How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

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SteadyOne
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How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by SteadyOne »

I will very much appreciate any recommendations on how to keep focused — books, videos, etc.
With the current level of distractions all around it is quite difficult to stay focused on important tasks, so I will be grateful for any pointers. Thanks!
“Every de­duc­tion is al­lowed as a mat­ter of leg­isla­tive grace.” US Federal Court
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Makaveli
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by Makaveli »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:32 pm I will very much appreciate any recommendations on how to keep focused — books, videos, etc.
With the current level of distractions all around it is quite difficult to stay focused on important tasks, so I will be grateful for any pointers. Thanks!
Eliminate the distractions and you should be fine.

For me, that means deleting many apps, social media platforms, etc. For a kick in the butt watch Netflix's Social Dilemma. These "distractions" are non-value adding items to our lives. Focus on family, friends, and working hard.
ionball
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by ionball »

Meditation may help.
hunoraut
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by hunoraut »

theres a popular technique called the pomodoro, which calls for using a timer to allocate yourself 20 uninterrupted minutes to perform planned tasks for the day.

the idea is that many of us already have to-do lists. the problem is that we do not execute them due to distractions. pomodoro calls for carving out blocks of time for these tasks, and adhering to it. you start your task, and keep at it, ignoring all manners of distractions (emails, sms, calls, sports scores, etc). you can tend to the distraction as a break between your blocks of tasks, or plan it as a task. i.e., 20 minute block dedicated to working on emails.


the originator is italian, and he used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, hence "pomodoro"
MathIsMyWayr
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by MathIsMyWayr »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:32 pm I will very much appreciate any recommendations on how to keep focused — books, videos, etc.
With the current level of distractions all around it is quite difficult to stay focused on important tasks, so I will be grateful for any pointers. Thanks!
Turn off videos.
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SteadyOne
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by SteadyOne »

hunoraut wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:12 pm theres a popular technique called the pomodoro, which calls for using a timer to allocate yourself 20 uninterrupted minutes to perform planned tasks for the day.

the idea is that many of us already have to-do lists. the problem is that we do not execute them due to distractions. pomodoro calls for carving out blocks of time for these tasks, and adhering to it. you start your task, and keep at it, ignoring all manners of distractions (emails, sms, calls, sports scores, etc). you can tend to the distraction as a break between your blocks of tasks, or plan it as a task. i.e., 20 minute block dedicated to working on emails.


the originator is italian, and he used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, hence "pomodoro"
Thanks! That looks promising
“Every de­duc­tion is al­lowed as a mat­ter of leg­isla­tive grace.” US Federal Court
uberdoc
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by uberdoc »

Very pertinent topic. Seems like world is on fire. Need to stay disconnected somehow.
learner112
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by learner112 »

Try listening to Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday while walking or hiking, absolutely worth it.

https://www.amazon.com/Stillness-Key-Ry ... 213&sr=8-3
MotoTrojan
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by MotoTrojan »

Makaveli wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:44 pm
SteadyOne wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:32 pm I will very much appreciate any recommendations on how to keep focused — books, videos, etc.
With the current level of distractions all around it is quite difficult to stay focused on important tasks, so I will be grateful for any pointers. Thanks!
Eliminate the distractions and you should be fine.

For me, that means deleting many apps, social media platforms, etc. For a kick in the butt watch Netflix's Social Dilemma. These "distractions" are non-value adding items to our lives. Focus on family, friends, and working hard.
That film was jarring to me, yet I still struggle to fight the same ticks.
jebmke
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by jebmke »

Turn off the phone and delete social media accounts. In my experience, Facebook users have more reasons not to quit than alcoholics.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.
gretah
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by gretah »

I found this book practical and helpful -

Deep Work:
Rules for Focused Success in A Distracted World
by Cal Newport
phxjcc
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by phxjcc »

jebmke wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:35 pm Turn off the phone and delete social media accounts. In my experience, Facebook users have more reasons not to quit than alcoholics.
^^this, then...

Get a Franklin Day Planner
Learn the system
Follow the system

Activity <> Accomplishment

The entire world is....
“Working on it”, or
“Looking into it”, or
“Studying it”.
No, what they are doing is procrastination because of lack of focus.


Get things done, and done well.

Then go play, and play hard.
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SteadyOne
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by SteadyOne »

learner112 wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:14 pm Try listening to Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday while walking or hiking, absolutely worth it.

https://www.amazon.com/Stillness-Key-Ry ... 213&sr=8-3
Thanks! I will definitely order it.
“Every de­duc­tion is al­lowed as a mat­ter of leg­isla­tive grace.” US Federal Court
Afty
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by Afty »

I use a system similar to Getting Things Done: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done

At the beginning of each workday, I spend 30 minutes going through my email and pulling out tasks for the day. I then rank those and put them onto my todo list in order of priority/importance. Then I close my email and begin powering through the tasks in order. I don’t check my email again until the end of the day. This prevents email from unnecessarily interrupting me and causing me to lose focus. This system works well for me.
squirm
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by squirm »

not sure why this question has to be asked. but anyways, get off the phone if you want to stay focused.
Mr.BB
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by Mr.BB »

Stop watching the news. Real news is your local news, 30 minutes and your done. CNN, FOX, MSNBC, etc...that is all commentary. One of the worst things that has ever happened in this world in 24 hours news.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
CoAndy
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by CoAndy »

I recommend intense exercise 4-5 times a week. I personally love CrossFit. Orange Theory is good too.
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Makaveli
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by Makaveli »

MotoTrojan wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:19 pm
Makaveli wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:44 pm
SteadyOne wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:32 pm I will very much appreciate any recommendations on how to keep focused — books, videos, etc.
With the current level of distractions all around it is quite difficult to stay focused on important tasks, so I will be grateful for any pointers. Thanks!
Eliminate the distractions and you should be fine.

For me, that means deleting many apps, social media platforms, etc. For a kick in the butt watch Netflix's Social Dilemma. These "distractions" are non-value adding items to our lives. Focus on family, friends, and working hard.
That film was jarring to me, yet I still struggle to fight the same ticks.
It'll take time to unlearn what has been ingrained. I know I'll get there though because I can not stand the thought of being a slave to someone else's end game.
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Tejfyy
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by Tejfyy »

I find the overcoming inertia the greatest hurdle. So I just begin. Then I don't overestimate my attention span, if I'm just not into something that day. I tell myself just do it for an hour or two, etc. and that's enough. I do hard things first, and usually in the morning when I'm more alert.

Sometimes I need more time to get into the flow ala the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology) and I just allow it.
Cascade425
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by Cascade425 »

I enjoy reading fiction a lot. I found that only taking my Kindle to bed each night ensures that I read before bed and I often read in the morning as well. The lack of distractions really helps me focus on the reading and increases my enjoyment.
Topic Author
SteadyOne
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by SteadyOne »

Afty wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:22 pm I use a system similar to Getting Things Done: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done

At the beginning of each workday, I spend 30 minutes going through my email and pulling out tasks for the day. I then rank those and put them onto my todo list in order of priority/importance. Then I close my email and begin powering through the tasks in order. I don’t check my email again until the end of the day. This prevents email from unnecessarily interrupting me and causing me to lose focus. This system works well for me.
Thanks, that looks like a great approach
“Every de­duc­tion is al­lowed as a mat­ter of leg­isla­tive grace.” US Federal Court
Finridge
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by Finridge »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:24 pm
Afty wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 6:22 pm I use a system similar to Getting Things Done: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getting_Things_Done

At the beginning of each workday, I spend 30 minutes going through my email and pulling out tasks for the day. I then rank those and put them onto my todo list in order of priority/importance. Then I close my email and begin powering through the tasks in order. I don’t check my email again until the end of the day. This prevents email from unnecessarily interrupting me and causing me to lose focus. This system works well for me.
Thanks, that looks like a great approach
Lots of good advice in this thread, but I just wanted to add that David Allen's Getting Things Done has my highest recommendation. I have found it to be very useful.
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AerialWombat
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by AerialWombat »

The Power of an Hour by Dave Lakhani.
Topic Author
SteadyOne
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by SteadyOne »

AerialWombat wrote: Mon Sep 14, 2020 1:02 am The Power of an Hour by Dave Lakhani.
Thanks!
“Every de­duc­tion is al­lowed as a mat­ter of leg­isla­tive grace.” US Federal Court
KlangFool
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by KlangFool »

hunoraut wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 2:12 pm theres a popular technique called the pomodoro, which calls for using a timer to allocate yourself 20 uninterrupted minutes to perform planned tasks for the day.

the idea is that many of us already have to-do lists. the problem is that we do not execute them due to distractions. pomodoro calls for carving out blocks of time for these tasks, and adhering to it. you start your task, and keep at it, ignoring all manners of distractions (emails, sms, calls, sports scores, etc). you can tend to the distraction as a break between your blocks of tasks, or plan it as a task. i.e., 20 minute block dedicated to working on emails.


the originator is italian, and he used a tomato-shaped kitchen timer, hence "pomodoro"
+1,000.


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TheTimeLord
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by TheTimeLord »

SteadyOne wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:32 pm With the current level of distractions all around it is quite difficult to stay focused on important tasks, so I will be grateful for any pointers. Thanks!
This is likely an unusual recommendation but I found listening to modern instrumental Jazz thorough noise cancelling headphones to be quite productive. I find music with lyrics distracting and the randomness of Jazz mentally stimulating.
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MP173
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by MP173 »

Just watched Social Dilemma. Great show, but scary.

How do I keep focused? I purchased a clipboard at a garage sale years ago for 50 cents (perhaps a dollar). Each morning I type a list of things needing to get done for work. The list is emailed to my inside coordinator and a copy is printed and placed on the 50 cent clipboard. I carry the clipboard around and use it to get stuff done. Seems to work.

Ed
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SteadyOne
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by SteadyOne »

Tejfyy wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:43 pm I find the overcoming inertia the greatest hurdle. So I just begin. Then I don't overestimate my attention span, if I'm just not into something that day. I tell myself just do it for an hour or two, etc. and that's enough. I do hard things first, and usually in the morning when I'm more alert.

Sometimes I need more time to get into the flow ala the psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology) and I just allow it.
Thanks
“Every de­duc­tion is al­lowed as a mat­ter of leg­isla­tive grace.” US Federal Court
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by VictoriaF »

Check out the blog, podcast, and books by Cal Newport. Cal is in his thirties and professor of Computer Science at Georgetown university. Considering his age and profession, his criticism of the social media and low-attention living is particularly powerful.

Victoria
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srt7
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by srt7 »

gretah wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:55 pm I found this book practical and helpful -

Deep Work:
Rules for Focused Success in A Distracted World
by Cal Newport
First, Congratulations on being aware of the problem!

I came here to recommend this book and glad to see it already here. Cal keeps it simple and provides actionable suggestions. Easy read, took me less than 4 hours. I plan to read it once every quarter.

Another suggestion is to turn off notifications for ALL your apps in your phone. If it is an emergency you will get a call (so perhaps leave the ringer on).

Lastly, watch the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma to solidify your awareness and know that you are on the right path.
I can't think of anything more luxurious than owning my time. - remomnyc
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

jebmke wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:35 pm Turn off the phone and delete social media accounts. In my experience, Facebook users have more reasons not to quit than alcoholics.
I “paused” my Facebook account twice before I finally quit cold turkey and deleted the account. Just as with alcohol, moderation doesn’t work for many people with a problem, and you need a “bright white line.” Imo, Facebook is more pernicious than alcohol, because a bottle doesn’t have thousands of highly paid and very smart employees finding ways to addict you.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
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VictoriaF
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by VictoriaF »

srt7 wrote: Mon Sep 21, 2020 11:01 am
gretah wrote: Sun Sep 13, 2020 4:55 pm I found this book practical and helpful -

Deep Work:
Rules for Focused Success in A Distracted World
by Cal Newport
First, Congratulations on being aware of the problem!

I came here to recommend this book and glad to see it already here. Cal keeps it simple and provides actionable suggestions. Easy read, took me less than 4 hours. I plan to read it once every quarter.

Another suggestion is to turn off notifications for ALL your apps in your phone. If it is an emergency you will get a call (so perhaps leave the ringer on).

Lastly, watch the Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma to solidify your awareness and know that you are on the right path.
Cal Newport also recommends to turn off YouTube autoplay. Many people turn in to watch a video and stop many hours later upon watching multiple videos.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)
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vitaflo
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by vitaflo »

- I turn off all notifications on all my devices.
- I set my phone on permanent do-not-disturb mode, and only allow those in my contact list to get through.
- I uninstall all social media apps from my phone.
- I use adblocker/site blocker to block certain sites that I know are a waste of time.
- I use a plugin called "shut up" that removes all comments from websites, since they are also usually a waste of time.

That takes care of the low hanging fruit of time wasting garbage. The rest is to just be cognizant of what I'm doing. I don't watch TV so that's easy to not get sucked into, but if I'm online for a while I just remind myself, "do I really need to be reading/watching this?". Usually I don't, or it's empty calorie consumption, so I step away and do something else.

Over time it becomes second nature. The key for me though was either to outright block consumption, or make it more difficult for me to do. It gives me the space to fill that with something more productive instead.
interwebopinion
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Re: How to focus and keep focused — any recommendations?

Post by interwebopinion »

So many good recommendations, many of which I have found useful.

This one worked for me - surprised it hasn't mentioned yet: Forget your bogleheads.org password :twisted:

:D :D :D
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