Sitting or lying in your bed day in and day out for weeks and months can really drive you insane. That’s why it’s important to keep your mind and body busy with something or the other, whether you’re working from home, attending online classes or just picking up new and old hobbies.
But one common thing that I hear people say is that they simply can’t focus. I hear you all cause focus is one thing I’m unable to force. Despite my motivation to work on my WIP or read a book I often find my brain getting distracted again and again.
But recently I’ve started applying a simple trick which has infinitely increased my focus and today I’m going to share it with you all. This can be applied to absolutely any field but I’ve been applying it to writing blog posts and working on my WIP for the past few weeks.
So here’s the thing, some of you may be aware of classical conditioning. You don’t have to be in the field of psychology to have heard of the famous experiment where Pavlov used to ring a bell before feeding a dog repeatedly over a long period of time and discovered that the dog would start salivating even before the food was presented. The mere sound of the bell would trigger its salivary glands in expectation of food.
Now what if I say that this can be applied to humans as well?
This is in no manner a new concept but I’m simply using it to establish focus. In general there are many applications of classical conditioning in humans. We start feeling hungry the moment we step into the kitchen. If we’re watching a terrifying movie while eating a certain food we might develop a certain aversion to that food later on. Christmas music can often trigger a happy mood and sweet memories. The examples are endless and are seen in every field.
Many of you know that some famous writers have their own quirks in their writing processes. For example, T.S. Eliot would wear green face powder and lipstick every time he would sit down to write and Fredrich Schiller insisted on having a drawer full of rotting apples and claimed that their smell inspired him to write. Now these are all bizarre practices but what you might notice here is that these are all triggering habits. For Schiller, every time he would start to write, the smell of the rotten apples would trigger his creative thoughts which is very similar to the conditioning of the dog that I explained above.
I’ll take a more recent and less strange example. Author Sandhya Menon lights up a different candle for every book she writes. She claims that she picks up a candle scent and lights it every time she’s working on a project. Sounds a simple enough habit, right? What might be happening is that the act of lighting the candle and it’s scent triggers the author’s brain to work on her book.
I’ve personally been trying out this theory by lighting a candle before I sit down to write and putting on some binaural beats to listen to. As a result I’ve been much more productive and focused in my writing and often hours will pass by before I look up to see the time. Now part of this result might stem from the fact that binaural beats are meant to help you focus. I usually listen only to binaural beats but sometimes I shift to scene-specific music playlists on Spotify and they’ve been equally helpful for my focus.
So if you want to make a habit of focusing on your reading, writing or work just start doing a simple trigger action beforehand. This could be burning a candle, putting on a specific playlist, or even letting some apples rot…. if you’re into that
.What do you think of this method of conditioning your mind to focus?
Do you have any quirky reading or writing rituals?
How do you get yourself to focus on important tasks?