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How Can I Improve My Focus?

How Can I Improve My Focus?

Are you easily distracted? Find it difficult to focus on the task at hand because your mind wanders, you worry too much or have too many things to do that you can’t settle down and concentrate on that one thing? Here’s a great answer we found on Quora by Achintya Prakash who provides some valuable tips on how to improve my focus.

Here’s the answer:-

I see productivity and focus as two distinct things, albeit interrelated. I believe it is possible to boost productivity with a somewhat minimal increase in the inherent focusing ability of a person. However, an increase in focus should in general lead to greater productivity, apart from other benefits.

The Bhagvad Gita likens a persons senses to wild horses, and the mind is akin to the charioteer, who holds the reins of these horses. If you cannot rein in your senses, they will run wild and take you to places you don’t wish to go. Focus essentially boils down to the absolute control of your senses, which is why meditation helps so much in improving it.

I’m sure lots of people don’t read long rambling answers (which this invariably will turn into), so getting to the gist of things, this is what i believe would help a lot (note that I’m trying not to mention things that already have been mentioned) :

1. Practice meditation (the duh! answer)

Its good if you can allocate at least an hour or more for meditation, but a lot of people can’t. That doesn’t really matter; at any point when you are breathing, you have the opportunity to practice meditation. One of the easiest ways of doing this is by focusing on your breathing, really focusing on the air, how it touches your nostrils and upper lips as it enters, how it feels on the back of your throat, how it feels as it escapes. Just focus on this for sometime. You’ll find that you feel restless, that your mind wanders and there’s an endless and (sometimes absurd) chain of thoughts that will follow. Whenever you notice yourself drifting to other thoughts, gently bring your mind back to focusing on the breathing. Regulating the breathing not only calms down your circulatory system, but focusing will help you achieve a sense of ‘peace’ and a strange satisfaction. Its hard to explain the feeling, do it sometime and you’ll know. The great thing is, you can do thisanywhere and anytime, whenever you have a bit of breathing time. So maybe on a commute, while waiting in the lift, while waiting for a code to compile, when you’re booting windows….whenever you have some time to kill.

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2. Listen to music (and I mean really listen)

Listening to music helps in improving your concentration and focus, but only when you really listen. Most people listen to it while doing something else; working, exercising, reading. Try and listen. After I started learning an instrument and really listening to the music, I realized that I could make out what was being played by the individual instruments, the patter of guitar strumming, the bass line etc etc. Thats when I really started enjoying classical music as well. A lot of people still don’t have the ability to focus only on a single instrument and figure out whats happening. Try it, it adds a new dimension to the music you listen to and expands your tastes. (When you clear your mind out and let it be filled only with music, its also another form of meditation, where you are essentially clearing the ‘clutter’ of your thoughts and focusing on one thing).

3. Cut down your goals into smaller, achievable, more immediate targets

I’ve found that having just an end goal in mind, while providing an initial drive, can confuse and frustrate a person, and you lose focus. That’s because if your target goal is difficult or big (as it should be), then you may not see any immediate results which bring you closer to it. Break it down into smaller targets, improvements that you ca achieve within a day or a week, and check it off as another rung to your ‘ladder’ of success.

4. Work when you are most comfortable

Some people work better at day, some at night, Sometimes your environment may just not allow you to relax during the daytime. I don’t mean stay awake the whole night and work the whole day. Get your sleep, but work when you find yourself to be the most productive.



5. Start fasting a bit

Its well known that eating heavy slows you down, directing the blood to your stomach for the digestive process and making you sleepy. A small amount of fasting has a lot of benefits. It speeds up your metabolism to a certain extent and keeps you alert. Going on a juice fast is usually ok for most people. This isn’t a quick hack either, because fasting on a regular basis would help keep you in good physical condition (your body only has certain nutrition requirements, we’re not storing blubber for the winter here). Don’t starve yourself though, death is counter productive.

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6. Force yourself a bit, don’t force yourself too much

Sometimes when we’re feeling lazy, we need that little push to get us out of our state of inertia. That’s ok, having to force yourself to start working is normal, the flow comes as you go on. However, there are times when you hit a mental wall, and you’re mind simply refuses to go on with something. Don’t force yourself too much at this point, even if you end up working it won’t be really productive. Go do something else, let off some steam, preferably something much different from the work you were doing.



7. Delay gratification

There was a TED talk on how people who delayed gratification were more likely to succeed. I think there is some merit in this statement; people who can delay immediate gratification can focus better on the bigger picture and not be distracted. Incorporate this as an exercise in your daily life…let someone else have the last donut, don’t smoke that cigarette right now, say no to the extra cheese, don’t have fries with that, let that itch torture you a bit more, run away before climaxing…you get the point. At some point you’ll realize its easier to say no to a lot of things, which means you have more yeses for the right things.

8. Wear light clothes when you can

Its good to have things ventilated. There’s a reason meditation is done in comfortable clothes (or if you see the sadhus if India, in no clothes).

9. Sit with mother nature once in a while

The singing if birds. The crackling of twigs. The sound of wind through the branches. The babbling of a brook. The sound of waves. Just sit and listen sometimes. You’ll feel at peace and calm. And being calm really lets you focus.

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10 Give yourself some buffer time

Before starting something or while ending a work session. Wind down gently, don’t rush into something else. A 5 minute silent breathing exercise helps a lot.

11. Don’t procrastinate the little, unpleasant things that take a minute

Because they will weigh on your mind at some point. Lessen the burden, finish ’em off fast.

12. Exercise your mind everyday

Do some puzzles, do the crossword, engage people in impassioned discussions, get engaged in impassioned discussions, build something creatively, break something creatively. Don’t let your mind idle. (Note: Meditation, or trying to have no thoughts isn’t keeping your mind idle at all. )

13. Exercise your body everyday

You don’t have to be ripped. But it’s important that you’re body is an asset to you, not a liability.

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Bonus: Watch Game of Thrones

This won’t improve focus but its awesome.

Featured photo credit:  Sudden Inspiration via Shutterstock

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Published on April 16, 2019

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

When was the last time you did something for yourself?

Whether it was deciding to treat yourself with a little something or travel for some R&R, how often do you practice self-care?

Well, as good as above sounds, there’s a common misconception that many of us have about self-care: that it’s only about indulgence and enjoyment.

However, self-care goes far beyond indulgence. It’s actually about respecting your mind and body, understanding its limits, and being able to take care of every part of yourself, in a holistic way.

And, you really don’t have to go to extreme measures or do anything specific–like meditating or following a plant based diet–in order to practice self-care. You just have to make sure that what you’re doing is in your best interests.

So how can you make that happen?

Below are a few proven methods that will help you become a better version of you. Follow through with these regularly and you’ll be well on your way to living your very best life.

Listen to Yourself

The bulk of self-care is knowing yourself.

This means knowing your body’s limitations, and being in tune with your feelings, emotions and thoughts. So it’s important, then, to know who you are and what you want to do in life, in order to truly say that you know yourself. 

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What is your purpose?

Have you ever thought about this question?

Your purpose doesn’t have to remain the same throughout your life. What you found a purpose in at age 19 would likely be different at age 49.

In your current situation, think about the different roles that you have – as a working professional, a spouse, a partner, a parent, etc.

Do you feel like you are fulfilling your purpose through any of these roles?

All you have to do is ensure that what you’re chasing is meaningful to you; this will bring focus and motivation as you strive to achieve your goals.

If you have your purpose defined, then that’s awesome! You know what drives you and why.

But, if you don’t feel like you have a purpose nailed down, it’s good to start by asking why.

For example, why are you working in your particular job or industry? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. In which case, you may find yourself not having a direction for where you’re headed in life.

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If you’d like to learn more about finding your purpose, then I recommend you check out this article:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Seek Out Continuous Education

Now, this may seem less common when you think of self-care, but lifelong learning is incredibly useful and an important component of taking care of yourself.

It’s Super Practical

Lifelong learning is extremely practical these days and does not require as much effort as it may have in the past. Long gone are the days when you could only find information on something by visiting a library. In this day of the internet, anything you can imagine is at your fingertips.

You don’t need to physically go to a learning institution to learn. You can watch Youtube videos to learn new skills, take online courses to earn a degree, and scroll through an endless amount of articles, books and journals from reputable news and informative sites.

When you’re constantly pushing yourself to learn and take up new things, your mental health also improves. Research shows that an active and engaged mind is responsible for diminishing age-related memory loss and improves overall cognitive abilities.

Your Confidence Will Skyrocket

You’ll also have improved self worth as it teaches you to step outside of your comfort zone, which will undoubtedly improve your confidence.

You’ll also connect better with others by expanding your knowledge base. Learning exposes you to a multitude of new ideas and perspectives that you may have otherwise never considered. This also increases your adaptability. Whether it’s at work or just wanting to adapt to society, your peers, and loved ones, life long learning prepares you to take on new challenges.

You’ll Be More Desired in the Job Market

Another obvious reason for continuous education, is that your employability will also increase.

With the ever changing economy, and huge influences from technology, social media, science etc., job descriptions today are moving targets. Assignments and roles change so quickly in response to changing business demands, it becomes a Herculean task to keep a job description database current.

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In years past, stability was a characteristic of the world of work. Procedures, information, jobs, and organizations were established and provided continuity. Education was completed in the first 14 to 22 years of one’s life, followed by a long career occasionally punctuated by short-term job training.

Today, however, jobs, companies, and technology are disappearing and being created simultaneously. To remain current and maintain a competitive advantage in the human capital marketplace, an individual is challenged to continually learn.

People return to school at every age to enrich their skills and knowledge for their current positions. Some even prepare themselves for new jobs or career changes, moving them forward into new opportunities and technology.

We can be assured that we will be challenged to continue to learn new tasks and information throughout our lives. Successful careers belong to flexible, curious learners who are prepared for opportunities because they know themselves and where they make their best contribution. As Peter Drucker, the father of modern management stated,

“Knowledge is choice.”

Lifelong learning also increases social awareness and perspective. To genuinely understand and empathize with others, increase social awareness, and foster strong interpersonal relationships, it’s important to seek out new perspectives. Enhancing the skills that positively impact emotional intelligence can bring even greater happiness and success, both personally and at work; and, this is all part of self-care.

Improve Your Habits (Both at Work and at Home)

Now, the last piece of advice I want to introduce to your self-care regimen, is to improve your habits.

Habits define who you are, and are built up over time. You are what you eat is a great example of this. If you make it a habit to eat foods that nourish your body, rather than make your body feel bad, then you will be much healthier overall.

Good Habits Allow You to Reach Your Goals

Since habits dictate your days and nights, such as waking up every morning to get to work before a certain time, or brushing your teeth before bedtime every night, they play a major role in whether we do or do not reach our goals.

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When you form habits that allow you to progress towards your goals, you’re automatically living a purposeful day, everyday.

Habits Make Your Time a Priority

How do you spend your free time? Do you opt to lounge on the couch watching Netflix passively, or do you engage in activities that support your purpose in life?

It’s natural to waste a lot of time during the day, but fostering good habits will make you set a pattern for how you spend your time and give you the choice of what you choose to spend your time on. By improving your habits, you’ll find that you can be a LOT more productive. When you create good habits, you become more efficient with your time and a lot less is wasted.

This in essence creates an overall positive influence on your life, allowing you to treat your mind and body well, which is why improving your habits are so important to self-care.

Your Well Being Comes First

We live in such a fast-paced society, where we are often so caught up in our work, families, maintaining our social lives, our studies and everything in between. It’s an understatement to say that life can get a little overwhelming at times.

If you’ve ever watched the safety video onboard a plane, you’ll know that they always ask for a parent or adult to put on the safety mask first, before tending to the child. This may sound selfish, but the fact is that if you truly want to ensure the child’s safety, then your safety needs to come first so that you can protect and care for the child without complications from your end.

The same goes for self-care. We need to ensure that our well being is priority, so that we can be the best for the people around us.

Listening to yourself, practicing lifelong learning and improving your habits are steps that you can take to ensure you’re constantly in the best state of mind, alongside the indulgence and rest that you reward yourself with.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Raychan on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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