If we want to accomplish what matters most, we will need focus and concentration. A lot of it. So we better get some training. The author Cal Newport has great training process in his book “Deep Work”.
What productive meditation can do for you
Productive meditation can be done in a variety of settings, for example while you go for a run or a walk. The key is to resist distraction & redirect your attention repeatedly to a well-defined problem. It helps strengthen distraction-resisting muscles. And by forcing to drive deeper and deeper on a single problem it sharpens concentration. It requires practice to do well. It might take a dozen or so sessions before seeing real results. Patience will be necessary.
Be aware of the pitfalls
We need to be aware of distractions and looping.
- Distraction: When you notice that you got distracted, just bring yourself back to the topic.
- Looping: When you notice it that you are repeating the same thought again and again, remark to your yourself that you seem to be in a loop and then redirect your attention towards the next step.
Structure your deep thinking
By following this process, you can power up your productive meditation. This is an intense workout routine for your concentration ability.
- Select the variables needed and store them in your working memory.
- Define the specific next step question you need to answer using these variables. You now have a specific target for your attention. Now go and think about it.
- Once you have solves the problem, clarify your thinking by summarizing. This solidifies it and shows you that you are indeed making progress.
At this point you can push yourself to the next level of depth by starting the process over. Deep focused reflection unpeels layer after layer. You will be amazed by how far you can go, once you get in the habit of training that. Our thinking needs direction, without it, it will very likely just follow distraction and get hung up in loops.
So now we have an intense workout routine for our concentration. Additional you might check out memory training. It is equally effective.
How about you? What is your experience in training your focus? Did you find something particularly useful? Let me know in the comments below.