In this article, we will see how to improve your focus, how to increase your productivity, and how to condition your mind to improve your concentration.
First, let’s try to understand why exactly are we so bad at actually instructing ourselves, why is it that we’re not able to manage our time, why is it that we’re not able to focus?
And the answer to these questions lies in our conditioning that has happened since childhood. We can see that since childhood there has always been an external faculty that has been telling you what to do and when to do it for the first 18-20 years of your life. We’ve got a school that gives us a timetable and tells us that from 9 am to 10 am we’re supposed to learn English from 10 to 11, we’re supposed to learn maths and so on. And the same thing happens in college also when the college gives us a timetable and tells you that you’re supposed to have 75 percent attendance and then when you get employed, there’s a boss who’s going to keep an eye on you. The company tells you that you’re supposed to be there from nine to five, and then you’ve got those annoying peers who often keep an eye on you as to how many breaks you are taking.
So, if you see there has always been an external entity that has been telling you when to do and what to do, as a result of this, we have lost our ability to self-govern ourselves or our ability has degraded to such a large extent that the next time you command your brain to do something, the first response that you get is a big ‘NO’. Thus, practically speaking, our mind has become this notorious monkey that requires an external entity to tell it what to do and when to do it.
Here’s a simple five-step procedure that will help you to condition your mind to focus on something now. The disclaimer over here is that this step-by-step procedure is very easy to understand, but it is very difficult to execute, hence do not expect this to be like an easy ride for you to improve your focus and for you to have this ultimate level of concentration that you wish to have.
1. The first thing that you’re supposed to do is make sure that you have one particular time slot and you reserve this one particular time slot for whatever activity you want to do. This could be your homework. This could be your project work. This could be anything, but this time slot is important. And once you have, let’s say, fixed 9 am to 11 am for studies, now you’re supposed to make sure that you clear out every single possible distraction. For example, if you want to have breakfast, do make sure to schedule breakfast before 9 a.m so that between that time, which is from 9 am to 11 am, you don’t have to get up for breakfast. Make sure that you make all the calls that you need to make sure that you don’t have any other work in the fixed time slot except the studies.
2. The second step would be to get everything that you need at that desk wherein you’re supposed to study so that you don’t have to get up now this includes everything starting from a sharpened pencil to your bottle of water and making sure that you have everything that is needed so that you don’t have to get up during that time slot.
3. Step number three is the most obvious step of all and that would be to put your phone on DND & keep away from other unnecessary gadgets.
4. Let’s move on to step number four and this is by far the most difficult step of all, and here’s where, no matter what happens, you are supposed to be at your desk from 9 am to 11 am for 22 days straight. And here’s where, for the first 10 days your productivity will be ultra-low, but it doesn’t matter you’re supposed to be at your desk, you’re supposed to be sitting at your chair and the moment you do this your battle with the monkey mind begins and here’s where all kinds of thoughts will start coming into your mind and when this happens just let your thoughts flow.
“Blaise Pascal once used to say that most of humanity’s problems stem from the man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
And this experience of yours is a standing example of the same.
Over the course of time. In about five to ten days you will automatically begin to make peace with your thoughts and you will see that slowly and steadily your efficiency is increasing eventually, by the 22nd day, we can bet that you would have reached at least 50% efficiency as in if you sit down for two hours you’ll be able to focus on your work at least for one hour.
5. And after you’re done with all of this, what you’re supposed to do is maintain a progress sheet to write how much work is done on the first day, the second day and so on & so forth until the 22nd day. And if possible follow it all throughout.
Once you start doing this, you will begin to see that you are making progress. Your efficiency is increasing and that will give you the motivation to keep going and once you follow this technique for about 22 days, you will see that by the end of the 22nd day you have cultivated a powerful habit. Now you have disciplined yourself to sit from 9 am to 11 am automatically, your focus will improve, your concentration will improve for those two hours. And once you keep doing this for many things in life, you’ll automatically begin to see that you are making some amazing progress.
Now an important thing to note here is that this technique is not proposed so that you can get your small work done, or you can study better. But the reason why I want you to practice this technique for something as simple as academics is because this technique will teach you three very important life lessons that will help you achieve greatness in life.
1. The first lesson that this technique is going to teach you is to live with your thoughts and because in this world of hustle and bustle we do not spend enough time with ourselves. We always live in a state of misery and the worst part is more often than not we never realize it.
2. The second life skill that this technique will teach you is the art of self-governance. You will learn how you, exactly, take control of your temptations, you will learn how to take control over your distractions and once you start doing this for small things in life automatically, you will begin to prepare yourself for much bigger and much more difficult battles in life.
3. Third and most importantly, this technique will also teach you that greatness takes time at day zero. You will suck regardless of whatever you do if you want to be great at it you have to first learn to suck, because in this world when we get everything within a click of a button, it is very important for our generation to understand that greatness takes time and once you learn all this you will be on your way to greatness!