It is therefore paramount to have a specific training plan in place and basic rules to enforce compliance with the training. Most importantly it is necessary to have a tool to measure progress in order to verify whether the approach taken is effective.
With concentration, measuring of progress is challenging since it is highly dependent on the environment, external factors, general mood of the day, worries/concerns recently experienced, as well as due to the difficulty in defining the unit of measurement. To achieve the task of measurement, we will use the countdown technique to plot how far down the countdown the practitioner was able to descend. This should not be done daily since such a period does not allow sufficient time for improvement; doing so fortnightly and plotting the results may be a reasonable time period.
Rules 1. Train every day- the refined skill of concentration is built gradually on previous days’ progress. Missing a day can take you a several steps back and cause frustration due to apparent lack of progress. It is therefore paramount that the training is completed every day without fail; if urgent circumstances present themselves then the training can be reduced to just one 10 minute session.
2. Do not try to catch up- do not try to make up for a missed day by doing double the next day; this may overload your system and cause frustration and perhaps even make you feel as though this is a chore. It is certainly not a chore; these are relaxation exercises and should be viewed with anticipation just as much as one would anticipate a tasty meal or a good movie or finishing work on Friday. Regular practise is the key, do not overdo for the wrong reasons.
3. Measure your progress every two weeks using the countdown technique- As discussed above, progress can be measured using the countdown technique, i.e. by recording the lowest number the practitioner arrived at during the session once 10mins have elapsed. The training schedules below only include the countdown technique from week 5 onwards because it is advisable to have a month of training that does not involve any pressure of achievement. For some, this is a crucial component in gaining confidence with the ideas being taught.
4. Follow the training schedules and continue your practise even after mastery- below are simple training schedules that focus the first few months on the core techniques, those that are simplest to perform and most effective. Once mastery has been achieved you can design your own schedule or continue with the one suggested. The important point here is that training should not be stopped after the 12th week; to maintain the skill gained would require regular practise, and, with concentration, the level of mastery is never finite- there is always a deeper experience that one can strive towards.
5. Do not compare your progress with others- concentration and relaxation are not competitive sports, once ego begins to interfere with the training, all effort would have been wasted. Concentration is a means to an end; it is there to improve your ability to learn as well as to relax. Comparing progress is fraught with dangers since the person you are discussing with may have different views, may not be honest with his views or may discourage you altogether by suggesting something else to try.
Schedule The schedule below requires the user to set aside 20 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch and 10 minutes in the evening. This may not be possible for all readers but it is encouraged for optimal results. If these three daily sessions cannot be completed on a regular basis then at the very least, practise once a day for 20 minutes. It should be noted that practising only once a day would result in a longer period before measurable progress takes place. This is not a bad situation if it is the only available choice, but the key is to be realistic with what is possible within one’s schedule and execute regularly on that basis without fail.
The Manual- A guide to the Ultimate Study Method (USM); covering Speed Reading, Super Memory, Laser Concentration, Rapid Mental Arithmetic and the Ultimate Study Method (USM) by Rod Bremer