Archive for April, 2015

 

5 Easy Ways to Reduce Adult Distractibility by Vicki Tillman, LPCMH

April 14, 2015

It is easy to become irritated with our children when they don’t pay attention when we’re giving instructions, wander off in the middle of their chores, or make a mess of their math assignments because they aren’t concentrating. But if we’re honest, the apple often falls pretty close to the tree: we adults are the same way.

Here are 5 ways to reduce your own distractibility:

1) Turn off the social media when you need to concentrate

While some studies show that an occasional check-in with social networks can give the brain a needed break, the constant ping of a new status or tweet can interrupt productivity, and trains of thought. [i]

2) Single-task instead of multitask

Despite the fact that multitasking is a hip idea, we really can’t do multiple things at once. We simply task-switch quickly. With each task-switch we lose productivity. Try it out: Make a list of tasks that need to be done, prioritize them, then do one at a time. Give yourself a social-media reward, then take on the next task. This will probably give you much better results. [ii]

3) Listen to music

Listening to background music can help your brain release dopamine. This neurotransmitter helps you feel a bit happier. When you feel happier, it is often easier to concentrate.[iii]

4) Burn off some stress

It is difficult to concentrate if you are overwhelmed with stress. You can burn off some of the stress hormones by exercise. Move your body first, then focus on your task.[iv][v]

5) Get enough sleep

A weary brain is an inefficient brain. It is easy for adults to try to fit too much into each 24-hour period by cutting back on sleep time. However, this reduces the ability of the brain to sustain concentration. Try an experiment. Increase your sleep time to 7 or 8 hours a night for a week: Does your concentration improve? [vi]

We are never too old to learn to conquer our own distractibility. (Then we can pass on our cool tips to our distractible kids.)

[i] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/wired-success/200911/social-media-does-it-help-or-hinder-productivity

[ii] https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/brain-wise/201209/the-true-cost-multi-tasking

[iii] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/jobs/how-music-can-improve-worker-productivity-workstation.html?_r=0

[iii]https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-aging-intellect/201105/improve-concentration-minimizing-distractibility

[v] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469

[vi] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21075236

 

 

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