43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Concentration strategies for students

Here's a wonderful tour de force on Concentration that's written for students and which includes tips on identifying distractions as well as a useful list of techniques for putting your attention where you want it to be and keeping it there.

A few I liked:

  • At the beginning of a study period, spend a few minutes to calm and relax your mind and body. (Try 'Focus on Your Breath' exercise, below.)...
  • Do not tell yourself off or tell yourself to concentrate. When you are thinking about not concentrating, you are not concentrating....
  • If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all the things you have to do in your life, remember that you can only do one thing at a time...

We have lots more here on battling distraction, including this excellent essay on "good" distractions by Paul Ford.

BMEguy's picture

Re: The same goes for work...

Active noise canceling headphones (which is what I think you're referring to) probably wouldn't be much help in shielding you from Ozzy/Sabbath. They don't usually cancel arbitrary waveforms (like music) and are not so effective in the ranges of voice. They are good for constant humming sounds like airplane engines and fans.

You're better off trying some in-ear headphones -- not the kind that just sit on your outer ear, but the ones that squish into the ear canals. They can be had from the very affordable (JVC "marshmallows" can be had for $15 on sale, normal $24) to the reasonable ($70 for really excellent etymotic ER6i) to the obscenely expensive. All though they take a little getting used to, they will cut random office noise significantly. I plug them in when people in the conference room next door have open-door meetings and presentations, or the guy across the hall decides to have a conference call on his cheap microphone that requires him to virtually shout his conversation.

Another advantage is that because they block out most of the ambient sound, you can keep the volume at much lower levels.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »