Level 1: Tune out distractions at your will

What do silicon valley techies, investment bankers, corporate lawyers - the most well paid jobs and students from top universities do in common?

Abusing Smart Drugs.

The rate of abuse is between 7-33% for prescription drugs for attention deficit disorder. And to what end?

The edge.

To do better than others in entrance exams.

To secure a position in well paid jobs.

To win in the competition.

One should not be overly competitive.

But one should always be ready for competition.

We may not wish to subject ourselves to the side effects of these prescription drugs.

However, there is a lot to be gleaned from the mechanism of how these smart drugs work, and to play this knowledge to our advantage.

Our brain is divided into many regions responsible for different functions, such as seeing and hearing which process raw electromagnetic waves and soundwave signals into something intelligible, sifting through huge amounts of noise, all the time.

These processes are very computationally expensive and we are doing them almost all the time.

What a smart drug such as amphetamine does, is to tone down the sensitivity of brain regions to external input, such as reducing peripheral vision. 

Meaning we are less likely to pick out movement from the corner of our eyes and be distracted by it, and so doing, we can reclaim these brain regions for processing the information we want to focus on.

It is about freeing up our preoccupied processing power from taking in too much external input, which we don’t need. Putting these assets directly under our conscious control gives us the abundance of thinking power that we commonly call focus.

Moreover, distraction, stress, and fatigue throughout the day disengage the different regions of our brain from working in synchrony with each other.

As a result we are seldom as focused as what we can be.

How can we put these discoordinated brain regions under our conscious will, and tone down sensitivity to distraction, so they obey our conscious decision, and focus on what is really important to us?

Just a few minutes of Focus Biofeedback. 

Find the intuition to control our attention at will, to tone down our senses to distraction, and to find coordination with our different brain regions, with this training. 

With these otherwise distracted brain regions back under your control, you can redirect this deepened attention to any other task, and enjoy the focus boost in a matter of minutes. 

More importantly, it is effective brain training that, like weight training for your brain, rewires your brain each time you do it.

So practice it.

Till you can tune your focus even without Focus Biofeedback.

For this control over your brain regions, your processing power, your attention, is a rare superpower.

Build up this edge.

You deserve it.

 

Objective

Practice the following “If-Then”, and build this level 1 focus skill into your knee jerk in 66 days, the natural habit formation lifecycle.

IF

A:you feel that you are distractible, or

B:you fail to receive focus streaks while you work

THEN

Step 1: do a Focus Biofeedback training, and wipe out all the droplets on screen.

Step 2:label the source of your distraction and try to mitigate its effects.

 

If A: you feel that you are distractible

The feeling of distractibility is the direct opposite of being fully engrossed in, for example, a movie or game, so much that, you might even miss someone calling your name.

This typically happens if you have been switching between many tasks, after long meetings, finishing a TV marathon, or if you didn’t get a good night sleep.

This feeling of distractibility means you not only feel foggy, but also are easily distracted by internal thoughts and chatter. You tend to be attracted to sounds and movements, or do things mindlessly, like scrolling through webpages and social media way past your bedtime.

What essentially happens, is that your senses are toned up to be hypersensitive to any form of external stimulus you might receive, or internally generate. Someone walks by, and your peripheral vision fires up, triggering the internal thought, “Who is that?”, depriving you of the attention needed for the real problem at hand.

In contrast, when you are not in a distractible state, your peripheral vision is toned down, so you don’t even notice who walked by, and won’t actively engage in the irrelevant internal thought of “Who is that?”, as your conscious will is orchestrating the processing power of the different brain regions, to give you full focus to what really matters to you.

 

If B: you fail to receive focus streaks while you work

In FOCI, you can tell you are in this distractible state, when you cannot seem to form focus streaks, even if you are not necessarily forming distracted streaks. This is because your focus is fleeting, as it is often being interrupted by internal distractions or environmental stimuli such as noise or movements.

 

Deep work summary, distracted and finding it hard to focus.

Figure 1. You can tell that you are in a distractible state, when you fail to receive focus streaks while you work. This Deep Work Summary shows Amy has worked for 30 min, but without any deep focus or focus streaks.

 

Then Step 1: do a Focus Biofeedback training, and wipe out all the droplets on screen.

Focus Biofeedback helps you bring distracted brain regions back under your control (at 90ish Focus Depth). With this you can direct this deepened attention to any other task, and enjoy the focus boost.

Let Focus Depth value guide you,

1) Relax your body as you breathe in.
2) Try to feel as much bodily sensation as you can as you breathe out.

 

Repeat these 2 steps to refocus the brain regions responsible for bodily sensations.

The most common mistake is to skip step 1, “conscious relaxation”, as it is absolutely essential to balance out “deliberation of focusing” - analogous to stage fright, in order to reliably get into deep focus as and when you want it. 

You have the choice to use audio, visual or both. The efficacy of the choice depends on the individual and is contingent on the specific situations from which the distractibility originates.

With the audio, you can control the rain. As you go into deeper focus, the sound of the rain would get lighter and softer, and as you get into deep focus, you would begin to hear the birds chirping. (Best used with headphones.)

 

Focus biofeedback training, consciously increasing concentration.

Figure 2. Focus Biofeedback Training helps us learn to consciously control our attention and reduce distractibility. Find the control of the liquid and fill up the bulb.

 

With the visual, you can try to control the liquid and fill up the bulb. This works on your visual brain regions.

It usually takes less than a minute to tune up Focus Depth to 90ish. You would be able to feel the difference around that range.

 

Focus biofeedback training, learning to reduce distractions.

Figure 3. Sustain Focus Depth of more than 80% for the droplets to disappear and reduce your distractibility with this Biofeedback Training.

 

“Droplets on screen” is an approximation of the minimum amount of Focus Biofeedback needed to reduce distractibility. When you are in a more distractible state, there would be more droplets on screen. The droplets would start to disappear when Focus Depth is above 80%.

Important note, the Focus Biofeedback comes with inhale and exhale beats, which help us adjust our breathing to get into focus. Breathe in and out with beats, with Focus Breathing Technique.

 

Focus breathing technique

Figure 4. Focus Breathing Technique: Breathe in twice with one beat, and breathe out with one beat.

 

The 2 short inhales help maintain better flow of breathing, and prevent shallow breathing that tends to reduce lung compliance over time.

 

Then Step 2: label the source of your distraction and try to mitigate its effects.

Label the source of your distractions into 5 categorical types.

1) Internal thoughts (impending exam, to-dos)
2) Visual distractions (movements, flashing colors)
3) Noise (conversations, loud music)
4) Digital distractions (messages, social media)
5) Physical distractions (hunger, thirst, heat, cold)

 

Mitigate the distractions if you can. For example, if you are distracted by a smartphone, you might turn off the notifications or put it away from sight. If you are distracted by noise or conversation around you, you can try wearing earplugs or perhaps noise-cancelling headphones.

Summary

IF

A: you feel that you are distractible or

B: you fail to receive focus streaks while you work

THEN

Step 1:do a Focus Biofeedback training, and wipe out all the droplets on screen

Step 2:label the source of your distraction and try to mitigate its effects

Build this Level 1 Focus Skill into your knee-jerk in 66 days.

Tick off a checkbox for each day you practice “If-Then”.

 

How to improve mental focus , build new habit in 66 days.

 

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