Learn how to FOCUS. It will change your LIFE!
Updated: May 20, 2020
Focus. We are all aware of this word’s literal meaning but know a little about its tremendous significance. Since our childhood, we have been asked by our parents and teachers to focus, be it on our studies or a specific task. But has anyone ever taught us how to do it or emphasized its importance? They might have pointed it out casually here and there, that too, in a manner of scolding. This has led us to take it even more casually in our lives!
‘Tomorrow’s an important exam, please be focused! Stop goofing around’. My mother used to tell me all the time. The word is so lost in this sentence, that even if I listen to the recording multiple times, I would not care about its existence.
A few years back, I stumbled upon an article highlighting the importance of focused attention. I remember being so captivated by the idea, that I made a point in my mind to practice focus each and every moment of my life. Let me give you some pointers on the benefits of it.
1) Increased Productivity: This is an easy one. If your brain is completely focused on an activity, you are able to get more done, in a lesser amount of time.
2) Hard-wired Brain Patterns: Focus is a skill, the more you practise, the better you get at it. In a few weeks, your brain would get an upgrade, and would hard-wire this skill into your system. How cool is that!
3) Meditativeness of Mind: This is slightly more important, than heightened productivity. If you have heard of the term ‘meditation’, there is no better way to do it. You need not sit in a dark room with your eyes closed. Focus is meditation.
4) Getting Rid of Negative Thought Patterns: If you are someone struggling with negative thought patterns, focus can help you get rid of them. Continuously focusing on a task, even with a bombardment of negative thoughts in your head, would diminish their amplitude, and over time, completely eliminate them.
Now that we know how powerful focused attention can be, let’s look at the HOW. How do you focus? We live in a digital world, with constant stimulus from the outer environment. Just take a look at your life. Are you practicing focus or distraction every moment? You start with a task, and then check your phone, then, shift your focus again, and the next thing you know, an exciting WhatsApp text is staring at your face.
If you look closely enough, you are taking your attention from one object to another, every minute. If you practice such level of distraction, how do you plan on being a focused person ever? What’s worse is that you are literally teaching your brain the skill of ‘non-focus’. Now, it would repeat the same behavior over and over again, until you find yourself being unable to focus on anything! I don’t know about you, but this would be pretty scary condition for me.
Over time, I have come up with some simple and effective strategies, that can help you in this arduous journey right away.
1) Visualization: Visualize any specific thing or a person for a prolonged period in your mind. It might be your recent crush or a car that you fancy! Set an alarm for 10 minutes in your phone. Sit with your eyes closed and visualize every little detail related to the object, until the alarm goes off!
2) Reading: Pick up a blog, a book or a comic! Basically, anything you enjoy. It must be a minimum of 15 minutes read. Make it a point to finish the read, without looking at your phone or thinking about anything else! You can do it multiple times a day, and gradually increase your time of focus.
3) Inculcate a Positive Habit: Let’s say you want to feel more gratitude in your life. Go through the day, focusing on expressing gratitude for every small blessing in your life. You can emulate this for any behavior you want to instill in your life.
4) Listening: You are listening to your favorite song! But are you really listening to it? Or are you thinking about a person or a situation related to it? Or you might even be lost in completely unrelated thoughts? Next time, you listen to a song, listen to it carefully! Listen to it, as if your life depends on it. Focus on every beat and word, every tiny detail that makes it your favorite song! This also applies to listening to people during a conversation, unless they are talking about a boring subject, of course!
These tips would surely get you started on the awesome journey of focus! Once, you begin to witness the amazing results, you would not think about going back to your previous self! Your brain would automatically set you on the path of unwavering focus. You would be able to accomplish more, be more present and enjoy a hell lot more. Focused attention would take your life from, ‘work hard, party harder’ to ‘work easy, and party mind-blowingly harder’.