Hello, friends! When we see people who have achieved a lot in life, it is easy to guess that one of the sources of their success is the ability to concentrate.
But the ability to isolate the main thing and focus on it can be nurtured in yourself, or rather, developed by training. What should be cut off, and what should be called into allies on the way to this goal, now we will consider.
Why concentration is needed
Before we learn how to focus on one goal, let's look a little more at the topic of motivation.
From our own and other people's experience, we know that it is easiest to keep our attention on what interests us. Agree, doing your favorite thing, for example, writing articles or blogging, is nice. To do this, you do not have to make heroic efforts and force yourself.
We are ready to surrender to such an occupation, sparing no effort and time. Even if it seems too complicated to an outside observer, we do not notice this complexity, we plunge into it, almost meditating. Somehow everything “superfluous" is cut off by itself, which at the moment is not included in the scope of our priorities.
But in life one often has to deal with not too exciting things to do. And then the question often arises: “I can’t concentrate, what should I do?” The question is competent, because, indeed, the problem must be solved.
If you learn to concentrate on the main tasks, energy will not be dissipated, wasted on trifles, as is often the case in life. Nature endows us with remarkable forces, but we often use them irrationally, and as a result we get a lot of fuss, a lot of spent nerves, time, health, and the result is dubious.
The ability to concentrate saves us a lot of energy. Sometimes it seems that learning this is too difficult. But it is possible, and most importantly - necessary!
By mastering this skill, we get a unique tool for self-improvement, and then the domino principle works: we begin to harvest achievements.
How the brain chooses what to focus on
Our brain is active at any time of the day or night. He constantly perceives information that continuously comes from without. This means that the brain must constantly choose what to look for and what to filter out and ignore. Neuroscientists call this process “selective attention”, and it is divided into two types:
- Controlled attention is a process where we ourselves control what our attention focuses on. If we need to solve a problem, complete a project or listen carefully to a presentation, we literally make the brain focus on what we need.
- Uncontrolled attention is a process where focus is distracted by an unexpected external or internal stimulus, whether it is a strange thought crept into your head, the smell of coffee, or a sharp, unexpected noise. Uncontrolled focus movement is out of our control.
What is the problem?
The difficulty in maintaining focus and attention control is that we are not able to control what type of selective attention our brain uses at a certain moment. Despite the desire to maintain control, the normal functioning of the brain simply obliges the nervous system to respond to external stimuli. All this is connected with instincts, animal comfort and the correct, timely reaction to danger. If you are cold or hungry, it will be extremely difficult to force yourself to focus on preparing for the exam. If you hear an unexpected loud noise, the brain perceives it as a potential danger, and danger is always more important than a quarterly report.
In addition, studies have shown that willpower and attention cannot be infinite - the more often we get distracted, the harder it is to regain lost concentration. However, some researchers have concluded that there are several ways to help the brain maintain a controlled focus longer and more efficiently.
Seven Ways to Focus on Work
If you have ever been distracted at work, you know that you run the risk of being stuck in endless and futile attempts to regain the necessary mood. How many of us do not know how difficult it is to ignore alerts on social networks, not be distracted by the calls and conversations of colleagues, and not be distracted by our own thoughts and dreams? Once again, when external and internal stimuli begin to take away with a new force your precious will to concentrate, remember the following useful tips.
Find the perfect schedule
You probably noticed that you are more or less focused at different times of the day or night. It depends on brain activity. No wonder people are divided into larks and owls, and the point here is not always only in developed habits. It’s really easier for someone to concentrate in the afternoon, rather than early in the morning. For most people, the peak time for brain activity occurs in the late morning, and the maximum tendency to loss of attention is during the lunch break.
If you are an owl, it’s easier for you to concentrate after dinner, and that is when you should perform more complex tasks that require maximum attention. If you are an early bird, on the contrary, start the day with the most difficult tasks, and after lunch do routine activities.
Control standard distractions
Our brain is trained in practice. The more we practice small minute distractions, such as checking email or Twitter a hundred times a day, the more familiar this behavior becomes and the more difficult it is to get rid of it.
Instead of being distracted every 10 minutes, train your brain to stay focused, pulling yourself every time your hand reaches for the phone and your eyes for the icon with new messages.
Take quality breaks
Most of our waking time goes at the pace of obtaining the maximum amount of information in the shortest possible time. We have 15 tabs open at once, we spend a day at work in an endless stream of emails, phone calls, messages from colleagues. Maximum speed does not make this work more efficient. In fact, just the opposite.
Take a break to strengthen your ability to stay focused on work. Find a place where you will not be haunted by constant irritants that require your attention. Spend some time in a park or cafe where there is no Internet, while leaving the phone at work, the apocalypse does not occur in half an hour, and your brain will have a long-awaited chance to recharge.
Multitasking is nothing more than a myth. In the entire history of mankind, there were only a dozen people capable of efficiently and simultaneously performing several tasks requiring concentration.
Our brains are unable to focus on more than one thing at a time; in fact, “multitasking” simply means quickly switching attention from one problem to another. And the more often we switch, the more energy we spend. And the more energy we spend, the faster we get tired.
Make a list of tasks in order of importance and stick to it as accurately as possible. The fewer tasks you try to complete at a time, the more effective your overall work will be.
Choose tasks that match your energy level
If the task at hand is not important enough to guarantee your undivided attention, the brain quickly moves to another object. If you are going to take up a very important presentation, and the brain is constantly distracted by extraneous thoughts, maybe it is worth postponing an important thing for the period of the working day when your energy is not at the minimum level?
Don't give in to stress
Tension and stress affect the concentration of attention very badly, and not only on it. Typically, stress at work is highest when a cold-blooded ability to put aside everything unnecessary and concentrate on what is important is most needed.
The breaks and meditation mentioned above will help to avoid stress. Try to set aside five minutes for yourself, and focus only on how you feel: focus on your heartbeat, smell, breathing and tactile sensations. This practice will help you quickly calm down and recover in a stressful situation.
Have a snack or chew gum
This method seems a little strange, but studies show that chewing gum increases oxygen flow to those parts of the brain that are responsible for attention. The chewing process also improves long-term memory and injects a small amount of insulin into the bloodstream, which increases brain activity. In addition, the chewing process helps the nervous system to relax and calm down - it is all about instincts - if we chew, then we eat, and if we eat, then we are safe.
If you are not a fan of chewing gum, have a snack with nuts, fruits and dried fruits, and to provide the brain with a little extra energy, eat something sweet. However, it is best to get carried away with sweets at the end of the working day, because after a quick influx of energy, its equally rapid decline follows, and there you can forgive both concentration and focus.