On bandwidth

As you learned today in a book,* your mind has limited bandwidth, and it functions accordingly, switching between tasks and thoughts to run with efficiency. One insight that will help you focus is that the brain can tune out distractions when it is concentrated on one demanding task. This might be why listening to audiobooks at a high speed helps you focus more. Since the task of listening is demanding, you give it bandwidth and have to tune out other distractions to keep up, which results in focus.

In all of what you do, focus will keep you on track more than the act of trying to avoid distractions. If you sit down to work with the intention of not getting distracted, your brain will have enough bandwidth to get lost in unrelated thoughts. If you sit down with the intention of becoming engrossed in your work, your mind can become so focused that it will ignore the rest of the world around you. You observe people in this focused state all the time—turning into heavy traffic, writing a text message, or even entertaining themselves by television. It seems like these people have tunnel vision and nothing else around them matters. Aim for this kind of focus when you sit down to write or pursue any kind of creative endeavor.

Just make sure that your attention is never on things as fleeting and unimportant as writing texts or watching television.

*Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman.