organized brains

A man who does not think for himself

does not think at all.

Oscar Wilde

Concentration and organized thinking work together, but one does not necessarily lead to the other. To concentrate is to direct your mental energy or your efforts toward a certain action, subject or issue. Memory is the power to remember information, experiences and individuals. Some people seem to have super powers in both of these categories, here are some particular skills that you can learn to heighten both your concentration and organized thinking. Practicing a few of these skills is likely to also help improve your positive mental attitude.

When something is stored in your mind, you don’t forget it. You might, however, on occasion, have difficulty recalling the data.

Good concentration can help heighten your organized thinking. However, if you only practice those skills that improve you organized thinking, but never take a serious look at the things that break, disrupt or divide your concentration, then your efforts will probably only be marginally successful.

Let’s make a deal

Begin by making your mind a deal it cannot reject. Yes, your mind does indeed take bribes. Rather than telling it NOT to worry about a different, or lesser priority item, which will only cause your mind to consider that very thing exclusively, try to assign it one task with definitive start-stop time parameters.

For example, let us say that you are concerned about getting a particular bill paid, and you need to do a presentation in a few days. Try saying to yourself, “I will think about how to pay off that charge card debt when I get home this evening and have a chance to look over all of my bills and add together. For now, for the following 30 minutes, say 1-1:30 pm, I will place my full focus on practicing this presentation so that I am eloquent and articulated when it is time to pitch this proposal.”

Still stuck?

Ok, so your brain didn’t buy that deal thing. Let’s move forward.

Write it down!

If you still cannot shake those additional concerns on your mind, write them down on your to-do list. Writing them down now frees you to block them. Recording distressful or pressing obligations means that you do not have to utilize your brain as a “reminder” message board. This also means that you will be able to provide your undivided attention to your main priority task.

I have found it useful to keep writing supplies by my bedside. At night when I am settling in, I often come up with a solution to a thorny issue that I could not see during the day. Or when I awaken in the morning, I have something in mind that I want to address. In the first case, I do not have to lose any sleep trying to keep track of the thought. In the later, I can just go to the bedside and pick up where I left off.

Or is it something else…

Are you finding that you don’t feel like concentrating? Could it possibly be that you trying to avoid a task or project that you should be working on, but don’t want to? You called it! That’s a sort of procrastination. It is absolutely astonishing how long it takes to finish something that you are not actually working on.

Procrastination can be brought under some semblance of control by asking yourself three little questions:

  • Do I have to accomplish this?
  • Do I want it accomplished so it’s not on my mind?
  • Will it be any simpler later?

These 3 questions may provide you with the incentive to mentally apply yourself as they bring you face to face with the reality that the chore will not disappear magically. They will also remind you that by delaying the task, you will simply be adding to your guilt feelings and making this into a burdensome chore which will only occupy more of your brain and time.

Procrastination is, hands down, our favorite form of self-sabotage.

Alyce P. Cornyn- Selby

Pavlov, cups and presence

Think of your mind like a camera and your eyes as the aperture. Most of the time, your eyes are “taking it all in” and your mind is in “wide-angcamera le focus.” You can consider a lot of things at once and maneuver pretty efficiently this way, most of the time.

What happens if you now wish to shift to telephoto focus? What if you have to get ready for a test where you will be required to give 100% concentration? Cup your hands around your eyes so that you have “tunnel vision” and are looking only at your study text. Placing your hands on the sides of your face screens the surroundings out a bit so that they are literally “concealed, out of mind.” Consider the importance of those words.

If you tried cupping your hands around your eyes every time you want to switch from wide-angle to telephotograph focus, that physical ritual will become a Pavlovian trigger. Using your hands like blinkers or blinders each time you wish to narrow your focus will help teach your mind to switch to a ”one track” mind and center at your command.

Want to know how to be “present” and fully here and now rather than senselessly mentally and/ or physically rushing here, there, and everyplace? The very next time your brain is a million miles away, merely look around you and truly take in your environment. Study the dainty flower in the vase. Get physically up-close to the picture on the wall and marvel at the artist’s craftsmanship.

Try leaning in and truly view your loved who you have a tendency to take for granted. Your world will come alive in your mind’s eye.


Photo Credit: “lapolab” via Compfight cc and christian.senger via Compfight cc