Ever wondered what is the most important human asset? Well, if you have not got your answer yet, here it is. Attention. How well you use it decides how well you perform. Whether you are a student, office worker or a mom, the way you utilize this extremely vital asset will determine how you perform in your respective field.

Who doesn’t know that when we sit down to do some work, we immediately lose our focus and grunt in annoyance? Yeah, been there. So what’s the guide to effective and smart working. Here it is.

First, you need to understand two things, how attention works and how distraction works. Every day we are given a limited amount of attention to spend. Just like pocket-money. And as we spend it on and on, it gets depleted. That’s why most of the time, we are unable to pay attention to anything as evening rolls by. Additionally, there’s something called ‘Attention Residue’. As we switch between different tasks, we leave a residue or a remnant of our focus on the previous task. This means that the more we keep switching between tasks, the more focus we lose.

In fact, we have a limited attentional space by which I mean that there is a limited amount of things that you can keep in your focus for a period of time. A study showed that an average person is able to keep their focus for 40 seconds before being distracted!

Distractions; something we are very familiar with, has become extremely annoying as we jump into this increasingly competitive world. It’s anything that’s more enticing than your work. Frankly, even an apple can be a source of distraction if what you do is very boring. So, how can we work smartly when every other thing is trying to gnaw at our attention. Well, follow the steps and all the information that we’ve collected and practiced presented to you.

Firstly, you need to divide the tasks into the following quadrants.

                            Unattractive                       Attractive
  Productive    Necessary Work               Purposeful Work

Unproductive   Unnecessary Work Distracting Work

Secondly, you need to set the intention for the task. Affirm what is it that you wish to accomplish. But be SPECIFIC. For example, if you wish to lose weight, your intention should be something like this. I will lose 10 pounds in the first month by going to the gym five times a week. Let it sink in. When you’ve set the intention, your brain will be ready to perform the said task. I often do this when I’m about to do my work.

Thirdly, remove distractions. We both know that the task has to be done so we turn off or put away all the things that will steal our attention. Technically, there are two types of distractions. annoying and fun and they are either controllable and non-controllable. I’ll tell you how to deal with each of them.

Those which are annoying and uncontrollable, for eg, a person entering your room or office every now and then, you deal with it and get back to your intention as soon as possible. For the type of distraction that is fun and uncontrollable, you enjoy it. Because why not. It’s uncontrollable and fun, so instead of being frustrated, you enjoy it. That’s probably the best way to deal with such types of distractions.

Now, the most important ones, those which are either fun or annoying but controllable. Such as your phone or email. What do we do with these? It’s quite simple. We deal with them beforehand. We turn them off or place it somewhere far so that they may not cause you a distraction. I’ve found that the earlier I dealt with these, the better I was able to focus on my work. Also, put them out of your sight otherwise they would seem more interesting as you indulge yourself in your work.

However, you may ask, what about internal distractions? That continuous chattering inside your head? I also encountered the same problem when I worked. So, upon further digging on this subject I came upon two solutions that worked for me and hence I’d share them with you.

The first one was using a small notepad of distractions. I went ahead and bought a small notepad, tiny enough to fit in my pocket and titled it as a distractions list. Here’s how I used it. When I set down to hyperfocus, I’d get these distracting thoughts, mostly the tasks that I had to complete. Pick up my clothes from the washer. Buy sticky notes. And I’d note them down on my distractions list without putting my full attention on it. This way I was able to ease my mind and the things that used to hang around there, no longer did. It almost felt like a relief.

Also, I forgot less things now that I note them down as soon as they popped up. I realized that it’s about being aware of what’s occupying your mind. By practicing awareness, we are able to note the distractions and the next step is to simply and gently bring your attention back to your intention. This way you are able to retain focus and be less disturbed.

The second thing is expanding your attentional space. Yup, that’s possible. By expanding your attentional space you would be able to keep more things in your focus and also able to focus strongly and deeply on your work. Exciting, right? In order to do that, one needs to practice meditation and mindfulness. I know if I started on this topic it’d take way too long. So, I’d write another one on that and the amazing benefits it brings, stay tuned.

Nevertheless, hyperfocus is a practice. The more you do it, the better you get. Setting deadlines will definitely help you do your work quicker. I hope you have realized that when there’s an indefinite amount of time to do the work, you’ve taken longer than you should have to complete it. Don’t worry, everyone has done that. And that’s how we learn. But what if the brain gets tired by practicing hyperfocus. Guess what? There is a way to recharge it. It’s called Scatterfocus. Look for it on our website and read it. You certainly don’t wanna get your brain tired.

Anyway, follow the steps and be consistent, and hopefully, you’d find yourself doing more and effective work. Wherever you are or whatever you do, hyperfocus is bound to turn your life around.


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