Defend against distractions and refine your focus. From emails, to text messages, to the latest Netflix series, life is full of distractions. Don't let these distractions stop you from reaching your goals! The following are some of the techniques (simple mental strategies) you can use to overcome challenges to maintaining focus… Start by getting focused in the first place. One technique is to set a timer for, say, three minutes and promise yourself that you can stop working when the timer goes off. Then, at the end of three minutes, you might have found the momentum you need to keep working. (Note to self: Seeing as I probably have a touch of obsessive compulsiveness, I do not suffer from the problem of finding momentum to keep working in any way, shape or form.) You can build on this strategy with the Pomodoro Technique: set a timer for 20 minutes and work without stopping during this time. When the timer goes off, take a five-minute break, then get back to work for another 20 minutes. Once you've found your focus, the challenge becomes sustaining it. External interruptions can evaporate your concentration. Control your work environment by eliminating. Put your phone on airplane mode and switch off your Wi-Fi. The challenges don't stop when you've found your focus, either. Once you started your task, it's easy to slip into "autopilot" mode. You might feel you're getting a lot done, but if you're not fully engaged with your task, you're less likely to retain new material. Combat autopilot with interleaving, which is deliberately alternating between materials and modes of learning. Ideally, interleave by tackling your project in short, regularly-spaced sessions. If you have ten hours in your week to devote to Hebrew, aim for five two-hour sessions rather than one ten-hour session. Then focus on a different aspect or skill set in each session, such as pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. Finally, make the most of your study sessions by paying attention to your mental arousal, or your level of energy and alertness. High arousal generates intense, yet narrow, focus—perfect for repetitive tasks, like practicing musical scales. Low arousal generates a more relaxed and wide-ranging type of focus, best suited to lateral thinking and forming connections, which are necessary for creative tasks such as music composition. For optimal learning results, match your arousal level to your task (i.e., perform simple tasks when your focus is more aroused and complex tasks when it's less aroused). Honing your focus using these strategies will ensure you have the mental stamina to complete your ultralearning challenge.