They say that being a multitasker is a huge plus. You supposedly manage to do a bunch of things at once without losing enthusiasm and quality. But that’s actually not the case. Scientists say that multitasking and concentration are very distant, if not opposite, concepts.
Concentration is the ability to focus one’s attention on an object or process, making it stand out from others and retain it in short-term memory. Multitasking implies quick switching between processes with minimal concentration.
Concentration disorder is becoming a widespread problem. The fast pace of life, social media, and speed of decision making disorients our brains, scatters attention, and leads to stress. Symptoms of impaired concentration are often restlessness, slow reactions, taciturnity and withdrawal.
The ability to concentrate on something and focus your mental effort on a specific task is critical to studying new topics, achieving goals, and succeeding in a variety of situations. Whether you are trying to complete a report for your boss or take part in a marathon for amateur athletes, it is your ability to concentrate that determines whether you succeed or fail.
In most cases, problems with concentration are situational and temporary, but in some cases they may indicate the development of certain psychopathologies.
How to Develop Concentration
If lately you feel that you have become absent-minded, forgetful and apathetic, poorly remember names, phone numbers, or maybe you began to skip over the requests and instructions of colleagues, it’s time to take care of yourself and take concentration under control.
Here are some tips and tricks of psychology that will help you to develop concentration and cope with absent-mindedness.
Check Your Current Level of Concentration
It is definitely good if you:
- Easily stay focused.
- Can set goals and break down difficult tasks into subtasks.
- Can take a short break and then get back to work.
If you don’t find anything in common with yourself in this list, you may be close to the following statements:
- You regularly hover in the clouds and daydream.
- You don’t know how to distract yourself from tasks without losing productivity.
- You lose your rhythm and can’t keep up with your work progress.
If this set of statements is closer to you, it’s time to get to work and improve your cognitive abilities.
Most people underestimate how many distractions keep them from focusing on the task at hand. Distractions can include a loud radio, notifications, or even an annoying coworker who keeps coming into the office to chat.
Set aside a specific time and place and ask your coworkers or family to leave you alone for a specific time. Or find a quiet place where you can work or enjoy online live sports betting quietly. A library, a private room in the house, or a quiet coffee shop are great options for a work retreat.
Outline Your Focus
Decide what you need to focus on right now. Attention resources are limited, so it’s important to allocate them wisely. You have to consider your attention as a spotlight.
If you direct the beam to a specific area, you can see things very clearly. Multitasking is the enemy in this regard. Focus on one task and then move on to the next.
Stay in the Moment
It’s hard to stay focused when you’re reflecting on the past, worrying about the future, or distracted from the present for whatever reason.
Psychologists often talk about the importance of “being present.” The point is to remove all distractions, whether physical (the phone) or psychological (anxieties, thoughts, worries), and become fully immersed in the mental process.
The notion of being present is also important in regaining concentration. It may take some time, but try to learn to really live in the present. No one can change the past, and the future is not yet here.
Although people have been trying various forms of meditation for thousands of years, its health benefits have only recently begun to be rethought. For example, a study by Empirical Wisdom director Michael Mrazek confirmed that just a couple of weeks of meditation improved concentration and memory by 16%. So, set aside 15 minutes daily to notice fantastic results.
The result was revealed in tests of verbal logical thinking. You can use different practices, but an ordinary exercise in the form of concentrating on your breathing will do for starters. Even if you manage to hold your attention on your breath for only a few seconds, that’s already a success.