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With the constant stream of emails, social media updates and apps, there are now more things that require our attention than ever. It is therefore no surprise that we find it harder nowadays to concentrate and get things done. Fortunately our adult brain is still flexible enough to be trained.

In his book ‘Hyperfocus: How to Be More Productive in a World of Distraction’ (2018) Published by Penguin Random House, Chris Bailey offers useful insights and effective tactics to manage our attention. We will provide you with some of his useful insights and effective tactics to be less distracted, more focused and to improve the quality of your attention.

The quality of your attention

Intentions are key for your attentional space; they let you be productive and keep distractions out. It is not possible to stay focused all the time; because there are always things that we suddenly have to do. Still during a large part of the day, we can do what we had planned and get a lot done.

Formulate your intentions more often

The best way to improve your attention is to determine what you want to get done before you get started. At the beginning of each day, choose three things that you would like to have done at the end of the day. To-do lists are useful for putting all kinds of odd jobs in a row, but these three tasks must be the most important work of your day.

Be aware

It makes little sense to formulate objectives and intentions if you are not doing what needs to be done. One way to ensure that you are on the right track is to regularly check what occupies your attentional space.

Avoid distractions

We cannot prevent all distractions. We do control our response to these distractions though. The best way to deal with things that hijack our attention span is to keep your original intentions in mind and get back to work as quickly as possible.

Overcome your mental resistance to certain activities

Don’t think that you don’t have time to do something. You always have time; you only spend time doing other things. If this ‘I don’t have the time’ excuse sounds familiar, think about an exchange. For example, if you have “no time” to catch up with a friend, ask yourself if you would have the time to watch TV or scroll through social media?

How much time do you spend on your intentions?

Tags: attention
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Ard Van Oosten

I am a psychiatrist trained in business management and researcher. My heart goes out to talent development. I connect knowledge of the brain with leadership and offer tools for personal growth and development.

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