From ADHD To Razorsharp Focus And Concentration

Coaching And NLP To Improve Your Focus And Concentrate Better

Rocking That T-sh… Oh Look A Squirrell!

Studies show that people regularly distracted by incoming emails, phone calls, etc. see a 10 point drop in their IQs. What’s the impact of a 10-point drop? The same as losing a night of sleep. More than twice the effect of smoking marijuana!

Do you ever find it hard to focus and concentrate?

In the age of information overload, digital madness, ADHD, and everything going at a ridiculous speed all the time, including our brain… it can be hard to keep focus sometimes.

I was talking to a coaching client yesterday about the fact that even when we’re off work, we can’t seem to sit down and just watch a movie and relax any more. We’ve to be twitting, texting, reading, eating, drinking, and/or smoking something at the same time. Or else we feel like we should be doing something…

Then my client said “you’re right, we’ve become multitasking hoes”, yet we get nothing much from it, but a whole lot of stress.

“Multitasking hoes” – gotta love the colorfulness of my clients!

But the truth is that if you wanna do great things in life, if you have goals and dreams you want to accomplish, things you want to do… your ability to focus and concentrate is CRITICAL.

For me, whether it’s getting clear on my goals, laying out a new business strategy, developing a new coaching program, writing a new blog post… I make it a priority to do things that get my creative juices flowing and feed my ability to focus and concentrate.

Here’s 10 tips to help you improve your focus, concentrate better for longer, and increase your productivity. If I ever neglect to do follow these, I find I’m “all over the shop”!:

1# REALLY LISTEN Our attention is so closely connected your brain’s wiring it becomes difficult to be aware of and to recognize our own patterns of giving attention. Patterns we’ve been wiring into our brain since birth. But we can mindfully rewire our brain to do to pay attention better and for longer. Start by listening to people. Like, really listening. Listen to understand, not just to respond. With practice you’ll find your brain becoming more flexible and your focus improving.

2# BE RELIGIOUS ABOUT BREAKFAST Start your day with a good breakfast. Natural Greek yogurt mixed with blueberries and walnuts with a sprinkle of cinnamon – this is packed with brain fueling nutrients. If you eat poor foods such as coffee and a doughnut, don’t be too surprised if you feel sluggish and make poor food choices later in the day. Eat brain foods daily, such as: walnuts, almonds, blueberries, celery, cocoa, tomatoes, wild salmon, leafy greens, grapes, red or purple, flax (seeds or oil), green tea.

3# STAND UP FOR YOUR BRAIN The quickest and simplest way to increase your brain power is by… standing up and walking around. This quickly increases blood flow and oxygen supply to our neurons. More oxygen equals better quality thoughts. Do some form of exercise daily, even if it’s a brisk walk outdoors. Just by standing up your memory increases by 10%! Stand up to take phone calls and/or to help you memorize and retain information more easily.

4# REMOVE ALL DISTRACTIONS When you study, you should really focus all your attention on studying. When on the phone, you should focus all your attention on listening. When writing an essay, a business project, or a blog post… all your attention should be on the task at hand. In NLP we say “where attention goes, energy flows”. Help yourself by removing all distractions, such as tv, phones, email, iPods from the room, or remove yourself to another location if necessary. By giving the task at hand your full attention, your productivity will soar.

5# TAKE A BRAIN BREAK The human brain is easily distracted. Every 3.5 seconds or so, our attention is drawn away from the task at hand. We also need a brain break every 11 to 20 minutes depending on our age. Our concentration span is limited and that limit is age-dependent. For people over the age of 20, it’s good to take a short break every 20 minutes. For younger people, add two to your age and that’s the length of your concentration span. So for example, a ten-year-old should take a break every 12 minutes and a 15-year-old should take a break every 17 minutes, and so on. The break doesn’t have to be long. 30 seconds or one minute of standing up, walking around the room, or doing some stretches can be really beneficial in giving your brain the break that it needs and allowing you to concentrate again.

6# LEARN THE ART OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING Make a list of clear goals/tasks you want to achieve and post it next to your bed, on your fridge, or on your bathroom mirror so that you see it many times each day. Just by seeing it many times, the frontal cortex of your brain will take steps to make those goals come into reality. In addition, repeated exposure to these written goals will fulfill another bit of important advice: Never Give Up! A list is not enough though, you must also prioritize. Ask yourself: what needs to get done today? And what can wait?

7# USE YOUR VAKS NLP introduced the idea of modalities. Visual, auditory, and kinesthetic-and this powerful idea has spread through education, business, and many other fields. Information can enter the brain following 3 highways or neural tracks. We can learn something by seeing it, hearing it, or doing it. Most people tend to have one dominant modality, but it is when we engage multiple neural tracks into the brain that we can really begin to learn more effectively. For example, running a finger across the page while you read can increase memory by 25% because it opens up the kinesthetic neural pathways. Talking aloud while you study, and engaging the auditory pathways can increase retention of the material by as much as 400%! Taking notes as you listen to a lecture increases retention by 30% even if you never look at your notes again!

8# GO BAROQUE Listening to one particular type of music can be highly beneficial when studying, whether in school or at the office. Many research studies have shown that baroque music with a tempo of 55-70 bpm can assist in concentration and memory retention. The music can affect the heart rate, which in turn affects the circadian rhythms of the brain and can change the listener’s brainwaves from Beta (energetic state) into Alpha (relaxed state) which is more suitable for learning. Whether you like it or not, baroque’s the new rock ‘n’ roll!

9# FLASHCARD IT Flashcards are an excellent way to study as they engage the natural stimulus-response system of the brain. By writing a cue on one side and detailed information on the other side, you can easily review a large amount of material quickly. For example, in language learning you can write English on one side and Italian on the other. Flashcards also have the advantage that you can change the order of the cards and carry them around easily in your pocket. I personally use flashcards and colour pens to help me learn and memorize information more easily and quickly.

10# HIT THE HAY Getting enough good quality sleep is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. Without it, if you’re a student you’ll forget a lot of what you learned during last night’s cram session. If you’re an office worker, your productivity will suffer. If you’re a mum, you’ll be forgetful, irritable, moody, and lethargic, amongst other things. Sleep is essential in the formation of long-term memories, as well as for optimal focus and concentration, so staying up late to study, read, watch tv, or finish a project may not always be the best way to go about it.

So there you have it, 10 smashing tips straight from my brain to yours, to help you develop razor-sharp focus and get more stuff done!

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  1. Love the term ‘multi-tasking hoes’… great name for what we have all become definitely and really appreciated your tips as they are all really important… its amazing how many of them can slip away in real life.

    Got any tips on more tips on NOT becoming a multi-tasking hoe would love to hear them.

  2. Yes Laura, learning to plan for what you want to happen 🙂
    A lot of us go from day to day letting life happen to us.
    We seem to have forgotten the importance of planning.
    When you know exactly what needs to be done, where, when, with whom, and what for…
    now it’s just a matter of staying focused. And too much coffee won’t help here.. 😉
    You gotta train your brain to stay focused for longer. There’s scientific evidence that depending on age, our brain seeks rest every 20-30mins or so.
    So, stay focused for 30, rest for 5, stay focused for 30, rest for 5. Try it out and let me know what happens!

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