How to train your brain to find focus

CAREER ADVICE   |   2 minutes  |   December 5, 2016



Is your lack of focus leading you to a risk of stagnating in your career?

It’s time to ditch the “employee” mindset and become the master of your own domain. Whether you’re starting out, climbing the ladder, or shifting gears, the changing definition of what constitutes as a “career” in today’s working world demands that you learn, unlearn, and relearn on a regular basis if you want to keep up.

Here are five shortcuts to help you learn faster, remember more: 

 1. Adopt a growth mindset

In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, psychologist Carol Dweck distinguishes between a ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindset. The ‘fixed’ mindset approach could be holding you back. Do you assume your intelligence and creative ability are inherited and can’t be changed in a meaningful way?

Remember, your brain is a muscle and you need to exercise it. You can lead your development by having a ‘growth’ mindset.


– Embrace challenges and see effort as the path to mastery

– Think about obstacles as opportunities to stretch yourself

– Prioritise being pushed forward instead of being praised

– Learn from criticism and be inspired by others

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2. Eat food for thought

Alright, this is not exactly new information. You’ve heard it before, but one more lesson can’t hurt right? Change your motto to be more ‘bring on the blueberries and biltong’ , rather than ‘come at me chips and chocolate.’


Eat foods that not only feed your body, but also your mind.

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3. Mind the paint

Do you have a creative outlet that rewards you? It may be time to turn your attention to tasks that challenge your creative side

According to a Scientific American article, you’ll be focused on fewer tasks after hours when you’re tired, which will result in you being open to more information. Your reduced concentration levels will allow you to gain a broader creative scope.


Take note of your energy patterns. Night owls will be more creative in the morning when they are tired and early risers will be better at night. During this time, turn your attention away from screens and focus on engaging in activities such as painting, cooking or writing.

4. Namast’ay calm

Ever heard of the stress-brain loop?

In her research, Barbara Mahaffey, a psychotherapist, shows how a chronic stress cycle of inadequate sleep, poor nutrition and emotional distress can lead to influencing the brain’s capacity to learn and recall new information.

Time-Management - Balance - Prioritsation - Learn Faster

If you don’t manage your stress you’ll experience a decrease in your attention span, perception, short-term memory, and word-retrieval.


Whether you’re into yoga, exercise or reading, find a way to de-stress that really works for you, and practice it regularly.

Another good way to combat the effects of stress? Take a nap. Research, from the University of California’s psychology department, shows that sleep affords your brain the opportunity to clean out its temporary storage areas, which frees up more space for new information to be absorbed.

5. No train, no gain

When it comes to rapid learning, practice makes perfect. Sometimes the key to keeping your brain agile is as simple as recognising the way you prefer to learn.

 Time-Management - Balance - Prioritsation - Learn Faster


Be honest: did you click through to this article because you saw the number ‘5’? Your brain craves organised lists – use one the next time you need to remember a set of key points. Your personality type will also affect the way your brain learns.


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