How to Increase Concentration – The 10 Key Steps
Concentration in the workplace is often strained. Telephone, emails, unforeseen events, files that accumulate, fatigue… Often the mind gets lost or scattered. To improve attention and concentration skills, it is necessary to deal with the many sources of “distraction” and to better organize. Here are some keys to help you regain your concentration just like with the use of a neuro optimizer!
Set yourself clearly defined objectives
Humans hate emptiness. To be effective, the brain needs to have a concrete picture of what needs to be done. It’s important: give him to SEE the progress of the task, otherwise the brain gets lost and… gives up quickly.
So be sure to:
Choose a specific objective: I reread the entire chapter 3 of Dossier X.
Quantitatively measure the task: from page 43 to page 75
Set a time budget: 30 minutes for example, from 4:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Why? Why? According to Parkinson’s law, like gas, time expands to occupy all the time available. In other words, the more time you have to complete a task, the more time you take to do it!
Do only one thing at a time
Quite often, we think we can do two things at the same time, like conducting and holding a conversation at the same time. This is possible because one of the two tasks is automated (driving) and requires less attention. The brain can therefore redirect its attention to a 2nd task without compromising the automated task.
But when you have an important file to deal with, be fully involved in what you are doing, by devoting yourself completely to it. One thing after another, it’s the best way to be focused and effective. And, it is the quality of your work that is at stake. Multiplying tasks at the same time can be very dangerous: mistakes, clumsiness, inaccuracies, omissions…
Identify your optimal time slots
In general, we are most effective in the morning (between 9am and 11:30am) and at the end of the day (between 4:30pm and 7pm). So, after lunch, during this period of low intensity, focus on your automatic tasks, i.e. those that require little attention: quick reading of emails, making appointments or appointments (not important) with colleagues, filing files…
But be careful, everyone has their own biological rhythm that it is good to respect. Write on a sheet of paper, for example for a week, the periods in the day when you are most effective. And devote these optimal time slots to complex tasks that require maximum attention and vigilance.
Log out! Log out!
Smartphones and social networks are a real obstacle to concentration. According to a Sciforma/Zebaz study in April 2012, 67% of French people say they cannot stay focused for more than 30 minutes without interruption. And 23% say they can’t work more than 12 minutes without being interrupted.
However, it takes between 2 and 3 minutes to get back into a file after being interrupted. In addition, in terms of time, 30 interruptions of 2 minutes take much longer than 2 x 30 minutes! A word of advice: allow yourself (or even force yourself) not to check your emails in real time. Delete the beep from your mailbox and check your mailbox at a fixed time.
Be fully in the “here and now”.
When stress rises, our mind and body tend to scatter: we get agitated, we dwell and imagine the worst, we can no longer see clearly… Focusing our attention on our breathing allows us to focus, refocus and concentrate on the present moment.
An exercise to initiate you: sitting at the bottom of your seat, your feet are spread to the width of your pelvis and anchored in the ground, your hands on your thighs and your shoulders relaxed. Close your eyes. Feel your points of support on the ground (at the level of your feet) and on the chair (back of your thighs, buttocks, back…). Take your time. Then, direct your attention to your breathing, without wanting to change it. Become aware of this breathing movement, which comes and goes at its own pace. For a couple of minutes.
And also, fix an object for 1 minute: observe carefully a neutral object (pen, vase…) in the smallest details: its shape, its color, its reliefs, its material… Stay focused on this harmless object, without being distracted.
Break down your tasks
This instruction has more than one advantage. It allows you to achieve an achievable goal. By splitting a complex task into 30 or 45-minute increments, for example, the objective no longer seems insurmountable and remains achievable, while maintaining a good level of concentration. Then, you don’t mind getting started (without postponing!).
In this way, you give yourself every opportunity to do your job on time, which is rewarding and encouraging. So you increase your motivation as you go along. However, as we know, our degree of concentration also depends on our degree of motivation.
Learn to manage your emotions
Sources of distraction can be external (emails, phone, visitors…), but also internal (emotions, thoughts…). Lack of concentration can thus be linked to stress, which generates unpleasant emotions: anxiety, fear, frustration, nervousness… When we are overwhelmed by our emotions, we no longer manage to think, to remain focused on our task. We disperse, without being able to refocus quickly.
The “Develop your concentration skills” training includes practical exercises, from sophrology, to get your mind back on track and keep you calm. This includes learning to welcome your emotion, to recognize it and thus better tame it. And make her an ally!
Upset your habits
Concentration does not support monotony. Try to break out of the daily routine by adding a little something new to your work day.
For example, if you can, change – even slightly – the organization of some common tasks. The idea is to avoid starting a day of work on autopilot to regain interest in what you are doing!
Clear your desk to lighten your brain
The idea is to remove the superfluous from your workspace, that is, anything that could divert your attention: the EFE file to be closed in 2 days, the stack of binders, the reminder post-it notes… Possibly, only keep an object that releases a soothing and positive energy, such as a green plant.
Take breaks! Take breaks!
Beyond 45 minutes, our ability to concentrate is exhausted. During a break (5 minutes), for example, do a conscious breathing session (see exercise mentioned above) to oxygenate the brain and regenerate yourself. This recharges the batteries and renews your ability to concentrate.