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How to develop attention – good advice

Let us have a look at the exercises for the development of attention in terms of distribution and switching attention.

What is the difference between the distribution of attention and switching?

The question of how to develop attention to detail, from the point of view of psychology, splits at least into 2 completely different and even independent of each other questions:

1. How to hold in mind several important objects or processes? Distribution of attention is a characteristic necessary, for example, to dispatchers who monitor the location of several aircraft at once on the display, however, it is not less important when driving a car.

2. How can one “throw out” one task as quickly as possible from one's field of view and immediately move on to another, not allowing the mind to dwell on the previous one?

Switching attention, which allows alternately to change the shape and background in one's mind, is required to those who must quickly change one field of activity to another, which is done, for example, by weavers or professionals working with the flow of customers.

Those who know the answers to these questions and put them into practice cannot only minimize their work efforts and, as a result, not be so tired, but also succeed in their careers.

It is well known that there are two ways to ensure success in the work of an organization:

  • to organize workflows to provide maximum comfort for employees;
  • to choose candidates with the required important qualities.

So, if there is an intention to undergo professional selection for a workplace that requires a high level of distribution and switching of attention, it is worthwhile to take part in the targeted development of these qualities.

The development of attention skills in adults - exercises on the distribution

Games of Indians. In the Indian tribes for the development of observation, two competing young hunters first carefully looked at the picture in front of them, and then in turn described it to the judge.

A similar exercise can be recommended to organizations conducting developmental training for their employees. Let the two teams get the task to devote a few minutes to the concentrated contemplation of the landscape or specifically equipped background. The victory will get the team that will restore the picture as close as possible to reality.

Mediation exercises. Meditation contributes well to the development of the ability to focus. Periodically performing mediation exercises will teach you to gradually transfer your inner concentration to the outside world.

The journal Brain Research Bulletin published the results of a study conducted at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Under the direction of meditation coach Christopher Moore, the participants in the experimental group received two months of training in meditative self-regulation of breathing. When Moore and his team measured the brain activity of each participant using the magnetoencephalography method, they recorded a significant increase in brain activity in areas associated with selective attention.

10-20 minutes of meditation can improve your attention after the fourth day of training.

The whole range of tastes. When you eat, focus on the range of tastes that you experience. As a rule, we rarely really enjoy the taste, more often at the time of the absorption of food, we are not particularly focused on it. Learn from the French how carefully they taste and examine all the flavors. Distribution of attention will require that none of these shades escape your attention:

  • tastes,
  • aromas,
  • food texture,
  • effect obtained from a combination of two or three components.

Exercise "eye-hand". Sit comfortably and stretch your right arm to the side. Hold the fingers of your right hand in the field of your attention and at the same time ensure that your hand does not deviate from the horizontal position. This exercise requires you to distribute attention between the control of two objects - the fingers and the position of the hand. Start with 1 minute. Then increase the time of this exercise to 5 minutes.

Exercise "warm-straight." Pour warm water in a glass. You should feel that the glass is hot. Extend your hand with the glass straight. Hold distributed attention between the warmth of the glass and the straight arm. Just as in the previous exercise, start from one minute and gradually increase to 5.

Unbend fingers. Sitting at the table, put both hands clenched into fists on it. Now, slowly, as if any careless movement could have unpleasant consequences, unclench your thumb. Then, holding it in sight, open the next finger. Do it slowly. Then, holding two fingers in the field of attention, slowly unclench the next one. And do like that with all the fingers on both hands. The exercise is aimed at consistently increasing the load on distributed attention - from 1 object (1 finger) to 10. At the moment when you realized that you “let go” of spying on your fingers, interrupt the exercise and begin to perform it again.

Develop attention: 3 tips on how to succeed by training the attention switch

It is recommended to conduct attention switch training in three directions simultaneously:

1. Training the speed of switching attention from one process or object to another; the goal is to reduce the time it usually took to do something else and concentrate entirely on it.

Put a ticking clock next to you. Start reading something not very important. Switch your attention to the ticking of the clock, then to reading the text. Very soon you will be “stuck” in one thing. Try to make progress by lengthening the number of switches and the time to complete this task without fail.

Lie on your back and start listening to your body feelings. Start with the head, then turn your attention to your arms, then to your stomach, your back, etc. "Walk" on your body, including sensations in different places. Gradually increase the speed of switching.

2. The development of the ability to single out the most important and minor objects of perception, and then, if necessary, change their places so that now what was previously secondary becomes important; the task is to learn how to quickly find the necessary "markers" of the situation.

Lie on your back and start listening to your body sensations. Start with the head, then turn your attention to your arms, then to your stomach, your back, etc. "Walk" on your body, including sensations in different places. Change the "drawing" of your switchings, asking yourself commands, what part of your body you want to feel now.

3. Independent construction or development of an already ready “perception route” - the use of special reference signals that are needed when work processes are followed in a specific order; the goal is to help consciousness follow the usual path. In some cases, even different mnemonic schemes are used.

You should draw your own route maps, following which you will switch attention in the order given by the map. You can rhyme a sequence of objects to make it easier to remember. How the character of the old film “The Sound of Music” did, making a map of the notes: “Do - this sound is dear to us, re - definitely forward ...”

How to develop your attention: a few general rules

1. Create additional motivation

Before you begin your work that requires distribution or switching attention, tell yourself that at the moment you are not as interested in anything as in this matter. Think about what you get after you reach your goal. Think of how you reward yourself for the results achieved.

2. Drink plenty of water.

Three years ago, Nutrition magazine published the results of a study that experimentally proved that a lack of water in the body leads to deficiency and minor attention disorders. In order to provide the body with the right amount of water, scientists recommend that women drink 9 cups daily, and men - 12.5.

3. Manage secondary tasks

On average, an office worker looks in his mail every day and on FB pages up to 30 times. To focus on the task, close all unnecessary tabs and determine a convenient schedule for working with mail:

  • How many times will you open it?
  • How much time will be spent on it?

4. Make a list of how you are disturbing yourself

Psychologists of the University of the US state of Carolina, making a research on the productive hours of work at the office, suddenly found out that 44% of interruptions or unreasonable distractions were provoked by the employees themselves. In the sense that no one interfered with them, did not tear them away from business, did not make noise near their working places. The employee himself is the cause of almost half of his distractions from work. Unstable attention is the reason.

Researchers point out to countless reasons for people to be distracted. But no one can name these reasons for you. Therefore, advice - choose the time and write down all your personal attention provocations. Among them may be:

  • thirst and hunger;
  • desire to smoke;
  • lack of sleep;
  • tiredness;
  •  your personal stress.

Now you need to figure out when exactly these reasons appear in your life and think over the preventive measures.

5. Sometimes, strange as it may sound, you still need to be able to ignore

It happens that the bright picture itself catches your eye. This is especially dangerous when you are driving. A conscious and effective distribution of attention assumes that objects fall into the field of activity of your consciousness because they are related to your goal, and not because they cause unexpected and strong emotions such as:

  • surprise;
  • curiosity;
  •  involuntary interest;
  • confusion.

For the inability to “not pay attention,” people, in particular, are paying the price by spending time on attractive advertising.

But in European countries, the rooted practice, when men and women are together in a bathhouse and no one interferes with anyone, is based on the ability to “not pay attention”.

6. Master the culture of breaks.

Breaks have a peculiar effect of refreshing. Gradually, the eye seems to be “washed up”, and the details begin to slip out of your sight. Returning to the task, you can see everything with new eyes. Psychologist Alejandro Lleras of the University of Illinois conducted a very simple experiment and published his results in the journal Cognition. He proposed 84 participants to solve 50-minute computer problems that required concentration and distribution of attention. Half of the participants took two short breaks and coped with the task much better. Lleras writes that just as your body stops feeling irritants (for example, clothes or shoes) for a certain time, your mind can get used to the object of concentration. “Unreasonably long-term attention to a single task actually reduces productivity,” says Lleras. In other words, by taking a short break in the middle of the task, stretched in time, you seem to be turning on the “Refresh” button for the brain.

7. And in conclusion - the most important condition: under no circumstances allow yourself to be only half attentive

Give up the “half-eyed” way of watching television or listen to the “half-hearted” stories of your children. This practice is fundamentally flawed because it signals your consciousness: “Oh, it happens, sometimes you can be inattentive!”

Everything that you do should be the object of your maximum concentration. It is better to postpone the case if you understand that for any reason (fatigue, malaise, lack of interest in the subject) you will not be able to give it the necessary attention.

Train your attention!


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