How To Concentrate Better At Work So You Can Excel

Concentration is the key to success and people who are able to concentrate better find quicker results in their field of work or learning

There’s an enormous amount of variation in people’s ability to concentrate. Those with better working memory – the ability to store and manipulate information short term – seem to do best, but we can all improve by practising certain tasks that involve working memory. Here are a few tips on how to concentrate better so that you can excel at work.

Silence Is Best

Noises can become a problem if you need to concentrate. People do worse on tasks such as mental arithmetic when there’s background noise to disturb them. Complex noises that are acoustically varied are more distracting than less varied sounds. Office noise with speech is more distracting than office noise without speech. Similarly, music with lyrics is more distracting than instrumental music.

Some people state that music helps them concentrate better, but our research doesn’t back this up. If you ask people to predict how well they’ll do on a task while listening to music that they like, versus listening to music that they don’t like, they tend to overestimate how well they subsequently do. Liked and disliked music tend to impair performance equally.

Try Working In A Coffee Shop

Unless someone smashes a cup or makes some other sudden noise, the gentle background hum can feel like a pleasant backdrop for work. Similarly, noise-cancelling headphones seem to work because they screen out loud and unexpected sounds.

Turn Off Those Notifications

If you want to concentrate for a long time, don’t make life unnecessarily hard. Turn off those notifications on your phone, or switch the phone off. Have a coffee. Take regular breaks, and let’s hope that you are concentrating on something interesting. It is easy for the mind to wander when the subject matter is boring!

Accept That Distraction Isn’t Always Bad

Not being able to concentrate at work or feeling distracted is not great for productivity, but distraction has a positive side. Suppose we were always so focused that we never got distracted, we’d miss potential changes, such as threats, in our environment. Imagine if you were concentrating so hard on a book that you didn’t hear a fire alarm going off. Distraction is vital for survival. It gives you an opportunity to learn new things.

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