Some successful people use rituals to help them focus – the athlete follows a set pattern of getting dressed and warmed up for the game; the lawyer has to put on a special “lucky tie” before the trial; the golfer has to kiss the club before teeing off. These are superstitious rituals. They work to help someone focus until something goes wrong- and something will always go wrong. You’ll arrive at the venue and can’t find your lucky socks or a freak accident will interrupt your warm-up ritual. People who are dependent on rituals fall apart when this happens. People who recognize rituals for what they are and deliberately discard them don’t. Do you want to be the person who can’t function without lucky socks or do you want to be the machine who awes everyone with your ability to perform at your peak in the midst of chaos?
Turn Off the TV and Internet
Being able to focus means being able to pay attention to one thing at a time. Intense, engrossing tasks, such as reading a book or painting a picture help you practice that ability. TV and internet surfing do the opposite – by constantly changing the topic and drawing your attention to distractions they basically train your brain to not be able to focus.
Deliberately Train Your Brain
We all know that practice makes perfect. If you want to learn how to focus on the task at hand with preternatural skill, you need to practice focusing. Meditation has been proven to dramatically improve the ability of individuals to focus – it can even make parts of your brain grow bigger, a natural biohacking procedure. Set aside 20 minutes each day to meditate. You can use any method you prefer- chant a mantra, stare at a candle flame, focus on your breathing.
The goal of meditation is to focus the mind with pure clarity on one single thing. As you find your mind wandering, you bring it back to focus on that candle flame or on your breathing. Don’t discard or try to squash any intrusive thoughts that occur, just observe them and then re-focus your mind. Beginners may only be able to focus for one or two seconds at a time, but if you keep practicing you’ll be able to focus for the entire 20 minutes.
Once you’ve learned how to focus your mind and intent you can bring this ability to your next competition or even to the board room. People who have learned how to focus don’t get distracted and they don’t waver from their goal.