5 Ways to Build Focus and Concentration – College Info Geek
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5 Ways to Build Focus and Concentration – College Info Geek

– Be honest with me here. When you study or get work done, how good are you at
focusing on that work? And by that I mean how
susceptible are you to distractions that pop up or
the temptation to multitask? This is a really important
question to ask yourself because a lack of focus,
a lack of the ability to concentrate is
one of the best ways to waste a lot of the time
you dedicate to studying. That’s because when
you get pulled away from your main task
into a distraction or some other task,
you’re not just wasting the time that it takes to get
that distraction done with. There’s also something
called a cognitive switching penalty, and as
Josh Kaufman points out in his book The Personal MBA, which I highly
recommend, by the way, “In order to take action,
your brain has to load the context of what you’re
doing into working memory. If you constantly switch
the focus of your attention, you’re forcing your brain
to spend time and effort thrashing, loading
and reloading contexts over and over again. That’s why it’s possible
to spend an entire day multitasking,
getting nothing done, and feel exhausted at the end. You’ve burned all of your
energy context switching instead of making progress.” This is why it’s so
important to build the ability to focus. If you can do that,
you’re going to eliminate a lot of these potential
cognitive switching penalties you could have
incurred from your day, and that means you’re
going to be able to pack your work into
a more concentrated, shorter amount of time,
and get more done. So in this video, I’m
gonna give you five quick ways that you can
start building the ability to focus and concentrate
on the task at hand. The first one is
called pre-commitment. Pre-committing to a
task is simply building some sort of device that
binds you to finishing it before you actually get
started, and to do this you can use what are
used commitment devices. It’s why I use Beeminder
to ensure that I create two things every
week on my website. If you have some
way of making sure there’s a consequence for
not getting your work done, you’re gonna be more motivated
to stay focused on that work. This can be as simple
as writing down that you’re going to get
X done in 30 minutes, and if you don’t finish
within 30 minutes, you know that you’ve failed. You’ve externalized that
goal by writing it down, and now that you’ve failed
it, you’re gonna feel bad. You could even do
something crazy like hiring a lady off Craigslist
to slap you in the face like Maneesh Sethi did, or you could stay within
the realm of sanity. That’s cool too. You can also
pre-commit to one task by eliminating your
ability to do anything else during that time. This is often called the
burnt ships technique and it’s in reference
to an inaccurate but still compelling
story about Hernán Cortés telling his men to
burn their ships before they attack the Aztecs. The motivation for doing
this would have been to keep his men
focused on the task because they had
no other option. They couldn’t go back. Now you probably don’t
have an actual boat to burn of your own, and
even if you did, it probably wouldn’t help
you get your homework done, but you can take
inspiration from this idea by removing the ability
to do other things while you’re focused on a task. One way you can do
this is by blocking distracting websites
on your computer using an extension
like StayFocusd or a program like FocalFilter. You could even entirely
disconnect the internet if you didn’t need it. Tip number two is to
have a distraction sheet next to you while you work. Now I talked to you
about this before as an addition to the
Pomodoro Technique, but whether or not
you’re pre-committing using that technique or just
studying in a different way, having a piece of
paper next to you where you write down
what’s distracting you helps you get back
into your work because you know
you’ve made a reminder of that distraction, you
can get back to it later if it’s important, but
you’re externalizing it. You’re pulling it
out of your brain and you’re allowing
your brain to get back to the task at hand. Tip number three is to try
out an app called Forest, which is available for both
iPhones and Android devices. Forest is an app that
tries to help make your smartphone less
of a distraction, and it does this by
letting you plant a seed and then if you don’t touch
your phone for 30 minutes, it grows into a tree. If you do touch your
phone, it kills the tree and you failed that session. Now I can see it already,
people in the comments saying that you could
just turn off your phone or leave it in a different room, and that does work, but the thing that Forest
does is it provides an instant reward the minute
you finish a 30-minute session. Getting immediate
tangible and quantifiable results for something
is a great way to build good habits. If you’re just
turning off your phone and putting it in
the other room, you may not see those
immediate tangible benefits, but if you get a nice
cool tree on your phone if you don’t touch
it for 30 minutes, then that’s a nice
thing you can look at. So, if turning your
phone off works for you, that’s cool, but if it
doesn’t, try the app out. Tip number four is to
meditate once a day. I’ve been doing this
for a few months now, and honestly, I just
do it for three minutes in the morning, and I try
to focus on my breath. Now, the idea behind
this is your attention is like any other
muscle in your body. As you train it,
it gets stronger, and your ability
to focus increases. I’ve found that just trying
to focus on my breath for three minutes a day
has increased by ability to stay focused on other
tasks, like reading or writing. Now, an important thing
to note with meditation is that your attention will
wonder, and that’s okay. The act of noticing that
your attention has wondered and that you’ve
started daydreaming, and then bringing
that attention back to your initial point
of focus is what helps build that attention muscle. My fifth and final
tip is to eliminate potential distractions
while you’re studying. Now when I talked to you
about pre-committing earlier, I talked about the
burnt ships technique, and that’s focused on
eliminating your ability to distract yourself,
but there are also a lot of distractions
that can happen to you, environmental distractions, people coming in and
asking you to do things, and if you can
eliminate the potential for these to happen,
you’re going to have an easier time focusing, so pay attention to
any potential source of distractions
before you study. This could be something that
can pop a notification up, like your phone or
something on your computer, or just being in a
specific location where your friends are
likely to find you. I actually have a whole
section on eliminating distractions in my book
on earning better grades, which is free. So if you wanna get
more tips in this area, then you can click
the card there, or the link in the
description, and grab the book. So, those are my
five tips this week for helping you
build concentration and your ability to focus. Hopefully you
found this helpful, and I wanna leave
you with a quote from the Roman poet,
Horace, who said, “Rule your mind, or
it will rule you.” Now, if your internal
ability to rule your mind and stay focused right
now isn’t as strong as you’d like it
to be, that’s okay. Work on building it,
but also take advantage of the external systems
and tools we have to help you out. That could be using
apps and extensions like Forest and StayFocusd, hiring some lady off Craigslist
to slap you in the face, or just asking a friend to keep tabs on you
while you’re studying. Anyway, I hope you
found this video useful. Thanks for watching, and
I will see you next week. (upbeat music) Hey guys, thanks so much
for watching my video on how to build more
focus and concentration. If you wanna get new
videos every single week on being a more
effective student, then the best possible
decision you can make right now is to click that big red
“Subscribe” button right there. I also wrote a book on
how to get better grades, and if you want to get
a free copy of that, click the picture and
I will send you one. If you wanna get links
to anything I mentioned in this video, then go to
the companion blog post by clicking the orange
logo right there. If you missed last week’s video, there’s a clip of it
playing right there, so definitely check it out, and if you wanna suggest topics for new videos or
just connect with me, I’m TomFrankly on Twitter
or you can leave a comment. Thanks.

About James Carlton

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100 thoughts on “5 Ways to Build Focus and Concentration – College Info Geek

  1. A tip that could change your life. If before college, you went to asia, learnt in a zen monistary, and practiced deep concentration meditation for hours a day for a year, your ability to focus will be so much better, that you'll make any homework from college like 5 times faster, you'll be much much better student, your ability to to math will greatly improve and your overall happiness in life would be ×10 times more than if just didn't do that. You'll do then in 2 years what you otherwise could have acomplished in 7 years of college.

  2. What if I just zone out? Like, I have nothing that's distracting me, I just stare into the void and then, here u go, that's 15 minutes wasted.

  3. Step 1: Read
    Step 2: try
    Step 3: try hard
    Step 4: try harder
    Step 5:sleep and cry.
    Step 6:have hope on God
    Step 7: repeat….

  4. While watching this i get distracted at least 5 times. Not to mention im not a native english speaker.

  5. did you know that MSM and TV use satanic frequencies to dumb you down, make you nervous and create fear which distracts you from concentrating by brainwashing your mind

  6. the most dangerous distractions are your emotions. Negative emotions as sadness, angry, envy are taking away your focus. On the other hand positive emotions are helping us to incerease our concetration. That's why is so important to cultivate positive feelings 🙂 Fight for your happiness and everything will get easier

  7. Students be like while doing homework

    MOBILE LEGENDS, PUBG etc(the season will gonna end and you want to rank up before it ends)
    Beautiful Videos on Social Media like;
    Short highlights gameplays, useful tutorials, acct updates etc 😂😂😂

  8. Some one told me am like this I refuse to believe but now I see really my brain completely forgets what am doing for 5second and then back this makes me appear slow. I hope I will fix this

  9. The question is not how to be happy. But happiness is just a byproduct of something you are doing. (said by Slavoj Žižek and probably others).
    I will now state in a similar fashion that you shouldn't ask yourself the question of how to concentrate. Concentrating on a certain task is only going to be a byproduct or a means of attaining a goal. Rather that trying to concentrate you should start doing that thing that is the reason you are asking yourself this false question of how do I concentrate in the first place.
    When you start doing one thing keep in mind that you are in fact distracting yourself from all the other activities, thoughts, goals and so on that would otherwise occupy your mind. If you are asking yourself how do I study for this test? When you are studying you are using this as a distraction. You are not mowing the lawn, not talking with your old soon to die grandparents, not helping your parent with their computer, not hanging out with friends, not paying attention to newsworthy events and so on and so on.
    So when you are concentrated on one thing, you are in fact using this as a distraction from everything else. You have given this distraction a priority and that is all.

  10. Love the idea of a distraction sheet, plus I totally agree with practicing meditation. I think the Focus series on Headspace especially is amazing to train your ability to focus 🙂

  11. man slow down a bit. Why are you so in rush? Not everyone is a native to your language, your super jet speaking speed add distraction to what are you saying. hard to focus 😀

  12. I remembered warcaft frozen Throne story mode about burning ships. Arthas destroyed the ships after they got in to northrend

  13. I’ve been using 2 tactics for 1 year now, and they are pretty helpful:
    1. 30 minutes work and 30 minutes break.
    2. Using a ruler to underline the line you are reading.

  14. Most Important step is to Stop You Tube & Internet! Internet often stressing us To learn everything like concentrating & self development. The most time consuming & unproductive work

  15. I am constantly forgetting each and can't even pay attention more than 1 min in anything. Keep forgetting every things like whatever i see or hear or say… every little things…… i really don't know what to do. Please help😟😟

  16. I'm gettin' better… "So long as the thoughts of an individual are scattered he will achieve no results, but if his thinking be concentrated on a single point wonderful will be the fruits thereof… .once the sun shineth upon a concave mirror, or on a lens that is convex, all its heat will be concentrated on a single point, and that one point will burn the hottest…" ~‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Baha'i Faith

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