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Your Brain Can Only Take So Much Focus

By Srini Pillay

The ability to focus is an important driver of excellence. Focused techniques such as to-do lists, timetables, and calendar reminders all help people stay on task. Few would argue with that, and even if they did, there is evidence to support the idea that resisting distraction and staying present have benefits. Practicing mindfulness for 10 minutes a day, for example, can enhance leadership effectiveness by helping you become more able to regulate your emotions and make sense of past experiences.1 Yet as helpful as focus can be, there’s also a downside to focus as it is commonly viewed.

The problem is that excessive focus exhausts the focus circuits in your brain. It can drain your energy ...

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