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Mindfulness

5 Tips to Increase Your Focus

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5 Tips to Increase Your Focus

Low attention span or difficulty in focusing is becoming a common problem for many. With so many entertainment options readily available, it has become easy to be distracted and to procrastinate. Our work takes the hit and that, in turn, makes us feel bad. Instead of dismissing your lack of focus as something you have to deal with, learn to increase it.

Like our body, our mind needs exercise too. The areas we consider to be weak can be built up if we put our mind to it. Just because our focus isn’t as strong as we would like it to be, doesn’t mean you have to accept the fact and do nothing about it. Try to better it. There are things, practices, and exercises that if done regularly, can help you increase your focus.

1. Meditate

5 Tips to Increase Your Focus

If you didn’t know, meditation has different types that focus on different areas. Mindfulness meditation can help you boost your attention span significantly. Not only that, meditation in itself can help you relax, and become calm and collected. Now, that your mind has relaxed and is free of a thought jumble, it becomes easier to focus on things that actually matter.

Meditation for just 10 to 20 minutes a day will help you increase your focus and attention span. Start your mornings by focusing on your breathing for a few minutes, followed by your meditation ritual. You can also do some light breathing exercise just before doing something that requires focus to clear your mind.

2. Include practicing mindfulness in your day

5 Tips to Increase Your Focus

While mindfulness meditation helps you become more aware and helps increase your focus. Practicing mindfulness throughout your day will help you fight distractions and focus on the tasks at hand. Mindfulness simply is being very attentive to every aspect of the task you are doing, and also noticing every small detail about your task.

It can seem like it isn’t easy, but it is. What I do is that I imagine I am writing about whatever I am doing – not informative writing but descriptive. So, suppose I am eating my lunch, I will pay attention to the cutlery, the color of my food, the smell, the taste, the texture of each ingredient. I will focus on chewing and swallowing, on the feeling it gives rise to.

What we usually do is that we focus on distractions while eating, and our primary task somehow becomes secondary. Our focus shifts towards our phones or the shows we are watching. This is what happens with many of our tasks.

3.  Don’t listen to music while working

5 Tips to Increase Your Focus

Many of us have the habit of listening to music while working on something. While it helps people most of the times and can be a good thing, it does the opposite for people with poor focus. If you know the song, then you are most probably going to sing along, and that stops you from giving your all to the task at hand.

Let’s say you are doing something that is going to be using the same parts of your brain, then will doing those things together make sense? No, right? When you are doing something that uses motor functions like your household chores, then listening to music is fine, but not while reading if you don’t have a high focus level.

4. Build your willpower

Willpower will allow you to ignore distractions like playing songs or using your phone and will help you to stay focused on the task at hand. Consciously saying no to yourself whenever you feel like doing something else is very important and a skill that you should definitely develop if you want to increase your focus level.

Your attention span will be served well with intentionally trying to focus and also having strong willpower isn’t only good for building your focus but also for being productive. At the end of the day, what you do or do not do boils down to your willpower, saying no to distractions depends entirely on your willpower.

5. Increase your focus gradually

5 Tips to Increase Your Focus

Like any habit, you need to start slow. Like when starting exercise, you are advised to start slow because your body might not be able to take it, the same goes for anything mental. The best way to stay focused is for you to start using the Pomodoro technique. This lets you start working in bouts so that you can start with a short amount of focusing time.

You traditionally work for 25 minutes and then take a five minutes break. After you have repeated this four times, you can take a longer break. Because you know that you have to work for only 25 minutes, it becomes easier to focus. This is a great way to start out.

Takeaway

All it boils down to is will power and persistence. If you are really dedicated to increasing your focus, then you will find it easier to do things to help. I would say, convincing yourself is the hardest part, so start out by taking small steps. Don’t decide to start being completely focused for the whole day, that isn’t going to happen. Use these tips to slowly but gradually increase your focus.

Mindfulness

5 Decisions That Can Fill Your Life With Regret

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5 Decisions That Can Fill Your Life With Regret

There will be moments in your life when you will have to make tough choices; when you will have to sacrifice something in order to get something else. While most such decisions do not usually create any long-term problems, this is not true in all situations. You might make certain decisions that can push you into depression years down the line. In this post, we look at five such typical decisions that have the power to fill your life with regret.  

1. Neglecting your passion

5 Decisions That Can Fill Your Life With Regret

Many people often choose to sacrifice their passion in favor of focusing on their careers when transitioning from their teenage years into adulthood. And this can eventually prove to be extremely devastating for some people.

A human being is essentially a creature of passion, filled with hundreds of ideas and a will to explore their interests to the full. When this passion is curbed, and the person is forced into doing something that they don’t like, they will ultimately find their life to be boring and stressful. A sense of purposelessness will start to rattle their minds, and many might even end up being depressed.

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

So, when you are faced with a situation where you have to decide between your passion and your career, never reject your hobbies and interests outright. Continue practicing it in some way or the other, and eventually, you will come to realize how crucial that decision has been to your sense of self.

2. Preferring career over a loving relationship

5 Decisions That Can Fill Your Life With Regret

This is another big mistake that can haunt your life forever – putting your professional life ahead of your relationships. Unfortunately, this is very common in today’s cut-throat competitive world.  The excessive focus on career has been identified as one of the single biggest causes of unhappiness and loneliness among adults.

“A career is wonderful but you can’t curl up with it on a cold night.”

-Marilyn Monroe

You must understand that humans are, at the end of the day, emotional beings. A large part of a person’s life is dedicated to satisfying their emotional requirements – the need to be loved, the need to be appreciated, the need to be wanted, and so on, and as such, depriving yourself of such emotional stimulation is akin to damaging the circuitry of a PC and hoping for it to work perfectly. 

As a result, you should always ensure that you never sacrifice your relationships in order to advance in your career. Instead, you should learn to manage both of them. Otherwise, you might end up feeling lonely and depressed in the middle age, blaming yourself for the times you brushed aside your relationship commitments in favor of work.

3. Holding grudges

5 Decisions That Can Fill Your Life With Regret

It is said that hatred not only destroys the object but also the person who holds hatred within. And sadly, it is true. In some cases, the grudge you hold will only end up destroying you while the other party walks away unaffected.

This is why it is very important that you learn to never hold any grudge against anyone. But if you do hold a grudge, then it is possible that your hatred for the person will turn into an obsession. You will slowly start losing focus on enjoying and living your life to the fullest. Instead, you will start thinking of how to harm the other person. This is a disturbing mentality that will negatively affect all your relationships.

“Holding a grudge is letting someone live rent-free in your head.”

Learn to let go of any hatred against anyone, no matter how much harm they have done to you. However, not hating does not mean that you forget what the other person did to you. It simply means that you have removed them as the focus of your life. That’s all. But, if you decide to dedicate most of your life in trying to bring down the other person, then you will essentially lead a miserable life.

4. Being stuck at a desk job

5 Decisions That Can Fill Your Life With Regret

With the way the current job environment has shaped up, it is very likely that you might be engaged in work that will mostly require you to sit on a chair all day long. While this might feel extremely comfortable in the beginning, you will quickly realize how boring, monotonous, and harmful it can be.

The biggest negative effect of a desk job will be on your health. Just sitting for eight hours every day for many years will definitely cause some health issues. This is why it is important that you don’t get sucked into the appeal of a desk job.  

“Give a man health and a course to steer, and he’ll never stop to trouble about whether he’s happy or not.”

-George Bernard Shaw

The best way to deal with this is to join a gym and start a workout regimen so that you keep yourself physically fit. But, if you choose to avoid exercising thinking that it is a waste of time, then you will have to face several health issues in the future. Even if you are busy, it is important to include self-care into your routine.

5. Adding on the debt to ‘enjoy’ life

5 Decisions That Can Fill Your Life With Regret

It is normal for people to fall into debt under the pretext of enjoying their lives. Someone might pile up on his/her credit card debt due to their excessive affinity for expensive clothes; others might take longer-term debts to go for vacations around the world; some might even take a loan on their home to buy a BMW. Whatever may be the case, you have to understand that the extreme focus on enjoying life even at the risk of falling into debt is a very bad decision.

As you become older and enter your forties, all the debt you have piled up during the younger years will now be a burden. And you will be trapped, having to repay all those debts at a time you should be carefully planning your retirement. In the worst case scenario, you may even have to retire with little to no savings. 

“A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.”

-Joe Moore

So, learn to control your desires and only indulge in them to the extent that you don’t end up taking debts to satisfy those desires. By doing so, you will never have to live a dissatisfied life or regret the poor financial decisions you took in your younger days.  

Takeaway

Being mindful is really important when it comes to decisions that can impact your life for a longer term. Whenever making big decisions, try to take a pause and think about it with all the pros and cons and how it will affect your life. When you do that, instead of taking impulsive decisions, it will become easier to make decisions that won’t make you feel regret.

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Habits

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

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7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

A few days ago, I talked about analysis paralysis and if it is the reason for inaction. I think a lot of people relate to it because it hits home with many. Most of us get tangled in trying to find the perfect solution to our problems. Understanding what stops us from taking action and the reason behind it is the first step in finding ways to overcome the hurdle we create for ourselves.

So, what exactly is analysis paralysis?

“Analysis Paralysis is when we have too many options, and we get so overwhelmed that we fail to choose an option at all. It is a state of over-analyzing a situation or problem, and as a result, a decision or action is never taken; as a result, paralyzing the outcome.”

I am sure you have been in this state some time in your life for one or the other decision. How do you overcome this? How do you not fall prey to analysis paralysis? Here are some logical ways that work because we target the problem area that pulls us into this state.

1. Prioritize your options

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

When you have a lot of ways to go about something, you will be overwhelmed, and you will be sucked into the decision of which option is the most beneficial. Our goal is to come out of that. Treating all the options as if they are going to have the same impact puts them in the same priority block, and that is what results in analysis paralysis.

What you need to do is detach yourself from the decision. Look at it as if it doesn’t concern you at all. Then categorize each option in different priority levels based on what can help you take immediate action, what is more accessible or needs fewer steps, or even what makes the most sense if you isolate it from other options and if it was your only one.

Although I am telling you to give it some thought while teaching you how to not overthink it – this thinking follows a purpose and once that purpose is fulfilled, you won’t be paying it any more attention. So purposeful thinking is better than just fretting over it as a whole. You will then know what option to go with, and it will still be an informed decision.

2. Write down a mission statement

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Sometimes the vision or the goal gets lost when you are trying to figure out what a great way of doing something is. When you do not have a clear view of your goal, then making decisions can be even more difficult. Defining your goals on a piece of paper and then checking every option you come up with against it is a great way to stay on track and not get tangled in too many thoughts.

Eliminate anything that does not make sense with your end goal. Yes, it can be a better fit to get you to the halfway point of whatever you are aiming to achieve in the short term, but if there is an option that can see you the whole way through, then you need to strike out the enticing halfway option.

3. Eliminate the bad options

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

What are the bad options? The ones that need you to invest more than the other options, may it be money, tools, time, manpower, anything. The ones that might not hold in the long run. Anything that increases stress. Anything that causes a strain on your resources.

Some options, though attractive, might not be the right fit considering your current situation. You can use the priority list and your mission statement to prune out the bad options so that you are left with 3-4 workable options, and the decision becomes easier.

4. Set a deadline to make a decision

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

When you have an open deadline, chances are you are just going to keep overthinking and overanalyzing everything and watch as the opportunity sails past you because you are stuck in analysis paralysis. This is why you need to set a deadline so that you are forced to make a decision. You need to assign yourself just enough time to go over the options but not enough for you to overanalyze everything.

You can set a day or two for small decisions, a week for moderate ones and as long as you think is workable for something really big. Try to keep it concise enough for you to feel the pressure of the deadline but not so short that it stresses you out and you feel rushed.

5. Break big decisions into small parts

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Usually, analysis paralysis is common when the decision has a huge impact. We are wired to choose familiarity and safety over anything challenging that can frighten us, which is also one of the common reasons for hesitation to act. So, instead of choosing one option directly, what you can do is break down the option into all the steps it is going to require.

Once you have all the steps in the options laid out bare next to each other, it becomes easier to eliminate the ones that are going to take a lot of small steps to make them happen. If the small steps are easier but more in number, it can still make more sense. And deciding on the basis of micromanaging can be the key to you finally coming to a decision.

6.  Don’t wait for perfection

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

One of the common factors for inaction is people waiting for that perfect option. You have to realize that perfect decisions don’t always happen. There is a compromise involved, if not in all, then in most of the decisions.

While you wait for your perfect break, someone else will make it with their mediocre decision. A mediocre decision is better than no decision. Sometimes “good enough” is exactly what it needed. It will at least get you started.

7. Trust your guts

7 Ways to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

If an option feels better in your gut than the others then maybe it is the best you can choose. If you have a plethora of options and you somehow keep coming back to the same one, then you need to actively consider it.

Sometimes, our subconscious mind knows exactly what is going to work, but we ignore under the pretense of being well researched and well informed with over-analyzing every aspect of every option.

Most of the times, the need to be 100 percent sure about the solution you are choosing is nothing but fear of acting disguised as wanting to be perfect. Your mind is just giving you reasons to keep putting the decision making off instead of actually making a decision. In a moment like this, it is better to trust your gut and go with it.

Takeaway

Analysis paralysis is unavoidable when you think about it. You are constantly going to be stuck in it when you are in the stage of building your business or making changes in your life. The main thing is knowing what to do when you feel like you don’t know what to choose. These steps will help you realize when you are entering analysis paralysis and how to treat it.

All it boils down to is differentiating the solutions or options based on priority by breaking them into smaller steps and eliminating bad ones or the least feasible ones, and also setting a deadline on your decision-making process so that it does not go on forever.

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Habits

Social Media Detox Stories That Were Successful

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Social Media Detox Stories That Were Successful

Social media is not accidentally addictive. Companies behind social platforms have been actually reported to hijack people’s attention. All the design elements you see on your app have been created to cater to marketing agencies.

And it seems the social network founders have hit the jackpot with their business model. If you’ve seen the second episode of the latest season of Black Mirror, Smithereens, you’ve probably resonated with the chief complaint of Andrew Scott’s character. Humans are now hunched and thumping on their devices. They don’t look anymore at the sky, he says.

Enter social media detox.

While social media should not be painted evil, the intention behind its existence remains suspect. But users should not wait until the verdict has been given. Your attention is more important than ever, and guarding it should be one of your goals now.

Social media detox is one of the ways to protect it. This does not mean you should be quitting online platforms cold turkey. But it requires you to be intentional about the time you spend online.

How do you get started? Read on and be inspired by the stories of people who successfully did it. Here’s why I took a break from Facebook.

Keeping A Journal During A 30-Day Social Media Break

For Jason Zook, social media has been a daily part of his life since 2008. He’s been using Facebook and Twitter for personal and business purposes. Zook has experienced successes in terms of getting attention and generating revenue. But one day, he experienced negative emotions and couldn’t get out of them (one of which was jealousy). So he decided to quit social media cold turkey.

What began as a decision to get rid of the unwanted effects of social media became a springboard for new ideas for Zook. By Day 3, he wrote in his journal about feeling happier. By Day 10, his attention seemed to have expanded. He took note of the things that replaced the time he would usually waste on social media. And by Day 21, he recognized he had broken bad habits and gained a new perspective on his digital life.

This was taken from his entry for Day 30:

“It’s been a while since I’ve had so much clarity and focus in my thoughts. The only thing I can equate it to would be ‘getting in the zone’ in sports.”

Social Media Detox Stories That Were Successful

Curbing Anxiety and FOMO Through Disconnection

While Stephanie Vozza was at a party, she felt a pang of regret common among social media users when she couldn’t post pictures on Facebook. That’s when she realized she needed to take a break. It is when you are anxious about updating your profile or staying connected that you need to disconnect.

In Vozza’s case, Facebook was her means of keeping in touch with fellow writers. But she had to forgo it for the reasons mentioned above. Like Zook, she also fasted for 30 days. In talking to experts, she also learned a few things, like social media addiction is a real phenomenon. And by quitting Facebook for a month, she allowed herself to take on a new ritual instead of checking the app first thing in the morning. In turn, her brain was able to create new neural pathways, a new normal.

Zook and Vozza enlisted tools and tactics to make their social media detox a success.

Social Media Detox Tools & Tactics

  • StayFocusd Chrome Extension – An extension for Web Chrome users. You can add social media sites on the Blocked Sites List. And when you try to increase the maximum allowed time to spend on the Blocked Sites, humorous popup messages will appear to confirm that you’re really making that decision (and not regret it).
  • Self-Control App – This app is created for MacOS users. You will be able to block your own access to distracting websites within a time frame. It’s similar to StayFocusd in that sense. But it does not only work for websites. It also lets you blacklist mail servers and anything on the internet.
  • OurPact – This is an app that enables parents to control their children’s screen time. It also lets them monitor the apps being downloaded on their kids’ device. Of course, you can also use it during your detox. But take note that it is only available for Android users.
  • Your Phone’s Settings – Tweaking some of the settings on your phone can already make a world of difference. Turn off the notifications for your social media apps. Activate the Don’t Disturb mode. In some cases, you can also just go offline by turning off the internet connectivity on your device.
  • No-Phone Rule – Some people, friends, or families establish variations of the no-phone rule. For instance, it would be considered rude to check Facebook while you’re having dinner with friends or family. Talk about what rules you want to establish at home or wherever you may be.
Social Media Detox Stories That Were Successful

Takeaway

Social media detox allows people to gain perspective on their relationship with and activities on social networks. It also enables them to deal with the anxiety caused by social media addiction. Whether it’s you or a loved one who’s going through one, the support of the people around you will have a lot of impact. So make sure to seek help or encourage someone during a social media fast.

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