Improving Concentration Slideshow: Tips for Email, Cell Phones, and Other Distractions

30 Aug

Social Media Fix

Avoid logging in to social media sites while you’re working. If you feel compelled to check in every now and then, do it during breaks, when the steady stream of posts won’t interrupt your concentration. If you can’t resist logging in more frequently, take your laptop someplace where you won’t have Internet access for a few hours.

 

 

Email Overload

There’s something about an email — it shoots into your inbox and itches to be answered immediately. Although many emails are work-related, they still count as distractions from your current project. You won’t make much progress if you constantly stop what you’re doing to reply to every message.

 

Cell Phone Fix

Put caller ID to good use. If you suspect the call is not urgent, let it go to voicemail. If you’re working on a particularly intense project, consider silencing your phone so you’re not tempted to answer. Choose specific times to check voicemail. Listening to all your messages at once can be less disruptive than taking every call as it comes in.

 

Multitasking Fix

Whenever possible, devote your attention to one project at a time, particularly if you’re working on an intense or high-priority task. Save your multitasking skills for chores that are not urgent or demanding — it probably won’t hurt to tidy up your desk while talking on the phone.

 

Boredom Fix

Make a deal with yourself: If you stay on task for a certain period of time, you earn a 10-minute break. Reward yourself with coffee, a favorite snack, or a walk outside. Boring tasks are easier to accomplish when you have something to look forward to. This is also one case where multitasking may work well. Listening to the radio while filing receipts could help you stay put long enough to finish the job.

 

Nagging Thoughts Fix

One way to keep nagging thoughts from buzzing around in your brain is to write them down. Make a list of errands, housework, or other tasks you plan to complete later. Vent frustrations over an unpleasant confrontation in your journal. Once these thoughts are on paper, you may be able to let them go for a while.

 

Stress Fix

Learn stress reduction techniques, such as meditation. This can help you rein in stressful thoughts, so they don’t demand so much of your attention. In one study, researchers found that people who took an eight-week meditation course improved their ability to focus. If you can’t find a meditation class locally, look for one online.

 

 

Fatigue Fix

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Instead of burning the midnight oil, make sleep a priority. This will help you get more done during your waking hours. Also, pay attention to which times of day you feel most alert. Then you’ll know when to schedule your most intense tasks.

 

Hunger Fix

Keep hunger at bay and give your brain a steady source of fuel with these habits:

  • Always eat breakfast.
  • Eat high-protein snacks (cheese, nuts)
  • Skip simple carbs (sweets, white pasta)
  • Choose complex carbs (whole grains)

 

Culprit: Depression

Most people tend to think of sadness as the hallmark of depression. But the National Institute of Mental Health says difficulty concentrating is one of the most common symptoms. If you’re having trouble focusing, and you also feel empty, hopeless, or indifferent, you may be experiencing depression.

 

…Many studies have shown the effectiveness of antidepressant medications and certain types of talk therapy.

…Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to check if a medication or supplement you are taking may be affecting your concentration.

 

ADHD Fix

If you have consistent trouble focusing, and you had attention problems as a child, ask a doctor or counselor about ADHD. There are ways to manage the condition, including behavioral therapy and medications.

 

via Improving Concentration Slideshow: Tips for Email, Cell Phones, and Other Distractions.

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