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Improve Your Focus With This Army Sniper Tactic

Science By
Marine Alasdair Kane, a British Royal Marine soldier from the 42nd Commando Lima Brigade, goes through training exercises in camouflage using a .338 sniper rifle March 10, 2003 in the desert 70 kilometers from Kuwait city near the Iraqi border. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
Marine Alasdair Kane, a British Royal Marine soldier from the 42nd Commando Lima Brigade, goes through training exercises in camouflage using a .338 sniper rifle March 10, 2003, in the desert 70 kilometers from Kuwait city near the Iraqi border. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

 

Getting through the work day can sometimes be difficult. In fact, a recent study on the American workplace showed that one in three employees felt an above-average stress level at work. One way to cut down on this is to improve your focus, allowing you to get more done and giving you more time to breathe.

RealClearLife has already given you survival tips from a former CIA officer, so it’s only natural that our tips on focus come from an ex-sniper from the U.S. Army. Jeffry Harrison, who served two tours of duty in Iraq, wrote a piece on Business Insider detailing a trick known as SLLS—an acronym that stands for “Stop, Look, Listen, Smell.” It’s an Army method that can help you to regain control when external stimuli, like that distracting conversation your co-worker is having, innundates your brain.

For snipers, the most difficult part of the job is not the shooting part. Instead, Harrison says it’s stealthily moving from point A to point B, while carrying all the gear without detection. In order to do this effectively, snipers employ SLLS, which allows them to effectively refocus. Here’s what Harrison’s instructors shared with him: “When the heat, weight, and fatigue take your focus off moving in silence and invisibility, take a SLLS break—Stop what you are doing. Look around. Listen to your surroundings. Smell your environment.”

(Thomas Barwick/Stone/Getty Images)
(Thomas Barwick/Stone/Getty Images)

 

Adapting the Army tactic for the average civilian lifestyle is much easier than you might think. Set an alarm on your phone to go off at regular intervals throughout the day—say every two hours. That alarm is basically a reminder to take part in an SLLS session. By taking a moment to step away from what you’re working on, you are able to gain greater awareness and mindfulness.

When you return to your work, you’ll be able to tackle it with a fresh sense of priority. Once you’ve nailed SLLS to the point where it becomes a habit, move away the alarm. The goal is to use the refocusing tactic on your own time. Harrison says its particularly useful when you’re feeling overwhelmed (basically, a form of workplace meditation). When applied, SLLS could be a way for you to use higher-level thinking to gain control of the situation, whether it’s a harrowing firefight or an administrative SNAFU.

To learn more about how Army snipers are better focused than the average person, watch the video about their training at Fort Benning below.