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Attention is like a filter that limits the amount of information that enters and remains in our viral payment software review.
It’s our ability to concentrate on a task without becoming distracted. Please note, I am talking here
about A task—one task. Why?
Because our brain is able to consciously concentrate/focus attention only at ONE task at a time.
Multitasking is a myth.
Ofcourse, our brain is running several applications simultaneously, such as breathing, blinking,
making our hear beat, coordinating complex muscle movements, and many, many more. But these
actions do not require conscious attention or awareness and are not recorded in memory.
For those things that need our awareness, interest, and memory to be at work, we can only focus on
one task at a time. Multitasking is actually a task and attention shifting exercise. Multiple studies
show that people who play the ‘multitasking game’ take twice as long to complete a task and make
50% more errors than those who don’t. (1, 2) So ifyou want to improve your focus and get your job
done faster, with fewer errors, stop multitasking NOW.
2. Maximise your attention span
Sort out your motivation
Increase your engagement in the task (interest and emotions)
Make your sessions more attractive with emotions
Extend your sessions gradually—make a plan, use tricks, use rewards, have breaks
Another way to improve your ability to focus for longer periods oftime is to work on extending your
Intentional Attention.
Do you remember when you last got so lost in a task you forgot all about the time? Maybe you were
playing your favourite game, or exploring a really interesting topic? Or maybe you were engaged in
your hobby, or something at work?
How did you feel?
Energised? Totally focused? In control? Learning effortlessly? Happy to the point ofecstatic?
Ifyes, chances are you were ‘in the zone,’ or to use a more formal term, experiencing Flow.
Flow is the state of‘focus on steroids’ and a ‘Holy Grail’ ofhigh-performance seekers.
You may remember from Chapter 3 that Flow happens when we are working on something that
challenges us and demands a high level ofskill, but we feel we have what it takes to get it done. Here
is a simple graph (again) to illustrate our reactions to various levels ofskill and challenge:

According to Owen Schaffer (3) , an expert in user research and a student ofMihály Csíkszentmihályi
(the Flow pioneer) (4), the conditions for creating flow are as follows:
Knowing what to do
Knowing how to do it
Knowing where to go (ifthere is navigation)
High perceived challenges
High perceived skills (yours)
Freedom from distraction
And feedback
Based on that, we can put together a recipe for ‘never-ending’ attentions span:
Get rid ofdistractions
Have a level ofknowledge and skills that enables you to do the task
Have a clear plan/goal for the 
viral payment software review 
Make sure your task-at-hand still requites you to learn and/or challenges your
Seek immediate feedback
There is also another key ingredient—a genuine interest, intrinsic motivation for approaching the task.
And ifyou go back to your memories ofbeing ‘in the zone,’ you will remember this was when you
were doing something you deeply cared about, had a passion for, or simply enjoyed.
Positive emotions enhance our ability to focus on a task at hand, and you can use them to improve
your attention span.
The best way to extend your attention span is to ensure you are actually interested in the task at hand.
However, this may sometimes not be the case. Young people, students in particular, face this
challenge quite often.
I get asked this question a lot: “But what ifI don’t like/I’m not interested in my subject? I am only
studying this [insert study subject/topic/job] because my parents made me do it/it pays well/it’s
popular/easy [insert an extrinsic motivation ofyour choice].”
Ifyou are not motivated to work on the task, or ifyour motivation is only external and the task
requires time and effort, it is likely you will struggle to focus for prolonged periods oftime. Or even
for more than those 10 minutes.
How to address lack of interest/motivation for the task/job at hand:
1. Sort out your motivation/intrinsic motivation
Ifyou’re lacking intrinsic motivation for the job/task you need to focus on, I suggest you
review it. Check Chapter 4 for tips on how to do it.
2. Add emotions
Ifyou read Chapter 7, you will know how emotions affect our attention. Ifyou haven’t, you
can go back and read it. Here is a briefsummary:
Emotions attract our attention. We pay attention to anything that’s emotional, negatively or
positively: joy, happiness, or fear, anger.
Emotions, positive or negative, can hold sway over our ability to focus, think, process
information, and concentrate.
With their promise of‘mental and physiological high,’ emotions provide an attractive and
powerful distraction, which is very hard to resist ifthe task is mundane, boring, and dry.
In Chapter 7, I explained how these properties can impact negatively on your focus. But there
is a positive side to it, too.
Since we pay attention to anything that is emotional, emotions can enhance our ability to be
attentive and remember. The trick is to find that sweet spot where your emotional state
enhances rather than hinders your ability to focus. 
Adding emotions to whatever task you’re trying to concentrate on will help you keep your
focus on it for longer. Interestingly, research shows it doesn’t really matter ifwe use positive
or negative emotions. Both modalities can enhance your 
viral payment software review to concentrate on the task at hand and perform. Apparently, positive emotions, such as joy and happiness, help us think
creatively and problem-solve, while anxiety or anger are more likely to enhance our
analytical thinking and attention to details. (5)
It takes some trial and error and exploring to find your optimal spot. Be mindful not to
‘overdo’ negative emotions, because too much ofthat stuffis more likely to affect your focus
Here are a few ways in which you can enhance your focus with emotions:
Set up your environment to enhance your preferred emotional state:
Use your favourite colours, favourite props, tools, smells, etc., to enhance the sense of
joy, happiness.
Create a sense ofstress or time pressure by reminding yourselfofa tight deadline or
setting up one yourself—a countdown clock/timer or calendar with the due date circled
in red can work very well. Deadlines, even self-imposed ones, can be a very effective
way to enhance your focus.
Do something that makes you laugh or smile before your session. Listening to your
favourite happy music is the most common way of‘inducing’ the sense ofjoy and positive
energy (listening to songs with lyrics prior to the session is okay, it’s during the
working/study session when lyrics become more ofa hindrance than help to focus).
For some people it is talking to someone they like/love. For others, playing with their pet.
And, yes, you can watch those funny videos on YouTube, or LOL Cats—just don’t turn it into
a procrastination session.
Do something that makes you feel accomplished, successful, even it is washing a pile of
I had a friend who claimed that cleaning helped her learn—she would clean her study room
and neatly arrange all her gear on her desk and bookshelves before her every studying
session. She said it gave a sense ofpride and calm: that everything was orderly and under her
Chat to someone you like/love
You can also dip your toe into the negative emotions, but be careful. I’ve already
mentioned using deadlines and time-pressure related stress. I know that some people are
motivated by a fear offailure or anger. Try it, ifit’s your cup oftea, but be careful not to
overdo it.


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