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This month, the Mindful Leadership Club at Move Mountains is exploring the concept of “focus.” Through our practice sessions, meditations and workshops, we are diving into the sometimes elusive objective of bringing greater focus to the task at hand. Inevitably, someone is craving the snake oil, the magic solution that in a dash, improves one’s ability to focus. Unfortunately, like building muscle or learning to play an instrument, focus requires practice – and loads of it.

So what practices could possibly allow me to sit and accomplish a task that I have had on my to-do list for weeks? After all, the flood of distractions, the constant requests for our attention, all serve to pull us away from the point of our focus.

Perhaps then, the practices are less about the focus, and more about noticing the distractions. In fact, in his book Your Brain at Work, David Rock suggests just that. “Maintaining a good focus on a thought occurs through not so much how you focus, but rather how you inhibit the wrong things from coming into focus.” David acknowledges that stopping yourself from acting on an urge – whether to check your social media or scratch your head – can be terribly difficult. And yet, there is hope! Check out this list David provides in the book. “Some things to try:

  • When you need to focus, remove all external distractions completely.
  • Reduce the likelihood of internal distractions by clearing your mind before embarking on difficult tasks.
  • Improve your mental braking system by practicing any type of braking, including physical acts.
  • Inhibit distractions early before they take on momentum.”

With those tools in mind, I will leave you with this final thought from David: “Being ‘always on’ (connected to others via technology) can drop your IQ significantly, as much as losing a night’s sleep.”

You’ve got this! We’ve got your back!

- Charlie and the Move Mountains Team