If you saw someone who was really really out of shape. And if I were to ask you how do you think this happened? You’d most likely say, hmm they probably didn’t get enough exercise and they probably ate to much junk food Well – the same thing applies to focus. If you’re someone who can barely focus for more than 5 minutes. If you’re getting urges to click away from this article already.
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Then you’re basically in the same position. But instead of your body that’s in an unhealthy state, it’s your mind. If you want to fix this all you have to do is take care of your mind the same way you would take care of your body in order to get in shape.
There are essentially only 2 things that you have to do. ___________________________________________________________________________________ The first is to get regular exercise for your mind.
Just like how when you go to the gym you have to lift heavy weights to increase your physical strength. When you want to improve your mental strength, you must force yourself to do something that requires a lot of focus and mental energy. Such as reading a book / studying / working / writing / or even practicing a skill. It varies from person to person, but the rule of thumb is that any task that you are currently having issues focusing on is a task that you can train with. Once you’ve decided which task to train with you need to figure out your current strength level for this task.
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Let’s say you decide to train by reading a book. Your next step is to set a timer and see how long you can read, before you start getting extreme urges to check your phone or to do something else. Once that happens, stop the timer and make a note of that time. This is your current focus strength level. Let me know where you currently stand in the comments down below I’m a bit curious.
Now that you know where your current level is at, you need to start working out your mind on a regular basis. You need to set aside a block of time everyday just for this focus training. Just like how you would set aside a block of time just to workout at the gym.
Your job is to try to do 5 sets of this task everyday, and try to do it for slightly longer than your current strength level. So if you’re currently getting urges at 5 minutes when reading then just aim to read for 5 and a half minutes or even six minutes.
Once you do, you can take a little break and play on your phone for like one or two minutes just like how you would rest a bit between doing sets in the gym and then you would go back to reading for the next set. And you repeat the process over at least 5 times. Do this everyday and at the end of the week, test your focus strength level again test to see how long you can read before getting strong urges to do something else. You should see a gradual increase in this number over time if you are consistent with your workouts. You should also change the exercises from time to time.
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Instead of reading you can choose to focus on studying or writing or if you really want to strengthen those focus muscles you can try and solve some problems.
Which is why today’s episode was brought to you with the help of the guys at Brilliant. Brilliant offers a wide range of content from interactive courses on mathematical fundamentals to scientific thinking to programming and even machine learning. They teach by putting a focus on problem solving where you solve fun and interactive problems by yourself to drill in the lessons. Personally I’ve been learning by using the Logic section of their platform.
I have a strong belief that one should hone their logic skills as it makes it easier to make the right choices in life and to see the truth that exists in the world. Brilliant’s logic course helps you develop the critical skills necessary to discern the truth. If you’re looking for a great way to strength train your focus and also to improve your skills then I highly suggest you to go to www.Brilliant.org/improvementpill to sign up for a free trial – the first 200 people to sign up will get 20% off the annual Premium subscription.
Now back to the topic at hand. The best way to train your focus muscles is by building a habit that automatically does it for you. For example: I don’t need to set aside time everyday to go to the mental gym because I’m writing everyday for roughly 3 hours. I’ll usually write for 30 minutes or so and then take a break and then go back to writing. So basically I am training and maintaining the health of my focus muscles because of this habit.
This is something that you should consider doing when you get your focus strength level to at least 10 minutes. Because at that point you can start getting work done.
_________________________________________________________________________________ The second thing you have to do to improve your focus is to fix your diet. See we consume food with our bodies but we consume content with our minds. Delicious, high calorie, extra sweet foods are the junk foods of the physical world.
Which means that short, extra stimulating, fun to watch pieces of content are the junk foods of the mental world. It’s fine to enjoy it every once in a while, you could even do it everyday. But if it’s the ONLY thing that you consume then your attention span will shrink to mere seconds.
The primary source of this junk food is social media. A study found that on average people only spend about 10 seconds on each post on Instagram.
Other social media platforms like twitter, facebook, tiktok, and even reddit probably fare the same. It’s all content that we spend mere seconds on. Even longer form content like videos on YouTube fall victim to this. Although the problem here is stimulation. Many of the videos that go viral have tons of edits and sound effects, they cut to a new scene every 5 seconds, these are videos that we watch because of the stimulation it brings the endless novelty releases a ton of dopamine in our brain causing us to want to watch more all while decreasing our ability to focus on less stimulating things in general.
What you want to do is consume content that is long with little stimulation. A great example of this are education videos like Ted-Talks and interviews. These are pieces of content that are slow paced and focus on only a few topics throughout their entirety which make them a good addition to your mental diet. Other variations of content such as audio books, blog posts, podcasts, and even documentaries are healthy as well. What you want to do is make sure that you are consuming some content in these forms on a daily basis and slowly try to aim for it to be at least half of what you consume over time.
Again it’s totally fine to use social media on a daily basis, but you need to balance it with some healthier content consumption. Another important thing to add is when consume content you have to try your best not to multi-task. Because checking social media on your phone while watching a Ted-Talk is equivalent to eating a cake while eating a salad. It’s not going to help at all. And when you consume content you should try your best to finish whatever you start.
Make a habit of reading the entire article. Or watching the entire video. Or finishing the entire chapter. This will allow you to train those focus muscles even outside of the mental gym. And that’s it, the solution to improving your focus depends on how much you train your focus muscles and also what sort of content you consume on a daily basis.
There really isn’t a shortcut, just like how there isn’t a shortcut with losing weight it’s an ongoing battle and a lifestyle change that you have to make.
I hope this article was helpful and besides that guys stay tuned..