Everyone has already experienced those moments when we are so focused and absorbed in what we are doing that no distraction can get us out of it.
This can be by studying a discipline that fascinates us, or by doing manual work, playing music, playing sports, etc …
There are moments like that in life, moments when our attention is fully invested in a single activity. And this investment usually brings a feeling of well-being and fulfillment.
On the contrary, there are also times when the focus seems almost impossible, where the first notification comes to take us to a site without interest to lose precious minutes.
In our daily life, the distractions are numerous and often insinuate by our tools of work.
Our computer, our phone are sources of permanent distractions. Escaping dozens of notifications that insist on our attention is sometimes part of the mental warrior’s journey.
If disciplines such as full-consciousness, self-hypnosis or yoga are so popular today, it is also because they are particularly necessary to offer us a bubble of concentration where to reload our attentional capacity put to hard test.
In areas that require a high level of performance, the ability to focus on a single activity is critical.
At a very high level of performance, it is often the factor that makes the difference.
Great athletes often have a more or less equal technical level. And it’s their level of concentration in a tournament that often determines their success.
For an operating surgeon, the ability to avoid distractions and focus on the task at hand is obviously vital. It is hard to imagine a surgeon putting his tools to look at his latest facebook notification on his phone.
Whatever your job or activity, you will gain in efficiency and satisfaction by increasing your concentration.
The distractions that assail us on a daily basis are therefore not only counterproductive, but also a source of dissatisfaction.
So how to avoid falling into their trap? How to improve your productivity ?
1. Your personal experience
First, before you drink tips from reading or research, I’d like to encourage you to look into your personal experience.
What are the times when you have the most experience of your peak concentration?
Those moments when your attention was entirely focused on one thing, you had like blinkers preventing you from seeing or hearing the outside distractions, your thoughts were totally absorbed by what you were doing, the feeling of time passing was different, the time seemed to you slower, or on the contrary faster than usual, you were inspired, with the feeling of knowing exactly what your next action was, and at the same time totally in the present moment …
You will notice that you can do this experiment in different conditions.
This can happen when you have an important conversation with someone you love, or when you are inspired by a creative activity, etc.
What causes this in you?
Also ask yourself what causes the opposite.
In times when you can not concentrate, what’s stopping you? Does something else seem more important to you and captivate your attention? Is it because your current task seems irrelevant? Is it fatigue?
2. The principle of inertia.
Do you know the principle of inertia in physics? It is a law that says that every body has a tendency to maintain its speed in the absence of external factors.
So an immovable object will remain motionless unless a force is applied to it. If you want a piece of furniture to move, you have to push it.
On the other hand, once in motion, the object still tends to maintain its speed. It therefore requires less force to keep moving forward.
In fact, if it is necessary to put force once the object is launched, it is because an opposite force applies: it is the resistance. The furniture rubs on the floor.
Why remember your physics classes in this article on distraction and procrastination?
Because the same principles apply equally in your work or any other activity.
It is more difficult to start a task than to continue it under the principle of inertia.
In any activity, you will encounter a form of resistance that will seek to prevent you from performing your task. This resistance will take various forms and will always aim to make you abandon your task for another one requiring less effort.
You stop pushing the furniture to blow on a dust.
When you have a task to do, start by putting yourself in it. If you have to write a text, start writing (even if it’s bad) to give a positive inertia to your task.
Give yourself the goal of putting yourself in for 5 minutes, and get to work. You will often see that after the first 5 minutes, the job will seem much easier.
3. Fight resistance, eliminate distractions.
In physics, resistance to movement is often due to friction.
Try to push a piece of furniture on waxed parquet or on the contrary on a stony path, and you will quickly understand what rubbing is!
In your work, resistance will often take the form of distractions. These distractions will be able to be tasks that look like work (ex: to answer a colleague by email), or tasks that are not at all (ex: to watch cute cats on Youtube).
The best way to combat these distractions is to ignore them.
The best way to ignore them is to be unaware of their existence.
So, put your phone in silence and put it at the other end of the room. Close all tabs on your browser that are not relevant to your current task. Disconnect from social networks, etc …
Organize your workspace to avoid distractions.
Remove post-it notes or notes from your desk that do not pertain to your current work.
Lock yourself up or put on headphones (with appropriate music or white noise) to stop hearing noises and outside conversations.
Interruptions in your work take you a lot of energy every time. Again, this is the principle of inertia: you need energy to stop the current task, start another task, stop it, and restart your previous task.
It’s wasted energy.
Use this download to avoir distractions : Easily Distracted
4. Spend less time on your work.
Parkinson’s law states that any work within an administration increases until it completely occupies the time allotted to it.
This is also called the law of gases applied to work.
When a gas is put in a container, it occupies all the space allocated to it. If you put oxygen in a small 50cl bottle or put the same amount of oxygen in a 5l bottle, the gas will expand to fill the space.
So there will be oxygen everywhere and no empty space.
Applied to work, this law states that if you allocate 12 hours to complete a task, you will spend at least 12 hours.
If the work can be done in 2 hours, you will spend the other 10 hours to procrastinate, to complicate your task, to perfectionism to completely fill the time you have allocated.
If you only give yourself 1:30 to do the same job, you will have no choice but to work effectively to complete your task 30 minutes late. You will avoid losing 10 hours in unnecessary tasks.
5. Do not give yourself the choice.
To write his masterpieces, Victor Hugo had a very particular method. He locked himself naked in his office and asked his servant to return her clothes at the end of the day.
He had no choice but to focus on his work or do nothing at all.
You are certainly not going to do the same thing, but you can find your own way of forcing yourself to work.
Self Discipline is key to any succes !
6. Give importance to what you do.
Have you ever noticed that things that seem important to you tend to obsess you naturally?
If you know why it is important to complete your task, you will have a much easier time completing it.
That’s why, to the extent possible, you must mentally tie your task to your personal goals.
If you can find pleasure in what you do, then nothing will stop you from doing it.
But if the task itself does not bring you pleasure, you can tie it to a nice reward.
You motivate yourself to finish your task quickly so that you can then do something you like.
When you work for someone else, your efficiency will allow you to ask for an increase or a more interesting job, or to be more relaxed and enjoy your free time.
Whatever your task, give it the maximum importance. Or eliminate it totally.
7. Reload your attention regularly.
Your attention is like a muscle. By working your attention you will strengthen it. The more you learn to concentrate, the easier it becomes.
But as a muscle, your attention also needs rest. Otherwise it is exhaustion.
Some activities allow you to recharge your attention quickly so you can return to your work with efficiency.
A walk in kind for example requires little attention, and allows you to recharge quickly. You let your eyes wander, you get distracted by your surroundings so that when you get back to work, you can focus easily again.
Sometimes it is not possible to walk in nature in the middle of a working day. This is often the case.
Listening to music with your eyes closed can then allow you to escape for a moment.
Or move and stretch your body as well. Playing with an animal, etc.
See what activities actually allow you to recharge and which are just lures …
8. Hygiene of life: sleep and nutrition
Sleep has a primary influence on concentration. On average, French people would sleep 1.5 hours less than 50 years ago, and 45% of 25- to 45-year-olds think they sleep less than they need. In teens, insufficient sleep is correlated with a smaller volume of gray matter. (Https://www.inserm.fr/information-en-sante/dossiers-information/sommeil)
Sleeping better allows you to be more focused in your work and to avoid distractions more easily.
In addition, lack of sleep causes a disturbance in the perception of hunger. If you tend to interrupt your work regularly to get something to nibble on, it may be that you lack sleep.
Nibbling is a vicious circle that negates your ability to focus. The rapid intake of sugars in the blood leads to a peak blood sugar (blood sugar) which is followed by a peak of insulin (the hormone responsible for reducing blood sugar).
As a result, your blood sugar level drops to a lower level than it was before you nibbled. So you end up a few minutes after nibbling with a feeling of fatigue and a lack of energy due to the lowering of your sugar level.
This vicious circle is particularly harmful for your concentration because it is difficult to concentrate when you have too much blood sugar, and also when you do not have enough.
To remedy this, avoid eating fast sugars and choose healthy meals taken at regular intervals.
Sleeping well and eating well can completely change the way you work and your productivity.
Check out these downloads to increase your productivity : Personnal Productivity.