If you could just make yourself study… If you could just make yourself read the textbook… If you could just quit wasting so much time on FaceBook… If you could just make yourself get up in the morning…
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The “thinking cap” does not exist. The “thinking coat,” on the other hand…
Increase your concentration by–drum roll, please–wearing a white lab coat. No lie. A study done by Adam and Galinsky, 2012, found that wearing a white doctor’s coat actually increased focus as measured by comparative visual search tasks.
That’s wy-hy-hy-hyld! They boosted brain power–not by engaging in Red Bull-fueled, late-night study raves; not by snarfing sweaty handfulls of gingko biloba pills and Continue reading Clothing for Concentration – Changing What You Wear Can Increase Your Focus
© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
The New York Times recently talked to Winifred Gallagher, author of Rapt—A Guide to the Science of Attention. Here are a few of her suggestions…
- Use earplugs to decrease distractors (this will sound familiar to my GRE students)
- If possible, do your important work in the morning. Most brains are fresher then.
- Avoid interruptions. The brain can’t reboot instantly.
- Sip caffeine. It does help you attend.
- “Multi-tasking is a myth.” Concentrate on one thing at a time (turn off the TV, the iPod, the cell phone, etc. whilst studying).
Homely site, but the section on “Motivation and Concentration” has some valuable info. Scroll down a bit, and you’ll find the heading in large red letters.
So far in this series (other posts in the series can be found at the bottom of this post) we’ve looked at six of the nine aspects that characterize what psychologists term the “flow” state; that conscious state of high concentration and focus where we lose all track of time and perform at peak levels. We’ve looked at ways to bring each of those aspects into our studies. What about those last three?
(7.) A sense of control. In order to really get into that high concentration groove you’ll need to feel like you are in control of your studying. That can be really tough if you feel overwhelmed. You may feel that there is just so much to do you don’t know where to start or that the material or task is too difficult. Continue reading The Secrets to Study Concentration Through Control and Focus
© Cody Blair, All Rights Reserved.
Part 3 in the series “Getting Into the Study Groove” – See the end of this post for more segments in the series.
So far we’ve talked about the first four characteristics of that perfect state of academic zen; the state where we are at one with our studies, losing all track of time and all sense of self and getting completely focused on the task in front of us. The next two items that typify the flow state are…
(5) Direct and immediate feedback. To hit that perfect zone of zen-like concentration you need instant feedback. A kindergartner with a coloring book has that sort of immediate feedback; “Am I coloring Continue reading Improve Your Focus With Better Feedback and A Perfect Challenge Level
Part 2 in the series “Getting Into the Study Groove” – See the end of this post for more segments in the series.
Dr. Csikszentmihalyi lists nine different characteristics of the “flow” state, and so far we’ve looked at how the first two–clear/attainable goals and focus–can help us reach study zen. Let’s take a look at the next two.
(3) Distorted sense of time. When you get into the flow, you get all Rip-Van-Winkle. You’ll look up and realize large chunks of your life have tiptoed silently past your study carel and are now lounging about the in the hallway pestering the librarians.
Solution: Set a timer. Your cell phone probably has one built in. If you ‘ve turned off your self phone in a desperate bid for distraction destruction, you may need a watch or egg timer instead.
I kid you not; you will need it. I used to be the worst about getting distracted (I could daydream on a roller-coaster), Continue reading So Focused You Forget Yourself (And Your Watch!)
Mental focus or concentration…
is not just for zen masters and chess prodigies. All of us can concentrate extremely well on certain things. Usually, you don’t really notice when you’re completely focused on something. You only realize the degree of your concentration later when you are amazed to find that hours have passed.
For some, those hours slip silently away while they play Halo or while watching Mega-Monster-Movie Marathons. Some may get lost in a good book or chatting online or shopping or playing basketball. Psychologists, led by a man with the tongue-busting name of Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, have called this state “flow,” and have lost hundreds of hours of their own trying to figure out what makes it happen and how they can replicate it.
Csikszentmihalyi, in a Wired Magazine interview, describes this flow state as, “being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every Continue reading Getting Into the Study Groove