A Recipe for Focus and Concentration

Have you ever been frustrated that you can’t seem to finish that paper that you’ve been writing for so long? Or maybe you’ve been falling behind on deadlines recently?

In the digital world, perhaps one of the greatest features ever created (aside from ‘undo’) is the ability to leave multiple tabs open. This function makes it easier to copy and paste those Wikipedia one liners on your research papers and submit it as your homework – kidding.

However, great as multiple tabs may seem, keeping multiple tabs open might be the one hindering you from meeting your deadlines.

A problem of focus.

In a study conducted by Bryan College, an average millennial switch attention from platforms 27 times PER HOUR – that’s like a little more than 2 minutes per platform.

Studies suggest that multitasking makes your productivity drop by as much as 40%. This doesn’t only go for writing your research paper, but also for studying. Imagine scoring 60/100 on the exam you’re cramming for. Yikes.

Now, you might be saying: “but I’m able to do multi-tasking so well”. According to the national geographic documentary “brain games” only 2% of the population can do multi-tasking well. Either way, it’s still a good thing to focus on one single task.

With the changing times and evolving technology, how can you achieve focus?

Well, lucky for you my friend, we have a recipe for that – yes you read it right – a recipe.

  • What you’ll need:
    • A headset
    • The material you are going to write/study
    • An extra pen and a pad of paper
    • You’re smartphone
    • BONUS: prepare a playlist
  • Here’s what you’ll do:
    1. List everything that you’ll do/study and put them in order.
      • Ex. 1) study quantum physics 2) cry 3) Feed cat 4) study quantum physics without crying. 5) cry.
    2. Turn off all your notifications and leave only your music as your only source of audio.
    3. Remove all distractions: social media, gaming app, picture of your ex, fidget spinners, that bottle of beer – anything that will cause distraction.
    4. Optional or only if someone loves you: Text your clingy boyfriend/girlfriend/mom that you’ll be studying, and you’ll update them every 20 minutes (I’ll explain later why 20 minutes).
    5. Go to your music streaming app and search for “background music” and choose whatever it is you like. Remember, don’t choose anything with lyrics. (later we’ll also explain why) Also, yes, budots is acceptable.
    6. Set a countdown or an alarm for 20 minutes.
    7. Whenever you’re ready, put on your headset. Start that timer and start your task
    8. When the 20 minutes is up, take a break, rest for 5 to 10 minutes then repeat.

Okay so I’ve listed some FAQs on the method above and explained why we recommend the steps above.

  1. Why 20 minutes?
    • This is actually from a technique called “Pomodoro” (you can google it). It basically states to set a certain time to do something then rest and then repeat – so it’ doesn’t necessarily have to be 20 minutes, however..
    • Based on studies, 20 minutes is where your focus peaks, after 20 minutes your focus drops gradually. This is the best time to rest, review and after some time – repeat.
    • Some people who have built their focus can go for 40 minutes non-stop. You can train your brain to do this.
  2. Why can’t I choose my favorite KPOP song or anything with lyrics?
    • Based on studies, lyrics or words in songs can distract you even if you don’t memorize them or you are not familiar with the words.
    • Words can catch your attention and put pictures in your mind. We don’t want you answering “let’s kill this love” in one of your test questions now, would we?
  3. You said to prepare an extra pen and paper? What was that for?
    • Okay, so nobody’s perfect, there will come a time that you may be distracted or might an “aha” moment for something not related in what you’re doing.
    • For example, you might suddenly remember that your crush gave you her Instagram account – don’t stop what you’re doing to follow her, write it down and once your 20 minutes is up you can do it by then.

BONUS TIP: there is an app on playstore (yes, playstore because we’re not RKs who can buy apple) called “tide” – no, not the detergent. Yes, it’s an app.

What it does is it blocks your notification for a given amount of time (based on what you set) and then it can play any background music of your choice (it can be birds, the sound of the forest, the busy café etc). Try it out. PS: this is not a sponsored content (I wish)

We hoped you learned a thing or two from this. If you haven’t let us know why, if you have but you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask us.

One final tip: if you are looking to make yourself #SignificantlyBetter, there are a bunch of trainings and learnings that we definitely recommend for you to check out – links are below. 😊

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Online Training and Certification: https://asklexph.com/online-lean-six-sigma-yellow-belt-certification/

Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Online Training and Certification: https://asklexph.com/online-lean-six-sigma-green-belt-certification/

Certified Data Analyst Online Training and Certification: https://asklexph.com/alpha-certified-data-analyst/


Meyer, D. E. & Kieras, D. E. (1997a). A computational theory of executive cognitive processes and multiple-task performance: Part 1. Basic mechanisms. Psychological Review, 104, 3-65.

Meyer, D. E. & Kieras, D. E. (1997b). A computational theory of executive cognitive processes and multiple-task performance: Part 2. Accounts of psychological refractory-period phenomena. Psychological Review, 104, 749-791.

Holub, Isaac, (2011). National Geographic Channel, Brain Games Season 1 Episode: Pay Attention, 20:15 – 20:30

5 Ways to Improve You Active Listening Skills

by Rye Cruz

You might have heard of active listening before. It’s something we often get confused with passive, silent listening. Active listening, in fact, means taking part in the conversation and working on the rapport between you and who you are talking with.

Here are some 5 simple ways to help you increase your active listening skills.   

About the Author

Rye Cruz is an international learning consultant & coach to a multinational company covering Asian countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Brunei & Philippines. He has garnered solid experience, academic background & proven track record in providing effective learning, organizational development, coaching and mentoring work in both capacity as an internal and external consultant. He is currently certified and affiliated with successful people development organizations such as Development Dimensions International, Gallup, International Coaching Federation, Achology, ABNLP, Belbin, MBTI and Toastmasters International. He is also an Amazon ebook author of “The Power of Teams”. You can visit his website at www.lifecoachryecruz.com

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification | January 2020 at St. Giles Makati

Makati | 41 Internationally Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt has completed the rigorous process of 8 hours e-learning module + 8 hours actual workshop + 50 items multiple choice examination facilitated by Ask Lex PH Academy (ALPHA) in accordance to the Council for Six Sigma Certifications (CSSC) last January 25, 2020 at St. Giles Makati.

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification Class 1 facilitated by Engr. Glenn B. Ponce
Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification Class 2 by Engr. Joshua IL. Palisoc

List of Certified Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Professionals

Mr. Kent Justine J. Eva, CLSSYB and Ms. Winoma May N. Lajato, CLSSYB topped the class with a rating of 90% and were declared Wave Valedictorian for each of their classes.

Mr. Kent Justine J. Eva, CLSSYB receiving his token for being one of the Wave Valedictorians
Ms. Winoma May N. Lajato, CLSSYB receiving his token for being one of the Wave Valedictorians
Best Performing Group for Class 1 receiving their token
Best Performing Group for Class 2 receiving their token

Congratulations everyone and continue to be #significantlybetter.

Thinking Outside the Box…….plot!

Most of us usually rely on the use of summary statistics (mean aka average) on analyzing and reporting the results of our performance and/or analysis. I might say that I have been trapped in this convention for quite a long time too. However, using this conventional way takes away insights that are significantly useful in our analysis and decision making. This is one realization I had when I used a boxplot for a report I did few weeks ago.

Illustrating some actual scenario

Let’s take an example. Say, I pulled out the data of the line output of HGA Assembly and take the average to represent the daily performance. Calculated average is 29.4KHGA and comparing it with the target of 31KHGA, I will conclude that we have a problem on not meeting the requirement. However, plotting the same data set using a boxplot might give us another perspective. Let’s set this aside and review some basic concepts about box plot before we proceed.

What does a box plot looks like?

The figure below shows the anatomy of a boxplot. This graphical technique is based on the principle of quartiles. A quartile divides your whole data set into four equal parts (1st to 4th quartile). In case you missed this one during your Six Sigma class, the second quartile is also our median and serves as the basis of the central tendency for a boxplot. By having a value of median, it tells us that half of the data points fall below that value and the other half above that value. The same logic applies for the rest of the quartiles.


The IQR (inter quartile range) is the measure of dispersion for a boxplot and is also used to determine the end points of the whiskers (upper and lower). The upper and lower whiskers are determined by adding 1.5 of the height of the IQR to Q3 and Q1, respectively. Any point that falls outside these whiskers are considered to be outliers.


How to think outside the boxplot?

One good thing about the boxplot is that it gives us a quick snapshot of the distribution of our data and in a glance can provide us insights about our data’s central tendency and dispersion. (See how good this tool is. )

Fundamentally, boxplot is used for two most common reasons.

  1. See the distribution of a data set for baselining and/or target setting
  2. Compare the distribution of data sets across a given category

Let’s apply #1 and create a boxplot to the HGA Assembly line output data we are talking about earlier. Just to recall, average line output is 29.5KHA.

Using the generated boxplot above, we can get more insights compared to using a summary statistic (mean). Q1 is at 29.1KHGA which means that around three-fourths of the plotted data points are already meeting the required target. Our Q3 is at 31.3KHGA which means that one-fourth of the data points are already demonstrating the 31KHA line target. We can also see several outliers extending up until ~21KHGA region. By looking at the mean alone, we will not have a grasp of this information. By having a boxplot like this, we are getting information about the variation within a group.

Now, say we are asked if how ready are we with the 31KHGA requirement, we cannot answer readily with some summary statistic and we need to consult the distribution of the data set. With the boxplot result, the insight can be taken and used to baseline, i.e., one-fourth of the data points already hitting the target, thus, the 31KHGA target is feasible.

Let’s apply #2 to the same data set but this time looking on a daily basis.


Looking at the boxplot above, we can see that the line output varies from day-to-day. Outliers are present daily and could trigger questions like:

What causes the variation seen in a daily basis?

Are the outliers from the same line?

What are the conditions that are present/existing when the line achieved the target output?

By answering the above questions, we can understand the variation between groups and take actions to reduce it and optimize performance.

Wrapping it up

Context is everything especially in statistics or data analysis. Boxplots can be useful in understanding our data in terms of the central tendency and spread. Its applications will vary depending on our creativity to do so. It will not be the graphical tool for all our requirements so I guess the wisdom is when to use this tool. Happy “Thinking Outside the Box……plot!”

Introduction to Statistical Process Control A Problem Solving Process Approach


This eBook covers the introduction to quality, an introduction of the seven (7) basic Statistical Process Control (SPC) Tools, the presentation of the Problem Solving Process (PSP) and how can be SPC Tools be used in lieu with the PSP. If the acquired knowledge from this eBook is applied, improvements can be achieved by an organization.

About the Author

Felix C. Veroya is a knowledge sharing advocate who believes that continuous learning and education is the key to a person’s success. He is from the Philippines and acquired his Degree in BS Industrial Engineering from Batangas State University, 2011. He garnered several awards from his college stint which includes being the 1st Cum Laude of the IE Program in its 17 years of existence, Academic Excellence Award for Industrial Engineering, Most Outstanding Alumnus, Top 8 on the Ten Outstanding Students Award of the University and one of the Most Outstanding Scholar of the Province.


  1. Introduction 
    1. Quality is the Responsibility of Everyone 
    2. Costs as a Function of Quality 
  2. The 7 Basic Statistical Process Control Tools 
    1. Histogram 
    2. Check Sheets 
    3. Pareto Chart 
    4. Cause and Effect Diagram 
    5. Flow Chart 
    6. Scatter Diagram 
    7. Control Charts 
  3. Problem Solving Process 
    1. What is Problem Solving? 
    2. Why Use Problem Solving? 
    3. What is the Preferred Approach? 
    4. What is the Problem-Solving Process? 
    5. What is the Relation of PDCA to Problem Solving Process? 
    6. When and What Tools to be Used? 

Link to download: http://bookboon.com/en/introduction-to-statistical-process-control-ebook