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How To Focus Your Distracted Mind with Adam Gazzaley

Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D. is the David Dolby Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Physiology and Psychiatry at UC San Francisco and the Founder & Executive Director of Neuroscape, a translational neuroscience center engaged in technology creation and scientific research of novel brain assessment and optimization approaches. Dr. Gazzaley is also co-founder and Chief Science Advisor of Akili Interactive, a company developing therapeutic video games [On Fast Company’s 2022 list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies] and JAZZ Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in experiential technology to improve human performance.

He has been a scientific advisor for over a dozen companies including Apple, GE, Nielsen, Deloitte, Janssen, and PepsiCo. He has filed multiple patents – notably his invention of the first video game cleared by the FDA, authored over 160 scientific articles and delivered over 700 invited presentations around the world. He wrote and hosted the nationally televised PBS special, The Distracted Mind with Dr. Adam Gazzaley, and co-authored the 2016 MIT Press book The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World, winner of the 2017 PROSE Award. Dr. Gazzaley is the recipient of the 2015 SfN Science Educator Award, 2020 Global Gaming Citizen Honor and named in Newsweek’s 2021 Inaugural list of America’s Greatest Disruptors. He is a Board of Trustee and Science Council Member and Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences.

 

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How do you focus a distracted mind?

Attention and focus come up a lot in the Kwik Brain community. In the world of dings and pings, staying on task can become increasingly difficult, especially when your to-do list is a mile long. But attention exists to help you not only survive, but to thrive—if it’s trained.

To go in-depth on this topic, I’m thrilled to have Dr. Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D. on our show today. Dr. Gazzaley is the David Dolby Distinguished Professor of Neurology, Physiology, and Psychiatry at UCSF. He’s the founder of Neuroscape, host of a national PBS show, and the co-author of The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World.

It’s impossible to put all of your focus everywhere at the same time. That’s simply not how the brain works. But being able to ignore certain stimuli isn’t a process that comes naturally. You have to learn how to direct where your attention goes. If you’ve been struggling with how to concentrate, focus, and minimize distractions in your daily life, this episode is for you.

***If you’re inspired, I want to invite you to join me in my brand NEW 10-day course, specifically designed to boost your productivity. I know it sounds too good to be true, but I give you step-by-step guides using the accelerated learning model to help you get more done and achieve your goals. Visit http://kwikbrain.com/productivity to join me today.***

"Distraction can decrease your memory, decision making, performance, and empathy."

Dr. Adam Gazzaley

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  • There are two types of attention. Here’s why attention exists and how each type evolved. [2:01]
  • This is how attention functions in the brain and how it changes as you age. [4:38]
  • Distraction happens both externally and internally. But one can be far more debilitating than the other. [7:31]
  • It’s possible to set up your environment to minimize distraction, but that’s not solving the entire attention problem. Here are some things to be aware of. [9:03]
  • Technology is creating a cognitive crisis. This is why it’s important to take care of your brain. [12:30]
  • These are the two elements of goal interference and how you can work to minimize them. [14:13]
  • Instead of multitasking, practice this. [16:01]
  • To learn more, connect with Dr. Gazzaley, here.
  • Get a copy of his book, The Distracted Mind, here.
  • If you liked this episode, be sure to like, share, and leave a review.

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