Productivity and GTD
Top 10 Ways to Train Your Brain to Stay Focused
Attention is the most precious resource that we can leverage to actually get things done. The ability to focus intensely and for a longer period of time on one activity is undoubtedly essential to every person who wishes to attract abundance and results.
Our brain is a very complex mechanism that often works without our awareness. Our subconscious mind, the deep place where all our memories, feelings, and neuro-associations are stored can be our best friend or our worst enemy.
No matter what goals, profession, or work you are currently pursuing, a disciplined mind is critical for your success. For that reason, in today’s post, I’m sharing 10 effective ways to train your brain to stay focused and productive. Pay attention and apply!
1. Plan and Visualize a Few Critical Tasks Each Day
Our thoughts shape our reality. Why? Because our thoughts generate feelings, feelings lead to action, and action leads to results.
As a part of your morning routine, establish one to three critical tasks that must be done throughout the day. Don’t just think of them superficially. Visualize them and simulate the feelings you’ll get after finishing each task. If you truly think about your day’s success, your subconscious will do everything it can to help you turn thoughts into reality.
2. Find Your Peak Hours
Some people perform better during the day, while others do great during the night. To find your most productive hours – the “peak hours” – you should actively measure your productivity during various hours of the day.
Pay attention to your energy, thought patterns, distractions, motivation, and moods while experimenting different work hours. Make sure you allow at least a week to establish these peak hours. So, if you try to get your most important tasks done from 8 AM to 10 AM, experiment it for a week. Next week, focus your attention on critical tasks starting from 10 AM and ending at 12 PM.
3. Avoid Multitasking
Multitasking has been proven to reduce our cognitive abilities due to the fact that the brain can only fully focus on one task at a time. Even though multitasking can be beneficial in various situations, you should avoid it as much as you can whenever you deal with important tasks. Give your full attention to the task at hand to improve the quality and speed of work!
4. Treat Your Mind Like a Muscle
What do you do when you want to build muscles? You exercise. Not just once, but regularly. Training your brain to stay focused is a matter of practice. Every time you experience distracting thoughts, you have to acknowledge them for what they are – time and attention killers.
Whenever you feel like you “must stop working”, you should push it a little further. If you have big trouble focusing right now, you shouldn’t try to work for 60 minutes straight. Build your levels of focus gradually. First two weeks, try focusing for 20 minutes, take a 5-minute break, then go again. In two months, you should be able to stay focused for 60 minutes and get a lot of things done!
5. Build Willpower and Discipline
Very few of us are making real decisions. A decision is a deal with your mind that no matter what happens, your decision sticks. Therefore, when you say, “I should exercise”, you should immediately replace the “should” with “must”. Otherwise, your brain won’t take your intent seriously and it won’t “care” to help.
Willpower and self-discipline are two related traits that should be developed at the same time. Your willpower is the fuel of your actions. Your discipline is your ability to go past intrusive thoughts, comfort zone, and laziness.
Here’s what few people tell you: these skills require consistent practice, building them is not easy, and giving up is not an option.
6. Acknowledge Your Need to Avoid Pain and to Gain Pleasure
When we do something, we do it because we seek pleasure or because we want to avoid pain. Think about it – when students must do their homework, they procrastinate because their subconscious minds signal incoming pain. When the deadline is close, they’ll take action in order to avoid the pain of receiving a bad grade.
Take this example and synchronize it with your life. Every time you want to focus on a task, acknowledge your immediate response. Are you trying to avoid pain? Or you’re looking for pleasure? When you become the observer, you’ll be able to be in charge.
7. Avoid Distractions
You can’t train your brain to stay focused unless you ensure that your external environment also lacks distractions. Your phone, for example, should never disturb your attention. Turn off the notifications, say “NO” whenever someone interrupts you, and be committed to cut off every possible distraction around you.
8. Leverage the Power of Habits
If you build empowering habits, you’ll no longer have to use your motivation and willpower to become focused. Your mind will recognize the pattern and will make your job easier. For example – when you wash your teeth and face in the morning, you’re doing automatically without using any significant amounts of focus, energy, and motivation. Building productive habits is like teaching your brain how to behave at different yet specific times.
9. Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness implies self-awareness. Practicing mindfulness is nothing more than focusing your entire attention on the present moment. Your present thoughts and feelings, the environment that surrounds you, your breath, your heartbeat…you choose. It doesn’t matter what you focus on – as long as you’re “here”, “now”, your mind is present.
You can practice mindfulness in various situations: while reading, working, studying, washing dishes, walking in the park, and so on. When your focus is prioritized on what’s happening now, you’ll perform better in most of the situations.
10. Become Sovereign
Sovereignty is the practice of aligning your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Most people lack sovereignty, which means that their emotions aren’t in harmony with their thoughts, neither with their actions.
For example, if you want to read a book today but you instantly feel that this is going to be boring, you’ll never actually read that book. However, if you think of something and you get positive feelings as a reaction, taking action won’t be that difficult.
If you’re aware of this, you can easily implement it. As a result, staying focused on your responsibilities and work will become a piece of cake.
Improving your mind is everything. Until you let yourself be carried by your thoughts, immediate pleasures, fear, and pain, you will experience exactly what you “cultivate”. As they say, you reap what you sow.
This refers to the universal cause-and-effect principle, which suggests that every thought and feeling you experience and every action you take will generate an effect. Good or bad, that’s totally up to you.