Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Getting More Out of your Day with refined focus techniques

Stumbled upon this article from psychcentral today; believe it will be helpful to everyone trying to juggle a difficult schedule and of particular benefit to caregivers who are being pulled in a dozen directions every day.  Enjoy:

By:  By  
Associate Editor

Pay Attention! 3 Tips For Finding Focus Every Day

Pay Attention! 3 Tips For Finding Focus Every Day

Information opens up new worlds. It helps us make new connections. And it certainly sparks ideas. But too much information also eats up our attention.
In 1971, social scientist Herbert Simon noted: “What information consumes is rather obvious: It consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”
And that’s the opposite of what you want when you’re trying to give your ideas life. The ability to pay attention is a vital asset in helping us produce meaningful work. It gives us a competitive edge in today’s distraction-driven world.
In Manage Your Day-To-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mindedited by Jocelyn K. Glei, a group of authors and thought leaders share their strategies for creating amid a busy, buzzing world. Below are several tips from this valuable book.
Focus Block Method
This tip comes from Cal Newport, a professor at Georgetown University and author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You. He suggests creating focus blocks, or pre-scheduled appointments to focus on your meaningful projects.
In other words, on most days, you block off a substantial amount of time on your calendar to perform creative projects, uninterrupted. Think of focus blocks as a work meeting. It’s non-negotiable time.
So, as Newport writes, if someone tries to make an appointment with you during your focus block, you can say you’re already booked. If someone says you’re not responding to email fast enough, he says, you have a good excuse: “I was booked all morning and am just seeing this now.”
At first working for long periods of time can be tough. Newport suggests starting with small blocks of focused time, such as an hour. Then add 15 minutes to each block every two weeks. During that time, focus solely on your work – no social media or email or other distractions.
If you think online distractions will tempt you, work with pen and paper, Newport says. And try a change in scenery, such as a different room in your home or the library. (Laura Vanderkam thinks of her daily trips to the library as a mini-writing retreat.)
Positive Distractions
E.B. White has said, “Creation is in part merely the business of forgoing the great and small distractions.” Fortunately, you don’t have to eliminate all distractions. You can combat bad distractions with good ones, according to Erin Rooney Doland, editor-in-chief of the blog and author of the book Unclutter Your Life in One Week.Positive distractions can include setting a timer for a task, or giving yourself an unrelated reward for an accomplishment, she writes. For instance, after finishing a project, you might get something to eat or drink from the break room.
A Break For Your Brain

Photo Credit:  Psych Central

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