Concentration is a crucial skill, yet not everyone knows how to do it right. Below are some common misbeliefs when it comes to deep focus and how to fix it.
Doing every task in order
If you’ve tried and not succeeded in multitasking, try “interleaving.” This technique involves alternating subjects or topics in one study or work session, as mentioned by Professor Barbara Oakley in her book “A Mind For Numbers.”
It’s different from multitasking — interleaving is switching between topics which helps the brain to accurately retrieve information. The technique helps prepare our brains for various tasks or subjects — increasing memory capacity and creativity.
Taking breaks causes inconsistent workflow
Most people don’t realize that even during breaks, the brain doesn’t rest completely. Taking necessary breaks (e.g. going for a short walk or taking a nap) can refresh the brain, stimulate productivity and creativity, and also aid in memory formation.
The quicker you get started, the faster you get things done
The early bird doesn’t always get the worm. There’s a risk of rushing into things quickly, or in other words, “pre-crastination,” as explained by Adam Grant, an American organizational psychologist and bestselling author, that can result in an expenditure of unnecessary effort and may decrease performance. Instead, he suggested in his 15-minute TED talk that pacing yourself and planning ahead can open more room for creative ideas.
The three surprising habits outlined in the video include:
- The proclivity to procrastinate
- The tendency to work on an existing idea (rather than creating a completely new one)
- The willingness to accept the possibility of failure
Focusing too much on the results
Results are the standard by which work is judged, so understandably we often focus on it. However, if you know how to share a focus on the process, you will be more likely to achieve your goals and be satisfied with yourself, and even increase your happiness level.
Trusting the process helps you review, reducing the tendency of rushing to achieve results and trying to take shortcuts. As a result, you will feel less pressure and stay consistent with your route.
In conclusion, it’s always better to find a balance between work and relaxation to refresh your mind. Follow your own pace, take necessary breaks, and trust the process.