With so much information and technology at the tip of our fingertips these days, it’s difficult to stop your hand itching to reach out for an item such as your phone to keep you occupied whilst you’re…already occupied. As a collective, we seem to have lost our ability to concentrate fully on one singular task or form of entertainment, and we get easily distracted by our smartphones, games consoles, and televisions.
At home, this potential for distraction is harmless – if occasionally a little disruptive to your enjoyment of things – but at work, A lack of focus can lead to long-term issues with our overall concentration levels. In turn, this can prevent us from being an effective worker. Research has indicated that office workers are distracted on an average of every 11 minutes, with a significantly longer period of time required to return attention back to the original task at hand once they’ve disengaged with the distraction. Basically, our penchant for having everything at the touch of a button has meant that we spend more of what’s supposed to be our productive time trying – and failing – to stay on task.
If you’ve found yourself struggling to stay focused on a job, task, or activity for a sustained period of time, then it’s time you learned some tips, tricks, and habits that will help you maintain concentration and improve your performance at work – both short-term and long-term!
With our smartphones constantly by our side, containing every single piece of information and activity that we could ever possibly want to pursue, our brains are simultaneously in constant overload while never having to actually think for too long about anything. But live your life too much like this, and you’ll find your ability to recall information, problem-solve, and be creative diminish markedly.
Just as we train our bodies to be more effective, there are training activities you can get involved in that help to stretch your mental capacity and re-establish the all-important links and connections in your brain that help you to perform different tasks throughout life, and to maintain the type of street smarts that will help you to succeed in your everyday life. A 2015 study noted that spending just 15 minutes a day, 5 days a week on brain training games and activities can help build your concentration levels
Games such as crosswords, sudoku, puzzles, and word searches all help you to train your brain and improve concentration levels and street smarts, whilst also learning to control your mind and body through utilizing these essential street smarts outlined here. With a focus on self-improvement, Ed Latqimore’s work in this area offers you the chance to analyze your personal experiences and reflect upon them to forge ahead with a better life; in this case, it means acknowledging your weaknesses and acting upon them. Rather than seeing your poor concentration as a limitation, put your energy into moving past this and overcoming it.
Most of us learned about photosynthesis and the production of oxygen through trees and plants at high school. But did you know how this fact could impact the environment you create for yourself when you’re working?
As well as being colorful splashes that enhance the decoration of a room, plants are good for our mental health and ability to think. For one thing, caring for plants – including their watering schedule and any plant feed or humidifying requirements – can provide you with a regularly occurring focus that helps to improve your memory skills and mood levels, and the inclusion of plants in your space can significantly boost your mood. Secondly, they help to produce oxygen. When you have more plants in your workspace (or anywhere else you fancy, really), this oxygen can help to stimulate your brain and cause it to work more effectively. This makes problem-solving and memory recall faster and more accurate, as it prevents your brain from feeling tired and sluggish. If you’re a constant yawner throughout the day, this tip is definitely for you!
For years, parents around the world were united in their belief that video games help atrophy the brains of growing teens and children. Studies in recent years, however, have purportedly shown that this isn’t the case; in fact, video games can actually have a positive effect on the brain’s growth and ability to maintain high levels of concentration.
Small studies suggest that video games can help to build your visual selection memory, which enables you to concentrate on one task and successfully ignore distractions around you – almost exactly the opposite of what many parents thought that games would do to young minds!
There’s no need for this to be limited to just teens and children, though, as adults can benefit from this activity, too.
Be Strict with Tech
Emails, notifications, social media apps, messaging apps – these are just some of the distractions we deal with each day (and that many of us struggle to ignore!). Sure, it seems great to have your emails on your phone, or have notifications set up so that you know when that picture of Insta has been liked, but when it starts to impact your day-to-day life and ability to concentrate on one task at a time, it’s a bit of an issue.
By turning your phone into focus mode, turning off notifications, and limiting the apps you can use during set times, you can encourage some self-discipline and enjoy your reading uninterrupted once more.
Another essential way of improving your concentration levels is to regularly socialize with others (in person, if you can), as back-and-forth conversation on a singular topics or related topics can help you to maintain focus, thus improving your concentration abilities. Spending a lot of time alone and not engaging in any form of socialisation on a regular basis negatively impacts your ability to concentrate on what others are saying and follow the various strands of conversation and interaction.
So, even if you enjoy a little chilled-out alone time, make sure you balance it out carefully by talking and interacting regularly with friends and family – it could work wonders for your focus!
Health is Wealth
Maintaining good health is another sure-fire way of building your concentration levels. A balanced diet full of vitamins and minerals, as well as a good range of proteins, fats, and carbs, can help to keep your brain healthy, whilst avoiding caffeine, smoking, alcohol, and sugary foods can prevent brain sluggishness and the inability to concentrate.
Sleep is also a major factor in brain health, as it helps us to solidify connections and remember facts, figures, and experiences that have occurred throughout your day. Poor sleep prevents you from being able to concentrate effectively, reducing your creativity and productivity. So, turn off the blue lights at least an hour before bed (including your phone, television, and computer), get out a book, and snuggle into bed – you’ll be doing your brain a favor.
In our busy world, full of endless distractions of things to see, do, and experience that are constantly on the go, it can be hard to slow down and find ways to stop your brain from flitting between subjects and activities. This list of tips and habits that you can build into your everyday life, can help you to go against the grain and maintain your concentrations levels so that you reach your potential every day. Which do you think will help you the most?