Happy New Year! Each January presents the perfect time to step up your game and make some new gains in the areas of your life that are most important. The holiday break and New Years often provide some nice reflection time to rethink and refocus your daily actions. To this end, I would like to give you a fresh perspective on how the Personal Best Student Creed that you will say 100 times this year can be used to serve as a weekly reminder of the commitments you set for 2021.
Student Creed #1
Two Words You Never Thought Could Build Your Focus
Posted: April 22, 2020
As a child, do you remember the feeling of being in school and hearing your teacher announce you were heading out to recess? Oh Boy… What a thrill!!! The reason it was a thrill was after sitting all morning your body and mind needed a reset, and that came in the form of running, jumping and playing with friends. Like you as a child, your adult brain needs the same experience of the playground, but as adults it comes in the form of exercising your creativity. Doing things like crossword puzzles, drawing, art, dance, etc., are all things your brain needs for optimum function, just like the child running out to recess and then coming back in to finish the day. After giving yourself the gift of a 5 -15 minute break doing any of the previously mentioned activities, or something else that you enjoy, you will be ready to start up again with a fresh perspective.
The second work that actually improves your focus is boredom. I bet you never thought that would improve your focus! Let me explain. What happens when you have a feeling of being bored, is you are giving your brain the opportunity to rest and reset itself so it can then go back to the priorities of what is important. Like building a muscle, much of the growth comes from the rest in between sets or workouts. All push and no rest will lead to a diminished return of production. Boredom for the brain is as good as rest for a muscle.
Knowing this, think about your workday and your work output. How can you add a couple breaks of creativity and permission-based intentional boredom? Maybe next time someone accuses you of doodling or staring off into space and not getting anything done, you can confidently look at them and tell them you are actually “building your focus”.
Why Multi Tasking May Be Harmful To You
Posted: April 15, 2020
As I am sure you know, your mind is like a muscle that, with training, can grow - not in size, but in the ease with which it can do tasks. The more you use your brain in a specific manner, the more it gets accustomed to working and the task at hand tends to become easier and easier. In an article I came across written by Mayo Oshin MayoOshin.com, he references a study done by Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin. Mr. Levitin writes, “Multitasking creates a dopamine-addiction feedback loop, effectively rewarding the brain for losing focus and for constantly searching for external stimulation.” Levitin suggests that the same regions of the brain that we need to stay focused on a task, are also easily distracted. Each time we multitask — by browsing the internet, scrolling on social media feeds, checking emails and so on — we train our brains to lose focus and get distracted. Here’s the bad news. Just like the effects of a drug, our brains can get addicted to the dopamine rush from switching tasks and losing focus. Once this happens, it becomes very difficult to break the cycle.
So, what does this mean and how does it relate to the Pillar of “Focus on You.”? From the perspective of giving yourself complete and total attention when you are goal setting, laying out your week, working out, meditating, etc., if your habit of thinking is based on jumping from one thing to another, it will be difficult to rewire your brain when you need it to be there exclusively for you. Next time you are tempted to hop quickly from one topic to another, please remember - there is a lot more at stake for you than simply getting things done.
What’s Your Magic Formula for Reigniting Your Focus?
Posted: April 08, 2020
Have you ever felt drained, tired or frustrated? I think we all have. Being human allows us to, whether we want to or not, experience the kaleidoscope of emotions. Experiencing negative emotions is inevitable, but recovering from them as quickly as you need to is what’s most important. While everyone has the way that fits them best, if you haven’t cracked the code of what works best for you, consider these two categories; exercise and meditation.
Exercise provides movement, increasing blood flow and releasing chemicals in the brain that alter the way you feel. Research studies have shown time and time again the powerful and positive effect that getting your heart rate up has on altering how you feel.
Meditation, on the other hand, seems to be the complete opposite at first glance, but actually isn’t. Think about when you see a stressed-out person. If you look closely you will see shallow breathing, unnecessary tension in their muscles and in their facial expression. What does meditation do? For starters, it changes the way they breathe. Short, rapid, shallow breathing is replaced by long, slow, deep breathing that fully oxygenates the body and brain. The body slowly lets go of unnecessary tension through deliberate relaxation, at times combined with visual imagery of scenes that bring a sense of calm. So which way is better? Answer: The one that feels best to you. The same person may use both techniques but at different times. For example, a 5-10 minute meditation session while at work may immediately lessen stress on-the-job, while a brisk exercise session on the weekend might enhance your general outlook and make you feel better overall.
Creating the Perfect Environment
Posted: April 01, 2020
Have you ever had great intentions to be productive - gotten all your work together, spaced it out in front of the TV – and three hours later realized you’d gotten nothing done? I know I have. Part of what sets a person up for success is the environment they create. You can always tell a serious professional that works from home because they have a separate office space that triggers them to work when they enter it. You can tell the serious home-workout enthusiast as well, because, like the work-at-home professional, they have a dedicated workout space that triggers them to get the most from each session.
COVID-19 has brought this to the forefront of our attention as we all strive to continue to move on with our lives from the confines of home. Use this time to set up as close to perfect an environment to help you feel focused, energized and be as productive as possible. As the saying goes - when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.