There are many tasks, ambitions, desires and needs that go through our mind everyday let alone the distractions from phones, devices and laptops. It can get overwhelming to a point where you become busy doing .... nothing!
I take a look deeper into how creative people can focus their mind, purpose and actions to bring focus back in their daily activities with ease.
Fab Fact - The average human has an 8 second attention span which is less than 3 seconds online.
(for those in business doing marketing posts, for maximum engagement you need to capture and entice within this timescale for 'interest' to kick in)
STAGE 1 - THE MIND
'Learning styles' or 'learning methods' are yesterday's news.
Research from Carol Lethally (English language teacher, teacher trainer, author and ELT consultant) proves that segmenting the various learning methods does not 'connect' the learning experience as with utilising them all to learn for long and short term knowledge. Full article here
Everybody has a learning 'preference' and you can find out yours in the many free tests they have online (Keep an open mind if you try them, as I tried a few my preferences were different) but I know I am more of a visual, verbal and physical learner as this is why I am doing what I do.
There are currently seven 'Learning Styles':
Visual (spatial): You prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
Aural (auditory-musical): You prefer using sound and music.
Verbal (linguistic): You prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
Physical (kinesthetic): You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch.
Logical (mathematical): You prefer using logic, reasoning and systems.
Social (interpersonal): You prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
Solitary (intrapersonal): You prefer to work alone and use self-study.
Regardless of what your learning methods are your 'mindset' is key in your learning productivity so allowing yourself to be in the best body, mind and spirit optimises your productivity. Which includes sleeping habits too. (7 hours is most peoples best resting time) A bit about sleep...
Usually sleepers pass through five stages: 1, 2, 3, 4 and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. These stages progress cyclically from 1 through REM then begin again with stage 1. A complete sleep cycle takes an average of 90 to 110 minutes, with each stage lasting between 5 to 15 minutes. The first sleep cycles each night have relatively short REM sleeps and long periods of deep sleep but later in the night, REM periods lengthen and deep sleep time decreases.- Full article on sleep here
How our mind engages with information.
The brain is programmed to pay special attention to any experience that is novel or unusual. It does this by making comparisons between the new information brought through the senses and existing information stored in our brain’s long-term memory. When the brain finds a match, it will quickly eliminate the new memory as redundant.
When new information contradicts what’s already stored in our memory, our brains go into overdrive, working hard to explain the discrepancy. If the new information proves useful to us, it becomes a permanent memory that can be retrieved later. If this new information does not seem useful or if we do not trust its source, we are likely to forget it or even reject it altogether, preferring to stick with the information we already possess.
Methods on Learning
Increase frequency through practice and maintain fluency through use
Appeal to and engage emotions while learning
Engaging in learning increases our ability to learn throughout our lives
Engage all senses when learning
Learning should tap into the brain’s natural curiosity and intrinsic motivation
These methods are key points for any teacher to get the most out of their students, regardless of genre
STAGE 2 - purpose
The ways we can helps ourselves focus to reach our purpose
'Focus' is like a muscle, and you can build its strength, its also about managing distractions to help sustain focus.
A clean & tidy work area of workspace - Clutter only gives the brain distraction and less clarity. remember your brain takes in information even if you are not looking at it. Clear and clean work areas are the best productive workspace to create.
Calm your mind - You may like music playing, your atmosphere quiet or aroma scents etc. What ever suits you. This helps you enjoy the process of work.
Purpose - having a workflow / action list / day planner / to-do list / picture chart etc, your list of steps broken down helps maximise focus. You mind is creative and can get 'interested' in various new information so making a list helps bring back your focus for your days productivity and success in achieving. (More details in next stage on this)
Stop notifications - Social media, emails, notifications, phone calls etc are the worst distraction in getting work done and stopping your focus. I understand that people need to take calls but you can set aside a time to 'act' on them so you can return to your focus and purpose of that day. You owe it to yourself to set yourself a time-slot for this. Not when you are most productive, which is the first part of your day. Give yourself UNPLUG time and privacy of interruption. - Article on exact times of productivity
Take a break - Taking a short break in the middle of a long task reenergises the brain. Research article here
Our mind understood, our workspace and preparation set for focus, creative juices are flowing its now about taking action and sticking to it until it's complete.
STAGE 3 - TAKING ACTION
This stage is where lots of people fall off the path and go haywire usually around in circles. This section looks at taking the action and pushing yourself to 'feel the fear' and DO IT!
Its about making it happen and seeing it through.
There are many occasions when your actions are in limbo and at times you may even forget to follow them up as you were waiting for responses etc. This is the hardest yet most rewarding section for creatives.
So plan plan plan!
Target - What's your target / point / purpose
Tasks- list tasks that need to be done to achieve your target
Actions - list specific actions from your task list (these are for your daily plan)
Review - Ensure your actions are getting complete, alter if a situation or purpose has changed.
'Small steps is all it takes'. This statement is corny but true. Keep ploughing through your actions and everything else will fall into place.
Fab fact - self discipline is a learned behavior. It requires practice and repetition in your day-to-day life.
Time spent on developing YOU as a business is the best investment you will ever make.
Always review to help keep your focus on the jobs.
This blog has been all about focus and how to make the most of it. The most important thing I can tell you is "if it doesn't get done, don't beat yourself up about it just try again when you can" Life is not about adding stress to something you want to enjoy. It's about making the most of it! Yes we all have deadlines... so review and adapt and it will still happen :)
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Enjoy being creative, enjoy being YOU!
Gillian Beattie Xx
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