I really enjoy watching sports on the weekends. I also enjoy reading super-nerdy books. I use both of these loves as a way to train my focus.
There are countless articles and books out there worrying about how modern technology and social media are destroying our concentration. While I’m not sure how dire the situation truly is, I do think the ability to focus deeply is a super power.
The way I cultivate this skill in myself is by switching back and forth between my book and the sports coverage, reading during the (many, oh so many) commercial breaks. The goal each time is to achieve real focus as fast as possible. Because I read with a pencil in hand, taking notes, I can tell whether or not my full attention has truly returned to the book.
My goal in running these drills is to foster the mental discipline I need to deal with the inevitable distractions I face when working on something important. Since I consider my real job to be leadership, it is not wise to cloister myself away from those who want my time. A better alternative is improving my ability to change focus quickly.
I’m not sure how I would measure these improvements, but I am happy with my progress. Since watching live sports is the only time I am subjected to commercials any more, I am also happy to block them out as much as possible. Win-win.