Photo by Immo Wegmann on Unsplash

It seems like we’re always trying to find ways to focus on one thing at a time. We’ve learned that multi-tasking is terrible for productivity, and that our favorite apps are designed to addict us and keep us hitting “refresh,” even when we should be doing something else. So here’s a hack that I accidentally discovered for concentrating. It won’t apply to everything, but if you find yourself in a situation where you can employ it, I think it could really help:

Consume content in a different language, with subtitles in your preferred language.

My mom gifted me an online class I’ve been wanting to take but have been too intimidated to try because it looks really hard. Oh, and it’s in Spanish with English subtitles. While I can follow along with casual Spanish conversation, I am not fluent and definitely need technical instruction to be in English. I was nervous about my ability to keep up in class because of the language, but as it turns out, I was forced to focus on the content!

I sometimes conflate fluency in a language with an understanding of what I’m consuming. For example, I can put a TV show on and listen to it while I’m actually watching my Instagram feed, but I’m not really absorbing what’s happening on TV (I have missed big moments and had to rewind because of this bad habit). With a class that’s taught in Spanish, I can’t just pop over to my inbox while in the middle of a lesson because I have to listen and read the subtitles.

Not only did this “trick” (in quotes because I didn’t have another choice) force me to focus, but it also meant that I was 100% present in the activity, which is pretty darn zen, if you ask me.

Let me know if you try this trick (or already do something similar)!

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