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  • Olav Schewe

How to Improve Your Focus

When the Greek king Odysseus was about to cross a sea, he knew it would be challenging. On his journey, he and his crew would pass by the sirens - creatures known for luring sailors to their deaths with their beautiful singing. Odysseus realized that he wouldn't be able to resist the sirens' song. At the same time, he wanted to hear their singing.

So, he ordered his crew to tie him to the mast of the ship. He made it very clear that no matter what happened, they should not release him. Then he had the entire crew fill their ears with wax so they couldn't hear the singing. When the boat encountered the sirens, Odysseus would be tempted to jump to his death, but it was impossible – he was bound to the mast.

Distractions are everywhere. In the past, it was believed that developing self-discipline was the solution to overcoming distractions. But modern research has shown that it is more effective to take strategic measures in your environment to REMOVE distractions so that you don't need to rely on self-discipline.

Odysseus did just that. He realized he wouldn't have enough self-discipline when faced with the sirens, so he let himself be tied to the mast. And voila, he didn't need to use self-discipline at all.

You can do the same as Odysseus: Take strategic measures so you don't have to rely on self-discipline to focus.

It's simple. If there are things in your environment that tempt or distract you, remove them. This way, you'll eliminate constant reminders and find it easier to concentrate.

For instance, when working on your computer, close unnecessary windows.

To reduce distractions from your mobile phone, put it away so you can't see or reach it. Put it in a drawer, bag, or in another room. Research shows that students who take such measures get distracted far less than those who have their phones in front of them and rely on their self-discipline.

Do you need to study but would much rather watch a movie? Don't sit in a place where the TV is visible. You'll be reminded of it and have to rely on self-discipline. Find a place where you don't have a TV or other tempting things around you.

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