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How to learn to manage your attention
How to learn to manage your attention

Our happiness, productivity and self-realization depend on the ability to control and direct attention.

How to learn to manage your attention
How to learn to manage your attention

Now, it seems, the whole world around is created in such a way as to distract us as much as possible. Companies like Google and Facebook find weaknesses in our perception and use them to subtly influence our behavior. After all, each new notification, each letter received, each site we visit, increases the time of using their product.

It's time to get your attention back. Here are three ways to learn not to waste it, but to focus on what matters to you.

1. Mindfulness meditation

In Buddhist tradition and modern psychotherapy, meditation is used to develop mindfulness, which helps to be fully in the present moment.

The point is to sit silently with your eyes closed and concentrate on what happens to your body and mind.

Meditation reduces stress, helps you to relax and move away from all distractions. Quite simply, you sit down and concentrate on one thing, most often your breath. Naturally, you will be distracted, hovering in the clouds, thinking about something. Meditation is not about getting rid of any mental activity. You just need to observe it in the present moment.

If you are having trouble meditating at all, try focusing on one sensation or environmental stimulus while exercising or doing some simple, repetitive work. This will train your brain to control attention.

2. Single-tasking

Multitasking is not as effective as we used to think, especially when it comes to mental work. Moreover, it damages the brain. Every time you switch between several tasks, the brain becomes stressed, and the ability to concentrate on a new task decreases.

When you are focused on doing one thing for a long time, these consequences do not arise. Single-tasking helps you to be more productive and teaches you to focus on one subject for a long time. It is similar in effect to meditation: the more you exercise, the better you get, the easier it is for you to consciously direct your attention to what you need.

3. Regular suspension

When you pull out your phone to log into social media, or when your 10-minute internet break stretches for an hour, your brain creates a habit loop that strengthens with each repetition.

This is why it is so important to restrict the use of digital devices. Try to regularly distance yourself from such distractions. For example, check your email and notifications at certain times of the day, and once or twice a week don't pick up your smartphone and laptop at all.