KWIK BRAIN

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October 11, 2017

How to Stay Focused (and Fix a Wandering Mind)

If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them.

Jim Kwik

How do you focus and tame a wandering mind? In this episode, I share a lesson from our 30-day Kwik Focus Blueprint on setting up your environment to trigger a focus state.

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We all struggle to maintain focus in our daily lives. But you can set up your environment to naturally trigger a focus state in yourself.This extra-special episode is a lesson taken from our brand-new program, the Kwik Focus Blueprint.

Show Notes

  • This 30-day program is a system for busy people who want to master their attention and get ahead in a world of distraction. In just 10 - 15 minutes a day, I teach you how to declutter your mind and triple your focus and concentration.
  • If you enjoy this episode, you can get all 30 training lessons, here, at 50% off as a thank you for being a Kwik Brain listener.
  • Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world, so transforming your environment can do wonders for your focus.
  • Think about how you feel when you clean your desk or laptop.
  • One of my favorite books on this topic is Organizing from the Inside Out, second edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life.
  • For creative pursuits, a cluttered environment can stimulate new thoughts. But when it comes to your work/study environment, excess things in your surroundings can negatively impact your focus and ability to process information.
  • A Princeton University study found that physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, which results in decreased performance and increased anxiety and stress levels.
  • A UCLA study of families found that all the mothers’ stress hormones spiked when dealing with clutter in their environment.
  • Like multitasking, physical clutter overloads your senses, increases stress, and impairs your peace of mind.

How to Reduce Clutter in Your Environment

Apply constraints of space and time

  • When you have a short runway, it forces you to have clarity and creativity. It also forces you to concentrate and commit.
  • Try limiting the number of magazines or notebooks in your environment, or how many tabs you have open in your browser.
  • Parkinson’s Law states that we fill the time with what’s available to us. The same applies to space. The less room you have, the less room you’ll have for clutter.
  • Schedule regular reviews of your environment. Take the time to clean, organize, and discard things from your workspace each week or month.

Control your places and devices

  • Our work habits are often related to external cues.
  • By associating certain places with certain tasks, you condition your brain into entering flow state faster.
  • Designate specific areas and specific devices to different types of work.
  • Productivity expert Julia Roy recommends using a designated tablet for entertainment and restricting your work laptop to professional activities. You can learn more in Kwik Brain 018: Fast Focus & Productivity with Julia Roy.

Design for laziness

  • Habits expert Dr. B.J. Fogg recommends making it difficult to do the things that will distract you.
  • According to a UC Irvine study, it can take up to 20 minutes to recover from a single distraction.
  • Unplug your TV. Put your phone in a drawer. Turn off the wifi when you’re writing.
  • A Harvard Business Review study found that workers who were able to control their environment had better focus and performed better.
  • Put a sign outside of your office that tells people you’re busy to avoid distractions.

Be conscious of the lighting

  • Lighting impacts your productivity because your eyes are very sensitive.
  • Indirect sunlight is best for establishing consistent focus and sleep patterns.
  • Be wary of harsh fluorescent lights and opt for light that doesn’t strain your eyes if you can.

Pay attention to the sound

  • Reduce distracting noises by asking people to be quiet or using noise-canceling headphones.
  • Try creating a playlist of ‘focus music,’ ideally with acoustic songs and few lyrics.
  • According to The New York Times, 15 – 30 minutes of the right music can help you regain your concentration.

Have a focus friend

  • The people you spend time with affect your focus and concentration.
  • The Hawthorne Effect states that being observed affects your behavior. So being watched while working can lead to a productivity boost.
  • Inviting a focused, productive person to work with you can help increase your focus. You don’t have to be collaborating but need to be working in the same environment.

Remember: your focus is like a muscle. It grows stronger and sharper with the right training!

Do you want more focus training? I would be honored to be your focus coach! The Kwik Focus Blueprint is a 30-day program designed to train your focus so you can achieve your biggest goals...and as a thank you for listening to our podcast, you can get it now for 50% off.

What's Next?

How to Stay Focused (and Fix a Wandering Mind)

How to Stay Focused (and Fix a Wandering Mind)

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