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Lose that Scatter Brain Forever With These Neat Tricks

Have trouble concentrating? Try these top tips to hone your focus.

Gretchen Rubin

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We all know the feeling of being overwhelmed by distractions. Too many things clamour for your attention. People are trying to reach you by phone, email, text, Twitter, or old-fashioned yelling up the stairs.

Colleagues interrupt. You need to update, check in, post, or ping. Ads jump at you from the most unlikely places. Devices buzz, ring, chirp, and vibrate.

If meditation isn’t for you, there are still steps you might consider to quiet the buzz in your brain. In addition to feeling calmer and more focused, you’ll probably be more efficient, too, since studies prove that people aren’t very good at thinking about two things at once.

In fact, once interrupted, it takes about 15 minutes to resume the necessary concentration for a serious mental task.

Related: Why Both Brain Strategic Marketing Is Insane Brilliance

Consider taking these steps to power up your focus

  • If you keep the TV, radio, or music turned on in the background while you’re getting dressed, for example – turn it off. Some people love background noise, but I find it very draining.
  • I have a sticky note in my bedroom that reads, ‘Quiet mind’. Whenever I see it, I drop my shoulders, relax my jaw, and try to smooth out my thoughts. It actually works.
  • Organise space so it’s attractive, well organised, and well lit. One of my most important secrets of adulthood: Outer order contributes to inner calm.
  • Cut down on the multi-tasking. Don’t talk on the phone while you’re doing dishes, don’t check your email while you listen to a conference call, don’t sort the mail while your child explains the school project that’s due next week.
  • Turn your cell phone ringer off. Hearing your cell phone ring – or even imagining that you’re hearing it ring – is a big source of jumpiness.
  • Take a break from doing errands. Keep a list, but don’t try to cram them in throughout your day.
  • Use the Internet only to look up specific pieces of information; no jumping from link to link, no browsing.
  • Turn off your email for some parts of the day.
  • Stop counting. Avoid looking at clocks, contracts, bank statements, bathroom scales, or anything to do with numbers.
  • Exercise. If I don’t exercise regularly, I’m too jumpy and restless to sit still and concentrate.
  • Flee temptation. I find it hard to work in my home office, because my family, the phone, my email, and the Internet constantly beguile me away from my work. So when I have serious writing to do, I go to a library near my apartment which has a study room with a strict rule of silence.

It’s important to have space in which to think. Yesterday, I overheard someone complain, “My phone was dead, so I was so bored during my cab ride home. I just had to sit there.”

Don’t complain about the quiet, embrace it. Your mind will thank you.

Related: Why Multitasking Isn’t Much Good To Your Brain

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Gretchen Craft Rubin (born Kansas City, Missouri) is an American author, blogger and speaker.[1] She is author of the best selling The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, along with her follow up Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life. Her first book, Power Money Fame Sex: A User’s Guide, parodied self-help books by analyzing and exposing the techniques used to exploit those who strive for those worldly ambitions.

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Self Development

How You Can Make Failing Part Of Your Growth Strategy

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

Entrepreneur

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The concept of ‘fail forward’ basically means that it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from your mistakes. Once you shift your mindset regarding failure, it becomes an asset to your growth. What’s not to like about learning?

Here’s how you can make failing forward part of your growth strategy.

1. Take risks

If it’s okay to fail as long as you learn from it, then it’s okay to embrace the idea of taking more risks. Try new things and see if they’ll work. If they don’t, then at least you’ve tried and learnt.

Related: Flourishing Through Failure And Finding Fortune

2. Learn constantly

Failing and learning shouldn’t be one-offs or isolated incidents. They should weave together in a constant stream of learning that builds and rewards as we move forward. That way, we can improve and eventually succeed more often than we fail.

3. Search and reapply

Learn from each other’s mistakes. Marketing is a spectator sport — you can learn from watching each other’s brand activities — both the wins and losses.

4. Accept failure

This one is the hardest step. It’s not easy to fail. It’s not something we’re taught to do. It distracts us from our mission and it takes time away from being successful. Or does it? If you start failing forward daily, not only for yourself, but for your teams as well, you will create an environment where failing forward is accepted and embraced as part of a learning culture that seeks continuous improvement. That improvement includes actively learning from your individual and collective mistakes.

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Self Development

Listening To These 8 Audiobooks On Success Is A Better Use Of Your Long Commute

Commuting is mostly just unpaid work, unless you make an effort to learn something along the way.

John Boitnott

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Commutes are getting longer, and in some cities they’re up to two hours each way. I have a friend in Los Angeles who does this. He passes the time with audiobooks. Now that’s still a lot of time to be stuck in transit, but he doesn’t view it that way. He says it allows him plenty of time to feed his personal and professional goals.

I’ve spent years listening to literature in the car while commuting, but somewhere along the line I switched over to books on business and personal improvement. I mostly gravitated toward amazing people who built their success from scratch and who experienced tremendous hardship. It stands to reason that if you’re dealing with hardships like a long commute, it’s important to hear motivational words that can help you transcend the difficulties.

Here are eight audiobooks that will help grow your success, both personal and professional, on your next commute:

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Self Development

3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

Erik Kruger

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3 Questions To Guide You To Success In 2018

Goal setting as a concept makes perfect sense. At the most basic level you decide on the destination and then plot the way to get there. But as with many things, we like to overcomplicate that which should be simple.

Before you know it, you end up with 2 big goals in 15 different areas of your life and 100 micro goals that will help you reach your 30 big goals.

Complicating something simple. Some of the biggest obstacles to people in reaching their goals are:

  • The overestimate the effort it will take to achieve those goals
  • They want to go from 0-100km/h in the blink of an eye
  • Life is dynamic and static goals often do not make sense
  • They get so entrenched in the day to day running of things that goals get pushed aside.

What if instead of goals, we just focused on giving our best every day?

Of course, you still want to have an indication of where you are going.

But, if you are giving your 100% every day then you can forego the micro goals for a better way of calibrating your compass… using questions.

Related: Goal Setting Guide

I suggest you ask yourself these three questions regularly:

1. What does better look like?

The question at the heart of development and incremental improvement. This question allows you some creative space in which you can imagine a better future.

  • What does better health look like?
  • What does a better business look like?
  • What does better customer service look like?
  • What does better leadership look like?

By reflecting on this question, you materialise the gap between where you are and where you could be. Now, the only thing that is left is to align your daily actions with the better future you imagined.

2. What can I control?

Borrowed from Stoicism this question highlights the power of decision in your life. Epictetus said we should always be asking ourselves: “Is this something that is, or is not, in my control?”

Once you ask this of yourself regularly you will feel more in control of your life and more in control of your business.

Why?

Because your focus is solely on the things that you can influence. It restores the belief that you can actually impact the world around you in a meaningful way.

3. Was I impeccable with my actions today?

One inherent flaw with goal setting is that the goal setter often feels judged. As if we need more of that. In addition to the constant negative self-talk we have to endure we now have an additional source of judgement – whether we reached our goals or not.

As we discovered in question #2 We cannot control everything. Most of the goals we set have some external component to it. Some component that we cannot control. Yet, we act like we can.

So, instead of judging yourself, commit to giving your best every single day.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win


Accountability

What I love most about these questions is that they provide a built-in layer of accountability. Use them every day.

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