Quick and easy tricks to sharpen your focus
Tuesday, September 04, 2018
Concentration — it's the key element you need in order to do your very best work for your organization. Yet, even the most dedicated managers can get distracted from time to time.
Between those emails you think you must answer right this second, the unexpected fire on a project you needed to put out an hour ago, or responding to pressing questions from your staff, your attention is being pulled in many directions.
Want to reboot your focus immediately, so you can do an amazing job on that important report or presentation that's waiting on your desk?
Give these scientifically proven tips a try for a fast, foolproof attention boost.
Hide your smartphone.
Not just because it won't stop ringing. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin report that when you're busy and see your phone lying on your desk, your brain subconsciously tries not to notice it.
You'd think that would be a good thing, but instead, the cognitive energy you're using to block out the sight of your phone actually reduces the precise amount of concentration you need for your work. You can break this cycle by leaving your phone in a drawer or in your bag, and designate specific times during the day to check it.
Take five minutes to re-read your last successful performance evaluation.
Japanese researchers reported that after they were praised, study subjects focused and did better on a task with motor skills. Why? Taking in a compliment favorably affects the section of your brain called the striatum, which improves performance.
Attack the toughest part of your workload when you feel the LEAST focused.
Researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign found that the harder an aspect of a task is, the less likely you are to notice the world around you.
When you work on the most challenging aspect of your project, your brain rises to that challenge, and snaps you into concentration mode. The more you enjoy meeting the challenge of a hard problem, the more heightened your attention span becomes.
The researchers think this is because concentration is actually the result of a choice you make subconsciously. If you feel engaged and motivated to crack things open, your brain will also maximize its attention reserves to meet the demand.
Australian scientists report that just 40 seconds of gazing at the trees outside your office window can refresh your attention span. The researchers believe this is because humans are wired for rejuvenation from nature — a green "micro-break" quickly powers the cortical channels that control our ability to concentrate.
Be a role model.
If your staff sees you laser in on your work, your good example will most likely inspire them to do the same.
Let your staff know how important full absorption as a team is, and how it will pay off — when your whole group hones in on a mutual goal, a great accomplishment is sure to follow!
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