It’s easy to blame outside distractions, like our phones, for distracting us. Even a body of research suggests these devices are responsible for shortened attention spans. Truthfully, we just need to learn techniques for developing focus, attention, and concentration.
Phones are only part of the story. If we weren’t easily distracted, the beeps and dings coming from those tiny computers wouldn’t pique anyone’s curiosity. While phones do distract us, it’s not the source of the problem.
Damn our Evolution!
For problems that cross a broad population segment (in this case, it seems like nearly everybody!), it’s often good to consider why we’re like this from an evolutionary perspective. There must be some reason why we evolved this way.
There is. First, we need our minds to shift quickly from one task to another. Second, we need to be aware of movement. Third, we need to be mindful of sound. For example, if our ancestors were out picking berries, and the bushes rustled somewhere in our periphery, we should be concerned. If an animal growls in the not-too-far distance, we need to be even more concerned.
Much like our fight/flight/freeze reflex, our need for distraction is part of a survival instinct. So, to say that phones cause distraction is not precisely accurate. We are primed for distraction, and marketers have taken advantage of it. In short, our brains are wired for distraction, but our modern world requires greater focus.
Back to Today
Knowing that we are designed to be distracted is a tool to help us overcome the problem, not give us an excuse. Undoubtedly, as the master of focus, Dandapani, claims, we practice distraction all day, every day. With all this practice, it’s no wonder why we’re masters of distraction.
We can practice focus. If we learn to calm our minds and control where our attention goes, we can improve our ability to focus.
Differentiating Between Focus, Attention, and Concentration
These three terms are often used as synonyms, but we’ll make critical distinctions between them. Focus is the center of interest or activity. Attention is fixing your mind on something while excluding other stimuli. Concentration is utilizing your attention on something of your choosing.
The term focus indicates larger goals or things we want to tackle. For example, do I want to focus on writing a book, preparing my blog, working out, or something else? These can be short-term or long-term goals, but it’s where I want to place my attention.
Attention is what I want to have when I decide where to place my focus. When we talk about attention, we’re talking about how to fixate on the right things and let other tasks wait their turn. By allowing these different tasks to slip into the background, we’ll be able to keep our attention on the current task longer.
Concentration is how we’ll deepen our attention. We want to figure out how to improve the quality and duration of engagement periods. We also want to ensure that our concentration doesn’t take us away from our most relevant goals.
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This series of blog articles will explore ways to combat an extensive list of focus, attention, and concentration problems. Click here for a complete list of Unlimited Learning articles. Some of the topics we’ll cover include:
- Goal Setting
- Time management
- Motivation and Habit
- Concentration techniques
- Fast and easy meditation techniques
- How to improve attention
- How to improve concentration
- And more!
So, let’s get to it! Let’s start developing focus, attention, and concentration now.