Notes

Dave Meier
January 19, 2023
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The Science of Focus: 3 Key Neurotransmitters You Can Take Advantage of to Boost Productivity

Focus can vary greatly from day to day.

  • 🔥 Some days — you’re on fire
  • 😫 Other days — you’re constantly behind
  • 😱 Willpower & planning are not the only solutions
  • 🧠 Brain chemicals affect your ability to focus

3 key neurotransmitters you can take advantage of:

Acetylcholine

Increases focus on information and drown out distractions.

Think of it like a volume button for the important stuff and a mute button for the noise. Increasing Acetylcholine levels can improve your ability to focus on the task. Go from thought everywhere to laser beam focus.

Maintaining healthy Acetylcholine levels:

  • Get good sleep
  • Avoid caffeine before bed
  • Practice mindfulness, meditation or yoga
  • Eat foods rich in choline (eggs, fish & spinach)

Dopamine

Helps you steer your focus in the right direction based on past knowledge and experiences.

It’s like a guide for attention, leading us towards what’s important and away from what’s not. By boosting Dopamine levels, you can create positive triggers & habits. If something feels good you’ll be drawn towards it.

Dopamine can work for or against you.

Dopamine is also associated with reward-seeking behaviour, which can lead to distractions such as social media use. Create positive Dopamine loops and avoid returning to quick negative hits.

Form helpful Dopamine habits:

  • Set time limits on tasks
  • Reward yourself for completing tasks
  • Spend time with friends and loved ones
  • Add positive emotional anchors to tasks and outcomes

Norepinephrine

Helps keep you alert and ready to take action.

It’s like a spark that ignites your attention and fuels action. Increase Norepinephrine to encourage action. Action will feel more automatic and less like a heavy lift.

Encourage good Norepinephrine:

  • Get enough sleep
  • Find new challenges
  • Take short breaks & get outdoors
  • Consume caffeine from coffee, tea or chocolate