Ashley Sanford: 6 Ways to Achieve Monk-like Focus

By Ashley Sanford, The Mind Unleashed, May 16, 2015

Focus can be like a cheating friend. You want it to be there for you all the time, but when you need it most, it betrays you leaving you lost and confused. If only we had control over focus. Sometimes, it seems to have a mind and moods of its own.

Is there are way to capture this betraying beast? I believe so.

After all, monks are believed to have a razor-sharp focus (and some stories even tell tales of supernatural things they can achieve from it). Most of us don’t want any supernatural power. We simply want focus when we are working!

Thanks to the age of technology, digital devices have done much harm to this traitorous trait called “focus”. Let’s observe some best practices that might be able to capture this beast once and for all.

Get Rid of Distractions: You can’t blame focus for betraying you when you keep betraying it with other things surrounding you. Quit checking your email, typing text messages, or using the social media! Sometimes, the surrounding noise or people also create distractions. 

Monks practice focus through isolation (heck, they look for the most remote mountains for it!). To cultivate focus, you need to free yourself form all possible distractions. Turn off the phone, close your doors/windows, and create a noise-free and distraction-free environment. If the noise around you un-avoidable, a pair of earplugs or earphones should help to reduce the noise. Sometimes people prefer listening to soft music to override the disturbing noise.

Shut the Mental Chatter:Very often, the distraction is in our mind. To quiet down your mental chatter, you will need to learn the art of “clearing you mind” through meditative techniques. Deep breathing also helps to avoid this problem. Some people prefer journaling their thoughts to get rid of “inner monologue”. Also, avoid stimulants (coffee, tea, soda, cigarettes, etc.) that will augment this problem.

Take a Break: Sometimes, the jumble in our head needs to be soothed with a break. We lose concentration after long periods of time due to information overload. A clear focus uses the logical side of the brain which often has a limited capacity. Once you have reached that threshold, going out for some fresh air, relaxing, taking a walk, or consuming healthy food should revitalize you before you go back to your work.

Schedule Your Work: With a clear and concise schedule in mind, you will know exactly what you should be doing at what time. Not having a clear schedule will prevent you from having focus because you have no set target(s)or deadline(s) for your work.

For example, knowing that you have only 2 more hours to complete a task will ensure that you try your level best to complete the task before those two hours are up. Also, knowing exactly when to take a break and perform other activities – not related to work — will allow you to put off those distractions until your scheduled break time.

Respect Your Body’s Needs: One of the major reasons why people lack focus in their daily lives is because they don’t pay attention to their bodily needs. Some people fail to recognize the fact that their body has an internal clock of its own. Disrupting your body’s natural cycle will disturb its performance.

Get plenty of rest during night-time and make sure you fulfill the 7-9 sleeping period, depending on what your body needs. Not getting enough rest or sleep will result in groggy thought processes because the mind and body want to “take flight” from the strenuous situation.

Practice Flow: Flow is defined as mental state during which a person is completely absorbed in what he is doing. Learn more about Finding Flow in This Age of Distraction at surlymuse.

About the Author: Ashley Sanford leads the team of content developers at Apart from content development, she’s also fairly talented at art and designs, and she loves to roam Art museums in her country.

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