My seat is hot. I start to lose feeling on my legs as my body feels glued to the chair. I glance at my phone, it’s been 3 hours.
I tell myself: I won’t leave this seat until I finish this assignment.
As time passes, I get more and more tired. I’m sure my computer is smarter than my brain at this point. Again, I tell myself that I need to learn how to focus more.
Does it sound familiar?
That used to happen every time I work on something. Now, I get away from that chair whenever I’m feeling stuck but more productive than ever. As it turns out, I don’t need to focus more.
I learned that there are two ways the brain works, focused and diffuse mode. Focused mode means my brain is fully concentrated and diffuse mode is when my mind wanders around.
Focused mode is what I thought should happen all the time, while diffuse mode should be avoided to get the job done. However, the brain needs both modes to function well.
It’s similar to cooking a beef stew. I need to fully concentrate when preparing the ingredients before cooking. After that, I can stare at the pan for hours, but it won’t make the beef cooked. I also can’t increase the fire to make it cook faster, it’ll burn the beef instead. I just need to go away and give it some time to stew.
I need focused thinking when starting out. But occasionally, I have to give my mind time to “stew” the ideas. By combining both mode, I’m more effective and productive.