Why do we lose concentration very soon?

Increase concentration: exercises and tips

For many tasks in the job it is essential to be able to concentrate. Who his Increase concentration can, do more, make fewer mistakes, deliver faster and better results. It is also a sign of mental strength. Unfortunately, the brain doesn't always play along: it hungers for variety and new stimuli. Instead of concentration, we want to see, hear, experience and learn something new. After just a few minutes, the increased concentration can be over and the distraction occurs. There is also another problem: The Internet makes it particularly difficult to be able to increase concentration. Millions of distractions are just a click away. You can do that to still increase your concentration ...

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

➠ Content: This is what awaits you

This is why concentration is so important

Sometimes the admonition comes from outside, sometimes it is directed at oneself: Now finally concentrate ... Easier said than done, however. Distractions and different stimuli is there anywhere, anytime. A quick look out of the window, ask what your colleagues are up to, chat briefly at the coffee machine or maybe take a quick look at your smartphone and check the latest updates and news.

Not really a big deal, usually it is only a few seconds to a maximum of minutes in which the concentration is disturbed. A growing number of scientists are now convinced that all of this could be us and ours brain do less well than we think.

A psychology team at Michigan State University has these many little ones to do that Disorders of everyday lifeexamined, which will be over in a few moments:

  • the Pinging of the inbox
  • the to hum the vibration alarm
  • the Ring of the incoming SMS

Anyone who thinks that such minimal stimuli would not disturb concentration is seriously wrong. We do notice such mini-interruptions and are briefly distracted - but the consequences are much more far-reaching: According to the researchers the error rate doubles for the tasks that are currently being worked on.

In other words: In order to perform as well as possible without errors, you need a high level of concentration over the longest possible period. Unfortunately, this rarely works, although concentration is an essential factor for the quality of work and thus for professional success.

Causes: Why are we so easily distracted?

There are tons of ways to distract yourself or get distracted. The temptations are great and omnipresent, but a certain amount of concentration should be possible, especially at work. After all, the point here is clearly to work, to perform - to be fully concentrated.

The fact that many still find it so difficult to increase concentration lies in a deeper problem: We want to be distracted. We almost willingly accept every possibility and chance to break off our own concentration and instead study the environment. There is a great urge to hear what is happening around us. Do not work your head down and concentrate, but look around, experience with open eyes and all your senses what else is going on.

On the one hand, there is a need to feed the brain with new stimuli and impressions. If you are working with great concentration on a single task, possibly even a particularly monotonous or dull one, your thinking apparatus will soon begin to work itself out longing for variety, change and novelty. As a result, the mind looks for a break in concentration and responds to everything.

In addition, there is the phenomenon known as the name, which is widespread through the Internet today Fear Of Missing Out, in short FOMO or in German, the fear of missing out on something. Everyone wants to know what is going on with colleagues, friends or in the world. Where are the others? What are you posting? Who is writing what? Almost compulsively, people constantly look at their smartphones or social media profiles in order not to miss anything and to stay up-to-date. The pure poison for concentration.

Studies even show that in the long term people get more and more difficult the more they let themselves be distracted by the Internet and the media. Or to put it another way: It was found that chronic media users were becoming more and more susceptible to distractions and at some point had problems ignoring them, or rather control yourself and to be able to concentrate.

In order to be able to increase your concentration in the long term, you must therefore first find out what causes your problems. These can be found in three basic areas subdivide:

  • External factors

    Are the working conditions correct? Concentration has been shown to be more difficult in a noisy environment. Open-plan offices are a big problem, especially for highly sensitive people who can often hardly filter different sensory impressions. But lighting, work equipment and other external factors can also be reasons why you cannot increase your concentration.

  • Physical factors

    Illnesses or physical problems can also be the cause of concentration problems. These include, for example, diseases of the thyroid gland, blood sugar fluctuations or circulatory disorders in the brain. Sleep disorders, low blood pressure, dementia and depression also limit your ability to concentrate. If this is the cause, you will need to work on your health first so that you can improve your concentration as a side effect.

  • Personal factors

    Hardly anyone would like to admit it, but personal and individual factors are a particularly common reason when concentration does not work. As already mentioned, it is not easy to really concentrate and block out distractions anyway. Or maybe you've never learned to really focus on things before? It is not easy to look for the blame in yourself, but these causes offer the chance to increase concentration through your own changes.

The most important prerequisites for increasing concentration

Before you devote yourself to specific exercises with which you can increase your concentration, you should first yourself dedicate to the basics and create the necessary conditions for concentrated work. This applies to employees in the office as well as employees in the home office, but of course also self-employed as well as students or schoolchildren who hope for better concentration.

These tips are part of the preparation Basicsto increase your concentration:

  • Set up your workplace accordingly

    A tidy desk brings fewer distractions, you don't rummage unnecessarily through documents and only have what you actually need for the task at hand without losing your concentration.

    Also make sure that the working conditions are right. Are you sitting comfortably and at a good height? Do you have enough light? Do you have all the documents and tools ready? The less you have to deal with all these little things, the easier it will be for you to increase your concentration.

  • Get some rest

    The greater the background noise, the more difficult it is to concentrate. Anyone who shares the office with others can hardly impose a duty of confidentiality on them, and even if they do, additional noises remain. It is best if you can retreat to a separate room for tasks that require great concentration, in which you can work undisturbed.

    If that is not possible, headphones are a very good way to block out acoustic distractions and annoying noises. Whether you opt for headphones that simply block out outside noises or whether you can work particularly concentrated with appropriately selected background music depends on your personal decision.

  • Do not exaggerate

    Your intentions may be good, but there is no point in trying hard to stay focused for hours. It's almost impossible. It makes much more sense if you divide up the time and allow a phase of full concentration to be followed by a short break in which you can concentrate on other things.

    Such breaks end concentration, but are wanted here so that you can then delve into the task again. Instead of short interruptions that provoke mistakes, give your head a specific break to recharge your batteries.

  • Switch off sources of interference

    A ringing phone, the annoying noise of the e-mail inbox or other sources of interference make concentration impossible. If you want to devote your full concentration to a task, the following always applies: Switch off everything that you do not absolutely need.

    Hardly any email is so urgent that the answer cannot wait half an hour. The same applies, of course, to YouTube, Facebook or other pages in your Internet browser, which may make less noise, but are always tempting as a source of interference, especially if they are already open in the background.

  • Have a bite to eat

    We strongly advise against heavy and greasy dishes as they tend to damage concentration. Your body is then busy digesting and you lose focus. A small snack, on the other hand, can be beneficial if you feel a little hungry.

    It's not particularly healthy, but a chocolate bar or other delicacy can be quite helpful here: The sugar it contains provides short-term energy that is needed for increased concentration - and chocolate is known to make you happy. In a good mood and satisfied, the concentration is a little easier.

  • Drink enough

    If the fluid intake is neglected, not only will you get headaches, but you will also have difficulty concentrating very quickly. A basic requirement if you want to increase concentration is therefore simple: drink a lot! Preferably water or unsweetened tea.

    It should be at least 1.5 liters a day, and significantly more in summer or during physical exertion. If you forget to drink, an alarm clock can help you regularly remind yourself to drink a large glass of water.

Exercises and Tips: How to Increase Your Concentration

Even with these comparatively simple preparations, you will find that concentration can be increased. But you can do morein order to learn to deal better with the temptations of distraction, to reduce constant interruptions and thus to increase your concentration in the long term.

The following applies: Expect no miracle cures or instant effects. It takes a little patience until old and bad habits are broken and concentration becomes easier.

We have a few Exercises and tips put together for you, with which you can increase your concentration:

  • Identify personal distractions

    An important question is: what are you getting distracted by? This is very individual, because not everyone jumps to the same stimuli and distractions. Do you look around at every sound and are you thrown out of focus? Is it the phone or email that causes constant interruptions? Or can't you keep your hands off your smartphone and social media? If you know what is particularly distracting you personally, you can take targeted action to increase your concentration.

  • Prioritize the current task

    Simple in theory, difficult to implement in practice. Make it clear: The current task is currently the top priority, everything else can wait! If you internalize this mindset, you will reduce the constant urge to check e-mails or ask colleagues what is going on - these things are much lower on the priority list and can therefore wait. You should always share these priorities with your colleagues and communicate openly so that they do not bother you with completely unimportant things.

  • Set clear deadlines

    Parkinson's Law states that a task always takes as long to complete as time is available to process it. This also means: If you still have a lot of time, you tend to distract yourself and not work concentrated, because it feels like an eternity remains until the deadline. Avoid this effect by setting strict (but realistic) deadlines for tasks and adhering to them.

  • Do unpleasant tasks first

    In every job there are tasks that are more fun, particularly exciting and challenging, or that are simply personal to you. And then there are ToDos that simply belong and have to be taken care of. The very tasks that are difficult for you and that you often wander about should be done at the beginning of the day. Your concentration is still high here, you are rested and have a lot of energy. The later you devote yourself to these motivation killers, the easier it is for you to lose your concentration.

  • Chew gum

    Even at school or at university you can see a surprising amount of chewing gum in exams. There is a good reason for this: In fact, researchers were able to show that chewing gum promotes concentration and ultimately leads to better results.

    But don't overdo it. On the one hand, your jaw muscles will thank you when they are given a break - but the effect only lasts for a relatively short time. It already subsides after 15 to 20 minutes. However, it can certainly work as a short boost for concentration.

  • Prevent multitasking

    Scientists have often shown that real multitasking is impossible and does not help at all. Rather, it worsens concentration and slows down work. If you constantly jump back and forth between three things, you end up concentrating on nothing and inevitably make mistakes. If you want to increase your concentration, you should learn to focus your full attention on a single task and only then move on to the next project.

  • Reduce stress

    Whether privately or professionally: Stress kills concentration. On the one hand, it is exhausting and consumes a lot of energy that is lacking for concentrated work, on the other hand, it is extremely distracting because the thoughts are not on the matter, but constantly revolve around the worries, problems or difficulties that cause the stress. It is a difficult task, but as you reduce your stress levels or learn to deal better with stressful situations, your concentration increases too.

  • Learn relaxation techniques

    Mindfulness and meditation exercises will help you focus on yourself. They divert your attention away from other things that are currently on your mind. This can help you better ignore distractions, be less stressed, and thus be more focused.

  • Get some exercise

    You already know that you should take regular breaks - but you don't have to spend them at your desk; you should take a few minutes for a walk. This stimulates the circulation, improves blood circulation and helps you to concentrate better afterwards.

  • Read a book

    Another tip that you can implement during the break: grab a book and read. You don't have to devour the whole book, ten or 15 minutes are sufficient. You calm down while reading, relax and subconsciously sort your thoughts. In this state of mental relaxation and clarity, you can find your way back into focus more easily.

  • Write down your final thought

    If a concern of your colleagues or your customer cannot be postponed and you have to interrupt your current activity, it can help to write down your last thoughts. Write down in note form what has gone through your head. This makes it easier for you to continue the work at a later point in time and to increase your concentration immediately.

  • Increase your resilience

    If you had a stressful day full of interruptions, make sure that you relax after work. Do sports, pursue your hobbies and get enough sleep, then you will be prepared for the challenges of the next working day and will meet stresses more relaxed and with new strength.

Study: A quiet hour for more concentration

A real time out in the literal sense of the word - Smartphone off, email off, office door closed - works wonders.This is what Cornelius König, Professor of Work and Organizational Psychology at Saarland University says.

In his study of the benefits of the so-called Silent hour he proves: If managers consciously take a break from e-mail, telephone and office calls, the quality of the work increases noticeably. Employees also perceive the rest of the working day to be more productive and more satisfactory. Even an hour of concentrated work without interruption "increases the quality of demanding work significantly," says König.

For two weeks, he and his colleagues accompanied 27 managers who also had to keep a diary. Even months later, the researchers followed up. During this time, managers should record every day how they assess their own performance if they consistently do one hour a day external stimuli how to turn off emails and phone calls.

result: The managers rated the work they were doing during the silent hour as of higher quality, were more satisfied all day and also felt more efficient. Even three months later, when the scientists asked the managers again how they rate the silent hour today, the same result: Many had retained the deliberate time-out and continued to rate its effect as positive.

Admittedly, in order to increase concentration you have to be able to take the quiet hour first and then also like that have a lot of self-disciplineso as not to reach for the cell phone or squint into the mailbox. And the supervisor has to play along as well.

Thanks to the study, you now have a very good argument for it.

Increase concentration with tablets or other means?

To put it straight away: we do not believe in increasing concentration and performance with the help of tablets, pills, or obscure nutritional supplements. Some miracle cures are regularly thrown on the market, which ultimately cause only one thing, namely a thinner wallet.

In addition, you never know exactly what is contained in such medical lifestyle products - even if the “active ingredient” is stated various other components (e.g. sugar, cellulose), which you can actually do without.

Medicines such as Ritalin or Modafinil are also supposed to increase concentration and make you more efficient. But artificial doping is dangerous because these drugs were used for mental illness developed and should be reserved for these too.

Additionally, you run the risk of becoming dependent or developing sleep disorders - one of the Main causes of lack of concentration. As you can see, you are promoting the opposite or getting into a vicious circle.

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January 16, 2021Author: Jochen Mai

Jochen Mai is the founder and editor-in-chief of the career bible. The author of several books lectures at the TH Köln and is a sought-after keynote speaker, coach and consultant.

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