Back in July, I promised I would spend some time focusing on focusing. I'm interested in developing such powerful self-discipline that (still concentrating) I can work no matter what my surroundings.
Well, I'm not a fool. I know it's not likely that that's going to happen in my lifetime. Maybe in my next one, if I keep plugging away at this. Fortunately, I've found some focus training methods that might prep me for that future time.
Train Your Brain for Monk-like Focus at lifehacker has a lot of fascinating material. Being easily distracted, for instance, was a good thing in days of old, really old. People who could be distracted by threats such as wild animals or marauders from another village got their genes into the gene pool, while those with the self-control to concentrate on their cave paintings did not. But I, myself, am still concentrating, so I'm going to focus on three training suggestions described
in the article.
Amp Up Your To-do List
Pick the most important item on your to-do list (because you have one, and it's an external support for your willpower) and give it a deadline. This might seem obvious for writers, who are always working with deadlines, right? Not necessarily. Many of us spend a lot of time working "on spec." We're writing things we hope to find a publisher for. In which case, we'll need to create deadlines for ourselves. A rough draft may need to be finished before something coming up for the family or before vacation is over or vacation starts. But a deadline/due-date of any kind increases the importance of the work we're doing, improving our need to stay on task.
And when we meet our deadlines, we can give ourselves a reward.
Use Entertainment as a Training Program
Focusing on something productive triggers the same parts of the brain as focusing on entertainment. According to Susan K. Perry (who wrote Writing in Flow, by the way), there isn't any objective difference between one kind of absorption and another. So, theoretically, you "can be reading actively, watching a movie actively, or creating something or working toward a work goal actively" and it should help improve your focus. It needs to be challenging, though. And you need to do it actively. Which means TV won't work for me because I blog, read, and sew while I'm watching it. As it turns out, advertisements during TV programs break focus, anyway. You'd have to stick to watching programming that's streamed or collected on DVDs without commercials.
I can think of lots of ways to tinker with this idea.
The Ever Popular Meditation
I've already written on this subject a number of times, so let's just refresh our minds with Gail has learned about meditation.
Adventures In Meditating
Finding Time For Meditation
"Killing The Buddha" Or Protecting Method And Process
Developing Some Discipline
Week Two Of Developing Discipline With Meditation
Week Three Of Developing Discipline With Meditation
The Fourth And Final Week Of Developing Discipline With Meditation
Wow. Look at all the writing I've done on meditation. I should really be a whole lot better at it than I am.
Does Learning To Focus Mean You Can Give Up Getting Your House In Order?
|Not an orderly environment.|