By Dr. Evian Gordon, MD, PhD on Thu, Aug 29, 2019
Focus is the conscious thinking capacity you need to complete a selective task while you ignore distractions around you. Yet for many of us, our brain’s brain’s ability to sustain focus is limited and we are easily distracted. For example, if you’re having a conversation on the phone your brain may be limiting your attention to sound rather than sight.
So how can you learn to stay focused at work and at home? The answer lies in understanding what’s making it difficult for your unique brain capacities and mental health challenges to focus, and training your brain to be “in the moment” using a “Focus Pathway”.
What affects our ability to focus?
In a time where technology rules our everyday lives, it can become increasingly difficult to stay focused on one particular task. Constant distractions derail task closure. The average attention span for adults is 10 to 20 minutes and 3 to 4 hours a day if well rested and you have trained your focus habit. Inadequate sleep and negativity can lead to increased stress and anxiety which further limits our ability to stay focused and productive.
So how can we learn to be more focused and increase our task closure?
The answer lies in using a Focus Pathway. This involves immersively bringing together key 5 steps that together are more likely to expand your focus, than either of these behavior change steps alone.
The Focus Pathway consists of five steps:
- Readiness: Before you begin your expand focus habit journey, you must be willing to make the change. Are you unambiguously ready and willing to put in the time and effort to increase your focus?
- Select: What’s your goal? Is it to complete a certain number of work projects each week? To increase your attention during meetings? Choose a goal you want to work toward achieving.
- Assess your key brain capacities, including your ability to focus.
- Train with “deliberate practice”. This includes small daily steps of training at least 10 minutes a day for a “30 training days challenge.” Be in the moment and train immersively. Start with the end in mind! That means that you use the training tools as “simulations” to become better at task closure! Training is not about going through the motions and infotainment. That being said, improving yourself is the greatest fun.
- Track. If you don't measure it you won't manage it. Tracking what is working for you will increase your commitment, presence, motivation and confidence to get the new habit neural networks wired together. And bringing the habit of focused task closure into your daily life.
The path to building a new habit can be daunting. This is why 80 percent of those who set out to change something, ultimately fail. However, by understanding your strengths and weaknesses and training yourself to be in the moment, you will be increasingly able to tune in to process both the conscious spoken details and the non-conscious, non-verbal cues to stay focused and increase task closure.
Join the 20% who succeed in generating a sustainable new habit and master your focus for all tasks at work. To learn more about improving focus and the Focus Pathway, register for our webinar replay!