Simon Tyler, leading business coach and thought leader in Impact, Simplicity and Attitude, shares his tips on increasing your concentration at work in an exclusive preview from upcoming The Impact Book.
You expect yourself to concentrate and be creative and hugely productive, yet often, unconsciously, are involved in habits that directly reduce your ability to concentrate and, therefore, your impact.
In my work with clients I notice that the busier they become, the more prone they are to these impairments. Concentration becomes blocked when the demands you place on yourself increase.
How many of the following top 10 habits I have observed with clients have sneaked into your working week?
- Becoming absorbed in games on your smart phone.
- Turning on music in all gaps in your schedule, in the car or via headphones.
- Scheduling back-to-back (or even overlapping) meetings. 63
- Doing two (or more) things at once (writing an email, building a presentation, listening to a conference call) in the deluded hope that you are actually achieving more.
- Taking reading material or your email device with you to the loo.
- Working in cluttered/annoying environments.
- Forcing acceleration in your own thinking (think, think, faster, faster), only allowing short moments for your creativity to flow.
- Allowing distractions to take you away from ‘the focused task’.
- Taking in insufficient food and water (thirst and hunger take the brain’s power away from the task).
- Neglecting quality breathing (operating on shallow breathing for long periods).
Just noticing these things may be enough to inspire a ‘me-at-my-best’ scan. Consider printing out this list to stay aware and make a conscious and deliberate decision to act in a more empowered way. Eliminating the impairments one-at-a-time will deliver exponential boosts to your concentration and everyday resilience.
The simple truth about concentration is that less is more; focusing on one item and allowing the gaps to be the gaps can unleash your whole brain, and reduce stress too.
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