Where Our Attention Goes, Energy Flows

Posted on November 26, 2018

Scientists argue that our ability to focus is being undermined by the constant digital “information bursts” that surround us in a hyper connected world. In this era of distraction where we are “always on” and diversions are a click away it can become difficult to keep our attention sustained on one task, conversation, or person.

Essential skills required in the workplace today include: critical thinking, problem solving and the ability to acquire and understand complex new information. At the base of all three of these skills sits the ability to focus. 

However, our attentional resources are limited and maintaining concentration for a sustained period of time is not easy.

Knowing how to train this mental muscle is crucial.

There are two categories of distraction: ‘inner’ distractions and ‘outer’ distractions. So whether it’s the disempowering internal narratives we tell ourselves from time to time, poor motivation or the buzzing of emails, notifications and messages, the key to recapturing and reclaiming our focus is being fully engaged and mindfully present in the current moment.

Staying engaged in the here-and-now keeps our attention sharp and our mental resources honed in on the details that really matter.

Here are some practices you can try out today to fine-tune your focus!

Practice Mindfulness: when you notice your thoughts wandering to ruminations on the past or concerns about the future, bring awareness to your breath. Follow your breath as you inhale and exhale for 3 deep breaths.

Find meaning in your task: reflecting on and connecting with why a particular task is important to you helps increase motivation as well as attention; drawing energy from your values and sense of purpose.

Activate blocking apps like ‘clearlock’: design short periods of time for being ‘unplugged’ in your day by temporarily blocking distracting apps. This will help you to stay energised and excited about your work.

Take a walk and engage your senses: giving your brain a break by going for a walk is great for your wellbeing, promotes inner calm and boosts creativity!

Organise your music library: research from the field of neuroergonomics has found that listening to music while you work is a great way to keep you focused while at the same time giving your brain enough stimuli that it doesn’t actively look for distractions.

Where our attention goes, energy flows.

By shifting our focus away from distraction and into the present moment as a source of peace, meaning, silence, energy or flow we direct our energy back to task at hand, in an engaged and focused way.

Find out just how strong your mental focus is right now by taking this test! 

https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2010/06/07/technology/20100607-distraction-filtering-demo.html#

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