FOCUS
  • Concentrating efforts along the right priorities in an effective manner
  • Honing attention, time and energy into fulfilling specific responsibilities
  • Guarding against distractions and saying “no” to that which degrades high-quality performance

COMMENTARY:
At this time of year, while we are in the midst of the E-rate Filing Window, so many tasks are set to be completed in specific timelines and prioritized according to the requirements of USAC on one side, and our clients’ needs on the other, it’s no wonder that sometimes even the best E-rate Guide can occasionally succumb to a lessening of focus. 

But all is not lost! Recent findings by psychologists are shedding light on discoveries in the science of focus. They reveal that some of the best tips currently on the Internet for combating distraction and loss of concentration bear little relation to how the human mind really works.

Here are some of their counter-intuitive tips that may be the best approach to reviving your attention and focus.

Zone Out 
Psychologists are coming to realize that we spend an awful lot of time daydreaming, in some cases almost 50% of the time. This has led them to believe that mind wandering is not so much a glitch but rather a key part of the way our brains function. Keeping this network of brain regions functioning during concentration requires more energy than the brain regions that are active when we aren’t thinking about much. As we run out of steam during the day, these mind-wandering regions become active. So – think about scheduling your mind wandering time during a break in your day, or perhaps take five minutes to think about something unrelated to your current task, maybe something that you can problem-solve, then come back to your task.

Have a Good Laugh
No matter how much we love our jobs, staying focused on something difficult requires willpower. A recent study found that a good way to boost your reserves of willpower is to have a good laugh. In controlled experiments, folks who watched a funny video tried longer and harder to complete an impossible puzzle than the folks who watched a video that was relaxing, but not funny. Yes, that means that we can benefit from watching those funny “man and a buffalo” videos on YouTube – just not 24/7.

Take Breaks
When you’re up against a deadline, taking a break might be the last thing on your mind. But there’s quite a bit of evidence to suggest that it can help improve concentration and regain focus. Whether it’s taking a micro-break for a few seconds to work on some unrelated, problem-solving topic, exercising (even better if it’s outdoors), or doing some mindful meditation, these can bring a boost of reinvigorated energy to improve attention and the ability to focus.
 
And finally, if all the above sounds too time consuming, there’s always that quick dose of caffeine, which improves memory, reaction time and attention in the short term.

Now that the best E-rate Guides have intuitively engaged their mind wandering time to read this article, they are ready to dive back into their multitude of E-rate tasks, focused on delivering world-class service and compliance support to their clients!
 
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Key Words and Phrases
To concentrate attention; Emphasis; Fasten; Center; Train; To have a clear perception; To bring to focus.

Opposite Terms
Blurry; Out of focus; Without direction.
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GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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