How to Improve Concentration [5 tips if you are constantly distracted] Ichaku [Perfect Gifts Selection]

How to Improve Concentration [5 tips if you are constantly distracted]

Various things can distract you: messenger notifications, colleagues dropping by at the wrong time, intrusive thoughts about something interesting, like the upcoming weekend, and more.

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This causes work to drag on, and the result suffers. Here are a few ways to get distracted less often.

Why are we always distracted

Many people blame their absent-mindedness on noisy workspaces, frequent incoming messages, and modern life in general, which is too eventful. This does not encourage concentration, but people complained of difficulty concentrating a century ago.

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In 1925, editor and publisher Hugo Gernsback tried to hide from distractions with an insulator helmet he invented that blocked sounds and allowed you to look only straight ahead. But Gernsback honestly admitted that he was still distracted half the time he was in the helmet, and instead of doing useful things, he would start studying the drawing on the wallpaper, for example.

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It's not just about noisy coworkers and overflowing messengers, but also about how our brain works: when there are no external distractions around us, the mind finds internal ones - thoughts, especially negative ones and about ourselves. Some unpleasant thought, like the realization of one's own mortality, can pull a person out of the work process as easily as a sudden phone call.

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Even participants in experiments that tested for concentration in quiet laboratories fared rather poorly. They weren't overly helped by either serious intrinsic motivation or the promise of a fee.

Scientists believe that the need to be constantly distracted, which now so prevents us from turning in a project on time or taking an online course, once helped mankind survive. Thousands of years ago, people had to react instantly and shift their attention from one object to another to avoid becoming prey to predators. And the boredom that comes from contemplating something that is not very interesting made us not sit still and go in search of food, for example.

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Even though the urge to be distracted is inherent in all of us by evolution, some people have a better ability to retain attention, while others have a worse one. It depends on many factors, from lifestyle to brain structure. There are special tests for attention, but if you have trouble concentrating, you've probably noticed it yourself: forgetting your keys in the keyhole, often hovering in the clouds at work meetings and struggling to finish work. But it is possible to become at least a little more focused - here are a few simple techniques that will help.


Get enough sleep

One of the factors that impair concentration is regular lack of sleep, that is, sleep less than the recommended seven hours for adults.

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In an experiment by American scientists, volunteers for 32 days slept no more than six hours. This regime increased the response time to external factors in two times, and attention of the subjects worsened in five times. And noticed it only the researchers who conducted the tests and watched the volunteers, they themselves on the problems with attention did not complain.

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One night without sleep is unlikely to seriously impair your ability to concentrate. But studies show that in some cases it can be critical. For example, if you work as a surgeon.

Keep an eye on your physical condition

For the brain to be able to concentrate fully on work or study, it is important to make your body comfortable. For example, the feeling of hunger makes a person focus on food instead of tasks for which deadlines are approaching.

The temperature of the room in which a person works can also have a big impact on one's ability to concentrate. Researchers at Cornell University monitored the speed and accuracy of typing among insurance company employees for a month. When the office temperature went from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (67-77F), typing mistakes were reduced by 44% and typing speed increased by 150%. But rooms that are too hot aren't conducive to long periods of focus, either. Students tend to do worse on tests in such conditions.

Thirst can also affect concentration. Researchers from Loughborough University in the UK noticed that drivers with even mild dehydration were more likely to be distracted and make mistakes during a long, monotonous drive. They were late to start braking before obstacles, pulled over and out of their lane, violating traffic rules and instructions given to them before the experiment began. Fortunately, no one was injured during it: the participants were in a stationary car and saw a computer projection instead of the real road.

Several small studies have also confirmed that thirst hurts attention. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology analyzed data from 33 peer-reviewed studies examining the effects of lack of water on cognitive abilities and concluded that concentration during monotonous tests and the ability to solve complex problems are particularly affected. Reaction speeds, on the other hand, were barely affected by dehydration.

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This does not mean that to maintain focus will have to forcefully drink two liters of water a day - the benefits of this has not been scientifically proven. But it is worth paying attention to your own sense of thirst, especially if you are sick, are in a stuffy room, or have to combine tasks that require concentration with physical activity.

Give up multi-tasking

Dropping a document in the middle of a sentence, going to check your e-mail, immediately checking what the news is saying, all while zooming in and out. The ability to multitask is often called an advantage, but in fact it only prevents us from focusing on one thing at a time. We don't do several things at once, but switch between them, losing time each time to get our focus back. According to various sources, this can take anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute.

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It's better to do one thing at a time, separating things with small breaks. And if your hand reaches for the phone to read the news, begin to take notes on what you hear, and it is better to write down the thesis on paper. First, so you really begin to think and remember, not just record the information. And secondly, there will be less temptation to switch to something distracting, such as opening a game instead of an app for notes.


Take a break

Even if you can spend hours doing one thing that requires attention, it doesn't mean it's working at its best. Prolonged strain on the brain causes fatigue, we become more unfocused, make more mistakes, and cope with tasks less well. Small breaks, on the other hand, improve focus.

You can use the "Pomodoro" technique to plan your work and rest time - it helps to divide your time into periods of focused work and rest.

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Spend a break for a walk in nature or aerobic exercises - they help to improve concentration.

For the strong in spirit there is an unusual way to spend a break - to think about your past failures. Such mental work on mistakes helps you focus and become more diligent when doing similar tasks. But you can also just drink a cup of tea or coffee, both of which have a positive effect on attention.

Practice awareness

To improve concentration and pump up the ability to ignore distractions, one can use mindfulness training-the ability to pay attention to the present moment without trying to analyze it or react emotionally. Amishi Jha, an attention researcher at the University of Miami, writes in her book, "Peak Mind," that through such "mental fitness," we begin to understand what our mind is doing at any given second, whether it is acting in our best interest and how to readjust it.

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Many experiments with young athletes, students, military personnel, firefighters and patients with COVID-19 have shown the benefits of mindfulness for concentration. Researchers also studied ordinary volunteers who went on a four-week meditation retreat in the mountains: the practice had a positive effect on their mindfulness.

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Mindfulness training - meditating, scanning the body, tracking emotions - would be especially effective if given 12 minutes each day. Start with an uncomplicated and short exercise on breath control:

  1. Set a timer on your phone for three minutes.
  2. Get into a comfortable pose, but at the same time try not to relax too much. Keep your back straight, put your shoulders back, and put your hands on your knees or the armrests of your chair. It is best to close or cover your eyes so that you are not distracted by visual images.
  3. begin to monitor your breathing, but don't try to control it so that you breathe deeper or at a certain interval.
  4. Try to concentrate on your sensations related to your breathing. It might be the way the air passes through your nostrils. How it fills your lungs. How the stomach inflates and deflates.
  5. If the focus of your attention shifts to something else, bring it back to your breathing. There can be many distractions: an unexpected memory pops up, an itchy foot, a desire to finish your workout and do something else. It is possible to mark what has distracted you - a thought, an emotion, a feeling - and to return to it after the end of the exercise.
  6. When the signal sounds, go back to your usual activities. Repeat the exercise the next day.
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At first, it will seem like the three minutes are endless. But with regular practice, the workout will soon become easier, and you can gradually add one minute at a time.

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