If you’re a busy business person looking to start a side business or do some internet marketing for your existing company, then you will be faced with the challenge of trying to get lots of work done in short amounts of time.
Your ability to do this will come down to many things, but one of the most important aspects is just how effective you are at focusing and holding your attention for long periods without interruption.
In other words, you need to be able to sit in front of your computer and write 3,000 words in a row or to spend 2 hours straight responding to emails and chasing links and leads.
Problem is, most of us are not well practised at sustaining our attention in this way and most of us will struggle not to get distracted by TV, games consoles, Facebook or calling friends for a chat.
Fortunately, understanding the way your brain works can help you to get a little more work done.
Introducing the Salience Network
You are constantly switching your attention and changing from one thing to another. Sometimes this is conscious, while other times it is a kind of knee-jerk reaction that your body does for you – such as when you hear a noise or notice movement.
Our ability to change and hold our own attention is called ‘executive attention’ according to psychologists and is controlled by the ‘dorsal attention network’ (our conscious attention) and our ‘ventral attention network’.
To decide what is important, the brain defers to another specific region called the ‘salience network’. Our salience network meanwhile responds primarily to biological signals that are tied to our most basic survival needs – things like hunger, fear, surprise, and curiosity are what drive us.
Using This Information
So, what does this have to do with the busy internet marketer? Well, it shows you how you can regain control over your brain.
First: avoid signals that will steal attention away from your focus and remember that many of these are biologically driven. That means you need to avoid sudden loud noises in your environment, movement or flashing lights. Likewise, though, it also means that you need to avoid feelings of discomfort, of being the wrong temperature or of being hungry. All of these things will appear to be more ‘salient’ as far as your brain is concerned.
The other tip is to try and remind yourself why you are doing the things you are doing and to find that emotional drive. It’s not easy for the brain to think of typing as being highly important, which is why it’s so easy to get distracted. Your job is to remind yourself then what typing really means: it means eventually having access to all the resources you could possibly want, to feelings of success and reward and to the freedom to go wherever you want.
Keep your eye on the prize and always remind yourself why the thing you are doing is so important.