Is it possible to improve concentration of attention in adults?
The level of concentration is determined by the duration of concentration on a single activity or object. Psychologists have found that in recent years, this figure has steadily decreased.
Do not lose focus
According to their calculations, in 2000, this time period was on the average 12 seconds, and in 2012 it was only 8. Almost 17% of people do not read a page on the Internet till the end. This is due to hypertrophied loss of focus of attention - a property that is opposite to voluntary concentration of consciousness.
Imagine a picture: a fisherman sits on the bank of a river with a fishing rod and he is completely absorbed in what he is doing. Why, then, doesn’t he have to force himself to concentrate, and we often don’t manage to finish a task because thoughts run in different directions?
Involuntary concentration is not a problem for an enthusiastic fisherman. Here the recipe is extremely simple: high interest and emotional appeal. By the way, high cost of the mistake also contributes to this. Difficulties begin when involuntary attention begins to interfere with voluntary. That is why, the question of how to increase concentration of attention, strictly speaking, should be put like this:
How, with minimum of effort, voluntarily (intentionally) to focus on what is required and not be distracted by irritants?
How to help yourself improve your concentration? Here are just a few simple ways that a busy person needs to know to help his brain effectively manage arbitrariness. And exercises based on these practices help develop the ability to concentrate on the important staff and easily ignore the unnecessary.
Plan your time according to the laws of the brain
Use the following three rules that time management recommends:
- When creating your work schedule, first of all put the tasks that require a long period of time to complete. It can be making calculations or checking important documents, so, everything that requires a full immersion in the work. For ordinary people, this period is 40 minutes. And then insert into the remaining intervals of the schedule short-term tasks, “plugging” with them empty time intervals.
- Planning the work order, distribute tasks from less interesting for you to more interesting, from difficult to easy, then it will be easy to switch and you will be able to concentrate quickly enough.
- Leave tasks that are particularly difficult to concentrate on before lunch. So you will have the additional motivation to concentrate fully on the task, to complete the work quickly and go to lunch with a sense of accomplishment.
Developmental exercise 1. Measure how much time you cannot get distracted and maintain your focus on what you are doing. For a couple of months spend exactly this amount of time for complete immersion in the activity. And then gradually begin to increase this time period by 5, 10, 15 minutes, etc.
Create supportive environment or Eliminate external interference
Is it quite noisy near your workplace? Do your colleagues habitually interfere in your thought-activity, mercilessly destroying the intellectual process launched so hard? How can you improve focus and concentration in such conditions?
You need a supportive, not a distracting environment. But here no one but you knows what external factors will help you to concentrate. Here are just the bare minimum:
- sequential rather than parallel execution of tasks, or otherwise - there should always be only one task in sight, not two;
- a nice sound background (you can work with headphones), more often it is music, but it may be a recording of the sea or the sound of rain;
- workplace where there is nothing that would distract from work: the table surface is always clean, and on the shelves - only what is required in the coming days;
- comfortable clothes and shoes, a comfortable workplace, the usual unobtrusive odors.
Developmental exercise 2. Development requires a more complex task, which means that now you have to learn how to work in less comfortable conditions. Gradually add different irritants to your favorable background of work:
- increase sound intensity
- search and use new sounds,
- allow yourself to be distracted by conversations with employees,
- add extra activities to your workflow (for example, drinking coffee),
- put photos of your beloved ones on the table.
Learn how to put an end or Eliminate internal interference
You need to urgently do some work, but you cannot force yourself to concentrate on the desired object? How to return the attention, if you now and then distracted by extraneous thoughts? Take a break from your business! Ask yourself:
- What has happened to me recently that I return to this event again and again?
- What events of the near future excite and distract me now?
You need to think through your unfinished thoughts to the end, and only then you can recover your work performance. By driving away annoying memories or plans, you kind of strengthen them. A thought can be trained, the more you drive it away, the more it resists in response and finally gets firmly stuck in your mind.
So, put aside your task - anyway, you will not get any benefit from such work. And allow yourself to remember and imagine everything that just get into your head. Think, so to say, till the end and only after that return to work.
Developmental Exercise 3. Make it a rule not to wait until the distracting thoughts interrupt the flow of your consciousness. Train yourself, before you plunge into your work, to monitor your internal potential interference. So teach your brain to work in two modes:
- full purposeful immersion,
- free swimming in the past and the future.