Your willpower for concentration is just like your biceps.

This is one thing I really liked from this past weekend and some ideas on how to make it work for you (and possibly your kids):

Focus is something we’re told to do our whole lives by teachers, parents, and professionals.

But one thing occurred and was brought to my attention as we went through this past weekend.  We’re never ‘taught’ necessarily how to focus/concentrate.

I’m sure many people told you when you were 7 years old, 15 years old and again maybe in university or college – to ‘concentrate’.  However, it’s likely that no one ever taught you how to concentrate.

And just like a healthy diet, positive mindset, and exercise – it takes practice to get better.

How do you get better?  My daughter is 4 right now – so if you’re like me you’re wondering how do you teach a 4 year old to start concentrating?  Concentrating when there’s a world of Lego, Netflix for kids, and baby dolls?

You teach them just like you would teach yourself.  You do one thing at a time.

And in the beginning it feels like a lot of work.  But if you remove distractions you become focused and can concentrate.  Your willpower is a muscle just like your biceps.  In order to strengthen it you need to exercise it.

So – if you have two kids, a career, like to exercise, go on date night and keep your house tidy – concentration on one task at a time can feel impossible.  What can you do yourself?

  • Live in the now.  It sounds really cliche but think back to all the times you were performing at your best.  You probably were doing just one thing at that particular time.  Not thinking about the future or past reduces anxiety/worry when you do this.  Do one thing and stick with it until you complete the task.  I challenge you to block off 50 minutes of time and do just one thing for that 50 minutes – try it 3 times over the next week.  It’s easy to do this with fitness (because you can’t touch a device like a smart phone or computer) – so try it with your best work.
  • Put away your smart phone.  The smart phone is an awesome tool to keep in touch but it can run your life.  It’s like a mini-computer so think of what happens every time you get on the computer?  Leave it out of the spaces you occupy and see what happens to your connectedness with others and tasks at hand.
  • No email or social media for the first hour of the day.  This was one of the tips from Brendon Burchardyou’ll find yourself 30% more effective over the course of 7 days if you create this new habit (based on research).  Think about it – you’ll have more concentration power for the important tasks first thing in your morning while you’re fresh.  Instead of reacting to other people’s agendas you will be proactively looking after your own.

These work for us and for little people.  Think about the potential bad concentration habits we’ve created over the past 20+ years as a result of getting distracted.  The best time to help someone learn concentration (and willpower) is today.  Start small and challenge yourself to the above 3 things.

These will help you carve out more time for your health habits as well.

Let me know how you make out?


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