Kristjan Vingel

The most important ideas about achieving unwavering focus

January 02, 2021

Focus - my favorite topic.

I've talked about it in this blog either directly or indirectly quite a lot. And here's yet another one.

Let's go...

1. Focusing is a skill-set (everything is)

If you train your brain to react to every impulse and notification, then this will be the default behavior.

Deliberately train to focus on your work. Realize that every time you react to an impulse you strengthen the neural pathways for that behavior. The opposite is also true - every time you avoid distraction, +1 for the team 'You'.

Never check the news, social media, or any of that during your work. It's a poison that not only drains your energy but also your ability to focus.

2. Create a suitable environment

If you have your phone next to you while working, you just make life a lot harder for yourself. Silence all notifications and put the phone away from your work setting. It's easy to avoid distractions if there aren't any.

3. Pen & paper

I think it was Kant who said that he writes things down to forget them.

There's certainly truth in it. We have very limited mental RAM to keep thoughts on the front stage (the stage is the RAM, ideas/thoughts are the actors and there can only be a certain amount of actors on stage).

Have a notepad or just plain paper next to you every time you work. When an idea pops to your mind, just write it down and continue working. E.g. you want to google something unrelated to work - write it down.

I've done this for a while and found out that separate sheets of paper are more manageable than a notebook.

I have 3 types of them: "todos", "ideas" and "projects todos". E.g. when I get a thought about something I might want to do someday, I write to the "ideas" sheet.

4. Music

I've tried almost every genre of music out there to help me focus and the verdict is this: binaural music and classical music are the only ones that work. At least for me.

E.g., right now while writing this post, I'm listening to Shostakovich's 13th symphony. Perfect for something like blogging.

For binaural beats, I highly recommend the Magnetic Minds channel on Youtube. They have the best of the best stuff. When I find myself struggling to keep my mind at a task, I go for the big guns.

5. Meditation

Obvious. Next!

6. Reading

Ever since I started reading books, my ability to not be distracted easily has increased massively. It's essentially training to focus.

7. Do nothing

Sleeping, exercising, and taking small breaks and long walks are a great way for your conscious mind to not be constantly engaged with bullshit shallow activity and take time off and recharge. If you're recharged - it's easier to focus.

Be nice to your brain, don't force it to digest dumb stories on Instagram.

K.

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Kristjan Vingel