Here is a simple exercise that will increase the results you get drastically. The next activity you do, whatever it may be, give it 110% pure concentration. No matter how simple or complex the task, focus your attention solely on the activity that is in front of you. Do not allow yourself to be distracted. If you can develop this habit, you will be ahead of 95% of the people out there.
We live in a world where distractions are an ever present part of our day. Decades ago, when one was working, for example, the only way to be interrupted was if someone walked in or if the phone rang. Today, that is no longer the case. We have phones that not only ring, but there are text messages, mobile instant messaging programs, and internet access. At the same time, computers have a variety of things that can steal our focus away from what we are doing. How many times were you writing something only to have the automatic update window pop open on you? We all experienced that more than we care to remember.
People today are in the habit of allowing themselves to be easily distracted. It is a habit that we seamlessly fell into. As technologies become more prevalent, we are seeing this situation worsen. However, this goes in direct opposition to a basic component of success. To be truly successful in most endeavors, our complete attention is required. A wandering mind cannot tap into the natural power that exists when it is scattered. This is something we prove repeatedly. Consider the amount of time that is wasted in the average person's life because he or she does not know what to do next. We see this situation worsened when one has to go back and fix an error that was caused by lack of attention.
The mind cannot focus upon two things at one time. Many buy into the myth of multi-tasking. Productivity studies have proven that multi-tasking only serves to decrease output. It is simple to understand when you ponder how the mind works. Since we can only focus upon one thing at a time, trying to do two things simultaneously means that one task is not getting the proper attention. Which brings me back to the original point in this post: it is crucial that we develop the habit of focusing exclusively upon what we are doing at any given moment. This simple (but not easy) act will increase your productivity instantly.
For centuries people have written about the power of living in the present moment. While many associate this with spirituality, I find that this is where we find life. Nothing is occurring but what is taking place right now. The past is memory and the future is but a dream. Our existence is right here. However, while we find it natural for our bodies to be here, the mind operates differently. It is not bound by physical laws. Therefore, we must instill the discipline to concentrate on the present.
Try this simple exercise and see how you do with it. If you are like most, you will find it impossible to do. Pure concentration is a skill that most lack. It can be developed but does not come naturally. Therefore, use a simple activity like washing the dinner or cleaning the counter. Notice how often your mind wanders while doing these activities. While it might seem counterproductive to focus upon a task that is so simple, the benefit comes from the habit you create. Remember, the process of focusing exclusively on the dishes is the same as you apply to a report for work. And, if you are distracted while doing the dishes, bet the ranch the same will occur when you are writing your report. Remember, habits of the mind do not change with the situation. They remain the same until we consciously decide to change them.
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