Ten tips for better concentration - Business

Ten tips for better concentration – Business

Staying focused is a difficult exercise for you? While the advice to “take a break to meditate” is one of the best known, closely followed by “work to music” (but without listening to the lyrics), others such as “install a trampoline in your office” are somewhat out of the ordinary. ‘ordinary. Two experts, Mark Tigchelaar and Oscar de Bos, have compiled ten practical tips to help you regain calm and focus.

There are days when you would like to be on a desert island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with your laptop. Being able to read a text without being interrupted for once, or working hard on an important project. Staying focused all the time isn’t easy these days. The amount of stimuli reaching us daily has increased fivefold since the 1980s, say Mark Tigchelaar and Oscar de Bos, the authors of Focus bites. “There are constantly things to see, hear and experience. This constant flow of information is very tiring for our heads.”

There are days when you would like to be on a desert island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, with your laptop. Being able to read a text without being interrupted for once, or working hard on an important project. Staying focused all the time isn’t easy these days. The amount of stimuli reaching us daily has increased fivefold since the 1980s, say Mark Tigchelaar and Oscar de Bos, the authors of Focus bites. “There are constantly things to see, hear and experience. This constant flow of information is very tiring for our heads.” In addition, in our work, “we are more often interrupted and, as a result, we feel more stress”. To remedy this, they have put together in their book ten simple and practical tips for coping with this tsunami of information that disrupts our daily lives. Filling the void It may seem strange, but people who do not receive stimuli when performing task get lost more easily. “Our brain is made to always use its full potential, it is running at 100%,” say Tigchelaar and De Bos. “If the task itself does not occupy it enough, our brain will check if other stimuli can be added to it”. For a long time, we believed that these were signs of trouble, but playing with a pen, beating time with the foot, unfolding a paper clip, drawing birds in the margin, are in fact only additional stimuli in order to give our brain just enough to do so as not to get distracted. One of the tricks they suggest is to “work with the music”. Because even with background music, you can somehow satiate those hungry brain capacities. “A small nuance is necessary all the same”, specify the authors. “If you find yourself starting to listen carefully to the lyrics, it will distract you again.” Predictability also plays an important role. Go for the familiar. “We almost always work with the same playlist. The same music every time. It’s not boring, and it promotes concentration.”Stop the emailsToo much stimuli, the exact opposite of too little stimuli, seems more familiar with distraction. Who has never had the (sometimes exasperating) experience of an open-plan office with colleagues talking and calling out to each other all the time? Separate, quiet rooms seem to be a better solution. And yet even there you are not safe, because there are always the e-mails that will reach you. Research has been conducted: after reading an email, it takes you more than a minute to “recover” its initial concentration. The expert’s tip: “See if it boosts your concentration if you only open your mail at regular intervals.” The authors recommend doing a little check via the adios.ai site, which controls how often you receive emails. Hourly, three times a day, or otherwise. Another tip: “We know of organizations that have introduced email-free Fridays so that employees can work undisturbed. And they don’t feel like they’re missing out on anything internally by leaving that program closed on that day- there.” The place of the smartphone? In the drawerAnd then there’s the biggest troublemaker of all time: the smartphone. Even if you put it aside, you hear the notifications that have arrived… Deciding to ignore it is useless. The moment you decide not to pay attention to it, it’s already done: your attention has been caught and your concentration is gone. And then it takes willpower each time not to look at who sent what. Plus, important messages and funny nonsense (a gif, a joke) come through the same channel. Faced with this, there is no miracle and the only advice is: “Regularly store your phone in a drawer or, better yet, in another room.”Leave your thoughts in the “parking lot”But all the great tormentors of your focus does not necessarily come from outside. Your own thoughts can also play tricks on you. It can be small things (quickly go to the store later, don’t forget the youngest child’s pool bag!), but also an endless list of tasks to be done, appointments to plan or an unpleasant event that has just happened. “When all these thoughts are bouncing around in your head, it creates disruption. But you can reduce it by getting certain thoughts out of your head.”The authors call it a mind scan: imagine yourself cleaning up your sweep your mind and write down what you find. Write everything without filter: emotions, impressions, everything. This way you “park” your intrusive thoughts on paper and they don’t come to haunt your mind all day long. Make it a routine, recommend Tigchelaar and De Bos. Do it for example in the morning, to then go to work with a clear and serene mind. Or in the evening, in order to fall asleep with a calmer mind.Time for a breakIt is recommended to take regular breaks to strengthen your concentration during the day. “No one can continue the same task for hours, and yet we tend to skip breaks during busy periods. It’s not a good idea because the less breaks you take, the less productive you are.” So when you think you can’t afford a break, now is the perfect time to take one. A break to meditate, for example. Meditation has long ceased to be “something new age for men with long beards and dots on the forehead”. The simplest form is to consciously breathe for a few minutes. It calms the body, quiets the mind, and makes you more resistant to distractions. And as tools to practice this, the authors suggest the Headspace and Calm apps. Brief physical exertion also improves concentration afterwards. Walking is at the top of the list because it is easy to practice (even indoors). Slightly more surprising is the authors’ advice to skip. “Alternating mind work with a few jumps on a trampoline is an extremely effective break for the brain. There are one-person trampolines that can easily be set up in an office.” Taking a break takes courageThe authors plead guilty. Like many others, as soon as a calmer moment presents itself, they are quick to “grab their smartphones to check the news, the mail, the social media or even the weather.” At the same time, they find it a pity “that you don’t get bored much anymore, because it has its advantages. Being bored makes the brain work. It begins to clarify information, connect new experiences with memories and establish connections.” In this idleness, there is room for creativity, and this is how often the best ideas arise, at the most unexpected times. In the shower, looking outside, walking… One more reason to dare to stroll, “even if it takes courage and does not seem natural”. In a world where stimuli constantly assail us, taking a break is more and more a luxury.

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