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How to Focus

·666 words·4 mins·
Technology Digital Minimalism Productivity Focus
Joshua Blais
Joshua Blais
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Your focus is absolutely horrendous.

But, so is everyone’s.

I am willing to bet that you couldn’t even make it to the end of this post without looking at your phone once.

That’s because you have forgotten the fundamental skill of humanity - the ability to set focus on a task and complete it to the fullest extent you are capable.

You have probably experienced flow state in your life, but you’ve also forgotten it in the past 5 years or so, what with everything being so instantaneous and ’right here, right now’.

Neuroplasticity is a gift from God above, though.

Here is how you train your focus.

Put your phone in another room, on airplane mode

First thing’s first - Get your phone off of your desk and away from where you are working.

Nothing impedes your focus and ability to concentrate on a given task more than this satanic device that you carry around with you everywhere.

Give yourself a much needed break and put it away for the duration of your focus session.

Set a timer for 90 minutes

You will likely not be able to focus for 90 consecutive minutes.

That doesn’t matter - you need to get into the groove of what that 90 minute period will feel like when you can focus for that long.

Grab a coffee or green tea.

Caffeine undeniably boosts focus.

So, take a performance enhancer and get to work.

Shut off your ability to access the sites and platforms that will distract you from your end goal

You need to make sure that you are not capable of going elsewhere from your task. That means that maybe you should be using a browser that only allows you the access of your social apps and that you use another for the purpose of getting focused work done.

For me, I use firefox for development and qutebrowser for documentation/research.

Chromium is for social apps. It is not open when I am working.

Put on some deep music that you can work to

Michael Burry in the Big Short was a metalhead. That doesn’t mean that you need to be.

I prefer deep house music with minimal or no lyrics so that I don’t lose focus on the task at hand. Whatever that is for you that allows you to access your deeper thoughts, I would highly recommend it.

A couple recommendations:

While I wrote this article:

40Hz Bianural Beat

Some nostalgic game music ;)

Learn to Touch Type

The skill that helped me to focus more is ironically the one that made me more productive.

If you don’t know how to write on a computer without looking down at your fingers, you are kneecapping your ability to reach flow state.


Because you want your input to be as unfettered as humanly possible - and if you can’t type at the speed of thought, you are drastically limiting what you are capable of flow wise.

Go play some TypeRacer or MonkeyType

Go to a Novel Place

One of the greatest psychological hacks you can impose upon yourself is to do creative work in a novel place.

There are many such stories of a authors that book return tickets on airlines and simply write there and back for 14 hours.

When they arrive from where they left, they have a rough draft of a book completed. I’m sure they choose business class for this endeavour, but that’s not to say that you need to.

I like exploring new coffeeshops where I can do work and write. It creates a novel experience where I can get new words and thoughts out.


It will take a lot of effort to get your focus back from the grasp of social media, instantaneous pleasure, dopamine hit land. But, I truly believe it is one million percent worth it.

What are you going to do when you can focus like Bradley Cooper in Limitless?