Which factors influence the ability to concentrate?
Increase concentration: 10 tips for more focus
The ability to concentrate is of enormous importance, especially in a professional context. It ensures consistently good results and increases productivity. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to be constantly focused. Disruptive factors, distraction traps and the like regularly attract our attention and ensure that we are unfocused. We'll tell you now which factors torpedo your concentration the most and how you can increase your concentration.
1. Definition: What is concentration?
2. What influences the ability to concentrate?
3. The top 10 distraction traps in the office
4. SOS! Quick emergency measures for more concentration
5. Increase the ability to concentrate in the long term
6. Concentration in the home office
Definition: what is concentration?
The term concentration comes - unsurprisingly - from Latin and means something like “together towards the center”. As we understand it today, concentration describes that Mental ability to focus one's attention solely on a specific task, the achievement of a goal, a person or an activity. Each of us should be aware that this is easier said than done. Indeed, concentration has a number of natural enemies.
How is the ability to concentrate influenced?
The list of so-called Factors influencing concentration is long. It encompasses both “internal” and “external” aspects. The following overview is intended to explain which these are in detail.
The top 10 distraction traps in the office
After this general overview, this paragraph will deal with very specific distraction traps that lurk in the office every day. Knowing you is important because this is the only way you can declare war on you. So here you are: The Top 10 Office Distraction Traps.
Place # 10: Items on the desk
You are also one of those people who like to “spruce up” your desk with a few private items. The classics undoubtedly include photos of loved ones and plants. Others also like various decorative objects and postcards with motivational sayings. Whatever adorns your desk - sooner or later it will attract your attention and thereby torpedo your concentration. In the case of personal items on the desk, there is no doubt that less is more.
Rank # 9: office noise
As already mentioned in the overview above, noises are a great challenge for our concentration. Backs of chairs, printer humming, the clatter of coffee cups and other noises in the office make it to ninth place in our ranking.
# 8: Chaos in the head
What was the first thing you wanted to do again? What special request did the customer mention recently? Who should pick up the children from school today? An unsorted chaos of thoughts in your head is pure poison for your ability to concentrate. It's better if you take the time to put everything in order and only then move on. Your concentration will thank you.
Place # 7: clutter
From chaos in the head to chaos in the workplace. Flying documents, countless Post-Its and Co. not only hinder your work physically, but also have a negative effect on your ability to concentrate. The same applies here as with the thoughts: first create order, then rush to work.
# 6: Music
There is no doubt that the connection between music and concentration is polarizing. While one camp relies on musical accompaniment in order to concentrate fully on one thing, the other cannot think clearly when a song is playing in the background. You can find more on this topic in the article Music at work: More productivity or just annoying?
Rank # 5: colleagues
They always need advice at the most inopportune moments, talk loudly to each other in the hallway, unpack their intensely smelling lunch without prior notice, crackle annoyingly with their gummy bear bag and tell unsolicited what they are up to for the weekend. Yes, our dear colleagues are probably one of the greatest challenges for our concentration. When the "harassment" gets out of hand, there is no way around a clarifying discussion.
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Place # 4: phone calls
The phone call is a prime example of the interruptions mentioned above, which keep us from concentrating on our work. It hardly matters whether the caller only briefly confirms information or asks for hours of advice. If the phone rings once and you are out of focus, it is difficult to focus again afterwards.
Rank # 3: emails
Even worse than phone calls are emails - or rather the notifications that pop up on the monitor every few minutes. This small but extremely nasty stimulus manages to attract our attention in seconds. Even if the e-mail is not clicked at all, concentration is gone.
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Rank # 2: social media
"The Internet" could also be ranked # 2 in general. However, we are making the matter a little more concrete by pointing our admonishing index finger explicitly at social media. Just check the Facebook timeline for a moment. Oh, a new like on Instagram. Hmm, what do you think the Twitter community is saying about XY? Do you recognize yourself again? No question about it: social media have us firmly in their hands and also provide regular distraction in everyday work. Particularly nasty: A short visit often turns into a stay of several minutes - and that without you noticing.
Place # 1: The smartphone
The undisputed number 1 distraction trap in the office is undoubtedly the smartphone. Why? Because it combines several concentration killers. It sends push notifications for various social media activities, shows private (and often also professional) e-mails, is the line to the outside world, daily newspaper (keyword: breaking news) and game console in one. As soon as our concentration wavers even a tiny bit, the smartphone is there to make it collapse.
SOS! Quick emergency measures for more concentration
Oh my godness! The first draft should be on the boss's desk in two hours and your concentration is in the sun with a cocktail in your hand (including an umbrella)? Then it is high time for some quick emergency measures to help you regain your focus and concentration.
SOS measure # 1: Take a break
Yes, time is of the essence. But there is also no point in forcing your brain to perform at its best. In order to be able to get to work fresh and result-oriented, a short break works wonders. Don't spend them at your desk, and certainly not on your mobile phone or on social media. Grab your jacket and take a short walk, which can also become a tight power walk. This clears the head and supplies the body with fresh oxygen. The perfect concentration boost!
Reading tip:I need a break: how to put your breaks right
SOS measure # 2: brain food
If you feel weak and drained, you might find a brain food or two to help you. The absolute classics include bananas, nuts, dried fruits and dark chocolate. Coffee, glucose and milk chocolate have a quick effect on the ability to concentrate, but they cannot maintain this effect over a long period of time. Lush, heavy meals are an absolute no-go. These ensure that the body concentrates exclusively on digestion and no longer on your work.
Reading tip:"Eat smart!" - Increase brain power with spices
SOS measure # 3: Have a large glass of water
Water not only quenches thirst, but also has an extremely positive effect on the ability to concentrate. A large glass, which you drink in small sips, gets your thinking apparatus going and focuses your thoughts.
SOS measure # 4: Let go
We have already learned earlier in the text that stress has a great influence on our ability to concentrate. The more you are under (time) pressure, the more difficult it is to concentrate on something. As the deadline gets closer, it can help to let go and loosen up. As silly as it may sound, give your body a shake from top to bottom or do a little round of dancing. Listening to a few favorite songs can also help the brain relieve the pressure. After this short break, you can continue with full energy.
SOS measure # 5: chew gum
Scientists still disagree on whether or not chewing gum improves concentration. There are both studies that speak in favor of it and studies that deny a connection. When in doubt, just try it out. There are certainly people who notice an increased level of concentration when they chew a piece of chewing gum.
Increase your ability to concentrate in the long term
In addition to the immediate measures presented, there are also a number of ways to increase your ability to concentrate in the long term. Most importantly, you get your Identify personal disruptive factors and deal with them consciously. For example, if you have a strong tendency to look at your smartphone every few minutes, it can be helpful to keep it in the drawer during working hours. If, on the other hand, you tend to be stressed quickly, it makes sense to turn to this problem and think about possible solutions. The same goes for lack of sleep, clutter in the head and all the other influencing factors and attention traps in the office.
Furthermore, you should learn to set prioritiesto structure the numerous tasks in your work. Nobody can do everything at the same time. By making a plan of what needs to be done, when, how, and where, you will be more focused.
People who lose their focus quickly should always have one Notepad lying next to you where you can capture quick flashes of thought without having to chase them any further. Creative minds in particular know the problem of mentally dancing at several weddings and losing sight of focus in the process.
To increase concentration in the long term, you should Take very conscious pauses for thought. Some people use this for one meditation, others just relax. It is important that you give these moments of idleness a regular place in your schedule and are consistent in their implementation. Your brain is exposed to a high level of stress every day and it deserves these breaks.
Tip: All of these tactics can of course also be used in private life to increase concentration.
Concentration in the home office
More and more people - not only self-employed, but also employees who get the chance from their employer - work in the home office. Concentration plays a particularly important role in your own four walls, as it is not always easy to separate work and private life. In order to be able to work in a focused manner in the home office, you have to a few rules are set up right at the beginning. Everyone has to decide for themselves what this is. If you also work from home and cannot concentrate, the following tips might help you:
- Create a ritual that communicates to your subconscious "Now I'm working."
- If possible, set up your office in a separate room
- Remove as much of your home furnishings as possible
- Create an environment that is professional, but also has the "feel-good factor" at the same time
- Take regular breaks - away from your desk
- Identify disruptive factors and eliminate them
The subject of concentration or concentrated work is incredibly multifaceted and omnipresent. It does not just accompany us in everyday work, but much earlier in school and later also during studies or vocational training. This comprehensive presence underlines once again how important it is to deal with it and to examine your own behavior in more detail. Ultimately, each of us can increase our concentration in a different way. The paths are just as varied as the distraction traps that vie for our attention.
Photo credit: Moon Safari / Shutterstock.com
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