Tools for Gaining Focus

There are several tools for gaining focus, as referred to in the video “Study better, study less.” I outline some of them here.

A lot of those tools deal with time. I use a lot of counters of sorts, to focus during specific time intervals. I find 15min intervals work well. The video says that after focusing for 15 minutes, you should take a break for regaining focus. I have an hourglass, actually two hourglasses, one for 15mins and one that measures 1 hour.  I don’t take a break after 15 minutes of work, but it really helps to just count off those fifteen minute intervals. I make a note in my paper log for every 15 minutes in focus, and at the same time I measure off the hours, and mark those as well.

I use the flashlight as suggested by Marty Lobdell. As a reminder, the idea is to have a light that you turn on only when you’re working, to train yourself to have a Pavlov’s reflex to focus when the flashlight is on – catching focus, so to speak, with the flashlight. I use a battery-powered one because my desk lamp is always on.

Check out also another article about Time Tracking Tools. 

I find that turning off the phone really helps. That’s also quite a commitment – to not use the phone for 8 hours! But then you really keep your mind on what you are working on.

I’d also say that Physical Exercise is a precondition to having good focus.

And, practice makes perfect. It’s a Virtuous Circle: The more you do it, the better you are at it.

Focusing on no more than, like 3 things at a time (actually just 1 thing at a time) also really helps. I think personally I’m distracted just by the sheer number of things that I do. Cutting it down to 2 or at most 3 would be helpful.

Hunting down focus has always been a concern, a pursuit. I think it’s an ongoing one. That also means it’s a perishable skill – if you don’t practice focus, you lose it short-term. It’s not like you can achieve it once and keep it. Or maybe you can – maybe just knowing that you can focus for an entire day is surprisingly reassuring that you can do it again. Conversely, maybe if you haven’t been really focused, you may not know that it’s possible.

With that, enough rambling haha I hope I outlined some interesting tools for gaining focus.

On Spending While Learning, & on Paying for Education

A quick summary of my opinion on the topic. Education is one of the most important things to spend time on; and definitely worth strategic money investment.

Education should not be overpriced. So I can’t say that to spend hundreds of thousands on a piece of paper is worth it. It may be, or it may not.

Real education is often worth it. In the modern competitive world, highschool education is required. College education is required. There are exceptions, where college dropouts are successful, however such strategy is not generally recommended. College teaches you how to pursue a single objective (graduation) for 4 years. College teaches you social skills.

Statistically, PhD’s don’t pay for themselves: the opportunity cost and overall cost of a phd is *not* recovered throughout the lifetime of the individual, so it is not recommended. Same probably applies to Masters degrees. However, masters in business, statistics, or economics sounds generally worth it.

MBA pays for itself, and is recommended.

I generally recommend spending small amounts of money ($10’s or $100’s) on single (non-degree) classes. Examples are: salsa classes, language classes, classes on using excel, accounting, reading financial statements, css tutorials, etc. Spending a small amount is motivation to learn, to get something out of that class. Spending also means that you hope the learning resource is of higher value than a free resource.

South Africa’s murder statistics in face of Covid-19

Have you seen South Africa’s statistics on covid-19? They are brutally enforcing the lockdown – arresting people for not wearing masks – and not only reporting “no excess deaths”, but it looks like they are reducing deaths from all causes. Am I crazy, or does it look like their lockdown is reducing violent crime, reducing people’s opportunity to kill each other for petty reasons? South Africa is second-worst in the world for murder statistics. They may consider going on a permanent lockdown to save some more lives.