Kwik Brain 040: How To Stay Focused (And Fix A Wandering Mind)

  • October 11, 2017
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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.

Show Notes

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.

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: 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.

Want to be notified when I release new episodes? Subscribe on iTunes and join our private #KwikBrain community.

Like this episode? Please share it with the hashtag #KwikBrain! My podcast is ad-free ONLY because you share my work!

About The Author

Jim Kwik

I’m Jim Kwik. I’m here to teach you HOW to learn so you can work your brain to reach your full potential! My life’s passion and mission are to create a smarter and more caring world by giving you your power back.

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