Friday, September 9, 2011
Classic 40k for the New Professional: Concentration
Well, I've not been good about getting anything posted, so I'm gonna get another old post back up for everyone's enjoyment and enlightenment. There's some weird stuff going on here, and re-reading it really made me have a WTF moment. All the song quotes and other general oddness associated with it make me feel almost ashamed of this. Maybe it was a bit of a misstep. I don't know.
I do know that this post is fairly appropriate since I've been trying to concentrate and crank out some new material, and I just can't. Life goes in a circle, apparently ;)
I have been unable to concentrate lately. What this has resulted in is a marked increase in the number of unfinished articles languishing in limbo (where they hang out with unbaptized dead people or whatever) when I lose my train of thought and can't quite get them to any kind of orderly resolution.
I know that there are a lot of people who have concentration issues, so I thought that tossing out a nice little article about ways to regain your concentration might be useful.
First of all, there are really two kinds of concentration losses that I'm aware of. One kind, I'd like to categorize as "Short Term" and the other kind I like to think of as "Systemic."
Short term concentration loss is characterized by being unable to concentrate on one specific thing (or a few specific things) or by being unable to concentrate for a rather short period of time. It's more contextual, meaning it may have to do with the exact thing you're trying to do. This kind of concentration loss is a little easier to get around, because it seems focused on one area or task. If manage to get through what you're trying to do, you may defeat it for sure (or just banish it until it's time to do that specific thing again).
Systemic concentration loss is more like a general antsiness or dissatisfaction that just keeps you from doing anything at all. It's a lot harder to get through.
Regardless of which kind you happen to be suffering from, I have several solutions that can help to push back the tide and let you get back to work/play/whatever and get some stuff done.
1- Meditate (Song Quote: "You're in a trance, you're in a trance")
Take a minute and clear your mind. Sit down and center your chi/spirit/whatever. Basically, try to push everything out of your mind so it becomes a blank slate. After you've managed to get rid of all distractions, you should be able to start doing whatever you like without any distractions. Doing some breathing exercises might help you do this.
Pros: This is quick, only takes a few minutes. Relatively simple to do. Cheap, since it doesn't require anything other than you.
Cons: Doesn't work well for a lot of people. Has the tendency to make some people more distracted because they can't clear their minds. EVen if it does work, you may have to repeat the process several times as distracting thoughts seep back in.
2- Nap (Song Quote: "Taser, taser, kindergarten nap, nap time")
Just like it says, folks. Close your eyes and sleep for like 15-30 minutes. A lot of times, the process of sleeping and waking will work like rebooting a computer. All the extraneous crap floating around in your brain will be shut down and you'll be able to start being productive before it all starts up again. Added bonus of an extra little bit of rest.
Pros: Again, relatively quick, easy and cheap.
Cons: You can't do this everywhere. Plus, some people may not be able to sleep so easily or quickly. Other people may become groggy afterwards. Still others may not be able to sleep at all. For me, this doesn't work well. I have insomnia, so if I get to sleep (ha ha, yeah right, insomniac) I want to stay there. However, I know a lot of people who like this.
3- The Chemical Solution (Song Quote: "Am I wrong to feel such bliss that ain't real?")
Caffeine, chocolate, nicotine (smoking is bad... try e-cigarettes, as a former smoker, I like them), whatever (within reason, folks... although I do favor blanket drug legalization, for the record). Sometimes, all you need is a little pick me up. Add a little chemical flavoring into the mix and watch all of your distractions fall to the sidelines and your mind becomes a fine-tuned razor.
Pros: Can be extremely effective. Quick (the absorption of most of this substances takes very little time) and sustainable (as long as you have access to more).
Cons: Can cause side-effects, such as jitters. Also, there is the damn near inevitable crash. Also, this can be costlt or habit forming.
4- Exercise (Song Quote: "Get up, get out, get loose")
I could have grouped this in the Chemical thing (endorphins, ftw), but I think it's a totally different process. Getting yourself all pumped up and letting off the excess energy can really focus your mind. It really can help you hammer out some other issues in your mind while you are doing your physical activity so that you've gotten some of those resolved before you start working again. We have the added benefit of contributing to your general fitness and welfare here.
Pros: Another extreme effectivness here. Provides additional health benefits.
Cons: This is time intensive and not always able to be done in all situations. It can also really tire you out so you get nothing done even after you clear your mind.
5- ...err, how do I put this delicately? (Song Quote: "...from your morning spank")
We're all adults here, so I can say it. Sometimes, you just need to rub one out (masturbate, for the euphemism impaired). This works by releasing chemicals and getting you focused on one thing for a few minutes. After you're done, hopefully you can refocus onto whatever you need to do.
Pros: How do I phrase this so it doesn't become one glorified masturbation joke? Screw it. It's quick and easy. There you go, laugh, you sickos.
Cons: There are definitely some times/places you cannot do this. Also, it could be messy, depending.
Alright, these are just a few techniques that you can use when you can't focus. If there's something you do that I don't have, put it in the comments.
Like I said before, generally odd and slightly different than some of my other material. I make no apologies for that. Again, I find it interesting to go back and re-examine my old work. Gives me a new perspective on some of it.