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Here is a basic run down of why you can’t stay focused…

  • After 12 seconds of effort, your neurons are running on empty.
  • They first look to glial cells for lactate, a readily used sugar.
  • If glial cells can’t find lactate, they look for glycogen, which they store up at night and later convert to energy.
  • If your neurons can’t find lactate or glycogen, they get exhausted—enabling other parts of your brain to call for attention
"We learn more and retain more. Creative pathways are opened up as we engage more of our senses. Forming letters by strokes, as opposed to selecting each by keys, opens regions of the brain involving thinking, language, and memory that are not opened through typing. Writing, real writing, makes you smarter.”
Need to get focused? Try turning off your computer and doing some good old fashioned hand-writing.
[Image: Flickr user Lali Masriera]

"We learn more and retain more. Creative pathways are opened up as we engage more of our senses. Forming letters by strokes, as opposed to selecting each by keys, opens regions of the brain involving thinking, language, and memory that are not opened through typing. Writing, real writing, makes you smarter.”

Need to get focused? Try turning off your computer and doing some good old fashioned hand-writing.

[Image: Flickr user Lali Masriera]

What is the scientific connection between coffee shops and creativity? 
University of Illinois researchers found that the level of noise that matches the bustle of a coffeeshop—around 70 decibels—spurs more creative performance than the quiet of 50 decibels or the distracting, blender-volume of 85 decibels. Why? 

What is the scientific connection between coffee shops and creativity? 

University of Illinois researchers found that the level of noise that matches the bustle of a coffeeshop—around 70 decibels—spurs more creative performance than the quiet of 50 decibels or the distracting, blender-volume of 85 decibels. Why

It’s called a lilac chaser. You’ve seen it before. It’s an optical illusion with a small black cross in the middle, encircled by twelve blurry lilac-colored dots. A green dot animates over the lilacs as though counting the time on a futuristic clock. Stare at the cross long enough and the lilacs disappear, one by one. But the moment you get distracted and look away, the lilacs come back.
The black cross is the work you do. The lilacs are all the things ancillary to your work. They’re the small choices you’ve made around your black cross: the time you wake up, the tools you use, what you have for breakfast, when you check your email, and so on. They’re the various aspects of a daily routine—things that, when fixed in place, disappear with the passage of time.
How your habits become productivity-draining distractions

It’s called a lilac chaser. You’ve seen it before. It’s an optical illusion with a small black cross in the middle, encircled by twelve blurry lilac-colored dots. A green dot animates over the lilacs as though counting the time on a futuristic clock. Stare at the cross long enough and the lilacs disappear, one by one. But the moment you get distracted and look away, the lilacs come back.

The black cross is the work you do. The lilacs are all the things ancillary to your work. They’re the small choices you’ve made around your black cross: the time you wake up, the tools you use, what you have for breakfast, when you check your email, and so on. They’re the various aspects of a daily routine—things that, when fixed in place, disappear with the passage of time.

How your habits become productivity-draining distractions

… it’s better to work highly focused for short periods of time, with breaks in between, than to be partially focused for long periods of time. Think of it as a sprint, rather than a marathon. You can push yourself to your limits for short periods of time, so long as you have a clear stopping point. And after a rest, you can sprint again.

Engagement pro Tony Schwartz’s productivity tip? Dedicate 50-90 minute bursts to focusing on just one task.