In my taekwondo classes, we emphasize the aspect of focus when learning a technique. Focus on stances. Focus on hand position. We also discuss a broader perspective of focusing on whatever goals have been set.
There is so much to this theme it’s difficult to just stay with one point.
When I’m competing in tournaments, I’ve learned to focus on my performance. I don’t look at the judges, except when bowing in and accepting my score. When I start my form, I focus on a spot above their heads. I try to tune out any distractions. When I change directions, I don’t look at the audience or other competitors. For the two plus minutes I’m moving through the form, I don’t think I hear crowd noise or music except as a background rush of white noise.
I focus on my moves. I think about the technique I’m doing and how I’ve trained to execute it the best I can. Then I think about the next move. If I make a mistake or don’t land properly after a jump kick, I try to recover a quickly as possible and move on. I don’t let the judges know I’ve erred by reacting.
In sparring, I’m focused on the opponent, trying to anticipate and counter his movements. Again, background noise get muffled and only the voices of the judges get through.
When I write, I do so either in as much of a quiet atmosphere as possible or with music playing low. (Usually jazz or classical.) This makes it difficult to write outside although if I focus, I can manage it. I have problems writing at home although it should be much quieter there…well, except for the cat who meows when he thinks I should pay attention to him. However, there seems to be more distractions at home. Or at least I allow distractions to…well, distract me.
In college, I could concentrate on homework unless somebody’s radio was playing, with one exception. The guys across the hall liked to play various hip-hop songs that were composed before rap became so popular and so stupid. The ‘music’ was a simple two, three, or four beat rhythm repeated for several minutes. For some reason, I could focus on my studies with that reverberating through the doors. I think this is similar to classical. The ongoing beat was constant. It never changed. Classical music all sounds the same to me (I know it’s not, so don’t any music aficionados write me nasty emails) so, for me, it doesn’t change too much either. The only interruption on some of those long nights was the NPR announcer announcing the previous and next symphony in a voice that sounded as if he’d swallowed a handful of Valium before his shift. Seriously, listen to late night NPR. The guy sounds as if he just woke up. Of course, if you’re playing hours and hours of classical, I can understand it. (Oh lighten up, I’m joking. I actually enjoy classical music. However, I don’t apologize for calling rap stupid. I mean, have you listened to some it? lol)
How do you focus on your tasks? Do they vary day to day or with individual projects?