football player focused on intercepting a pass

Get Focused

Stay Focused

Focus

Objectives to focus on:


man walking along with a cloud of thoughts following him

WII-FM  (What's In It - For Me)

Are your thoughts like a yippee little puppy? Or, are they like a well-trained retriever that heels properly and fetches on command?

Like any other skill, focusing is a learned skill and can be improved with practice.

In this module you will learn several techniques that will help you train your brain and help you stay focused. This will allow you to be more in control of your online experience (and your life in general).

Drawing by HikingArtist.com

Complete these Learning Activities.

Print your To-Do Checklist for this module.

As you complete the items below, check them off your list. This will help you keep track of what you are doing as well as give you a sense of completion as you work through the course.

Note: Each link below will open up in a new tab or web page. This allows you to easily return to this page for the next learning activity.



Choose one of these articles. Read through it and choose four items. Incorporate these into your life.

Repetition and mindfulness is the key to making things stick the way YOU want them.

Estimated time: 30 minutes

laptop with life line coming out of it Journal Activity: Get Focused. Stay Focused (page 12). Write down the list the four things that you plan to do to get more focused in your life. (Focus is one of the key techniques to successful on-line learning.)


person multitasking with multiple arms, each doing something Listen to this podcast "Think you're Multitasking? Think Again." from NPR.
(7:49 minutes) Click "yes" if your browser wants to open a popup window.

Use Your sense of sight to maintain your focus as you listen: Read the transcript as you listen.

Use your kinesthetic (hands-on) brain to maintain your focus: Jot down some notes of things that you think will be useful to you in the future.

A quote from the podcast:"People can't multitask very well, and when people say they can, they're deluding themselves," said neuroscientist Earl Miller. And, he said, "The brain is very good at deluding itself."

Photo by RyanTron - Flickr.com

Estimated Time:  10 minutes


Listen to this podcast "How Multitasking Affects Human Learning" from NPR. Click "yes" if your browser wants to open a popup window.

Use Your sense of sight to maintain your focus as you listen: Read the transcript as you listen.

Use your kinesthetic (hands-on) brain to maintain your focus: Jot down some notes of things that you think will be useful to you in the future.

Estimated Time: 15 minutes


Read this article, A Wandering Mind Is a Sign of Unhappiness, from the New York Times

Estimated Time:  15 minutes.


Screen shot of exercise showing blue bars and red bars screen shot from Juggling Task Exercise
See how well are you focused. How effectively can you filter out unwanted input?

Run these two tests from the New York Times to see how well you focus and what happens when you try to multitask.

There are two tabs along the top of the page:
"Test Your Focus" and "Test How Fast You Juggle Tasks"
Try each one of these exercises.

Estimated Time:  15 minutes.


Screen shot showing eye movement of business person working on a computer Watch this video to see one person's focus as he works at his desk. The blue circles show how long his eyes are resting on any given spot.

Shot of multitasking computers showing where to click for video Click on the link near the top left of the photo, "See Mr. Campbell in action from his own perspective"

Estimated Time:  5 minutes or less.
(Just watch enough to see the blue circle almost fill the screen. That's being focused.)


laptop with life line coming out of it Journal Activity: Multi-tasking (page 13). Jot down some notes of things that you think will be useful to you in the future that you learned from the multi-tasking activities.


Love to multi-task? See what is really happening in your brain by playing this game. http://www.kongregate.com/games/IcyLime/multitask

What was your high score? Why do you think this is so difficult?

Notice how your brain has to shift from one task to the other. Your brain can really do only one thing at a time.

Estimated Time:  15 minutes.

laptop with life line coming out of it Journal Activity: Multi-tasking Game Scores (page 14). What were your scores? Did you get better or worse? Describe what it feels like as your brain shifts from one task to another.


Learn the Art of Writing A To-Do List. Watch this 3 minute video showing three things that make a great to do list.

Write down the three things so you'll remember them (or in case your instructor asks.)

Why write to-do lists? It is a great way to get a sense of accomplishment for the things you have done.

Estimated Time:  5 minutes


Experience meditation. A really great way to get focus in your daily life is to meditate. This summary page explains meditation and has videos that will allow you to experience mindfulness meditation.

You will also learn the benefits of meditation especially on helping you focus.

Estimated Time: 1-2 hours.


football player focused on intercepting a football Stay focused. Examine 15 more tips from different people.

You have been incorporating some great techniques on how to stay focused. Hopefully the items you adopted in the earlier modules are already giving you excellent results.

Here are the titles of ideas from 15 more people on how they stay focused.

  1. Timers Keep You Focused
  2. Playdough to Offset A.D.D.
  3. Post It Where You Live
  4. Envision the World You'll Create
  5. Focus Friend
  6. Get It In Front of You
  7. Better Business Decisions
  8. Black Belt Focus
  9. Feel the EMOTION of your WANTS!
  10. The Large Poster
  11. Check Your Talking and Texting Patterns
  12. Use Technology to Beat the Competition
  13. To-Do List Before Bed
  14. Block It Out to Block It Out
  15. Simple Exercise to Get Focused

Read through the actual items, select at least two that sound useful to you, and add them to your list. Review all the focus items on your list and continue to actively incorporate them in your daily life.

Estimated Time: 20 minutes

laptop with life line coming out of it Journal Activity: Use Page 8 - Get Focused. Write down the two items you selected to help you get focused and write down how you plan to include these in your life.

Bonus!

Feeling Stuck? Here are 100 ways to change your life in 20 minutes from WiseBread.

From the article: "You've got 20 minutes to change your life in 100 ways. Go."

laptop with life line coming out of it Journal Activity: Feeling Stuck (pages 1516)? Write down 100 things you want to do. Or careers you want to have. Or people you would like to meet. The sky is the limit. But.... you have to get all 100 things written down within 20 minutes.


Use Readability to reduce distractions.

View this 1-minute video to see how Readability works and how to "install" it.

Readability runs in Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. Written by the team from Arc90 on Vimeo.


On the left is a before shot of the original article.

On the right is using Readability.

Click on the images to see a larger view.

You have finished the Focus module.

You should already being the difference on how well you can concentrate on whatever you are doing. Feels good to be in control a bit more, doesn't it?

Next, you'll learn how to collaborate with others out on the Web as well as how to be more effective with your Web searches.

Click here to move on to Module #5 - Web Tools Module.