10 Tips for more concentration
In many activities, it is important to be well concentrated and to stay fully focused, otherwise, errors or other problems will arise.
Whether it's working from your home office, studying, driving, or while working night shifts in security or healthcare, staying focused and alert can be a challenge. That is why we have drawn up a list of 10 different tips for everyone who has ever had to deal with this, and hopefully, these tips will contribute to better concentration in the future.
1. Interfering noises
This is already a very big challenge to start off with because certainly in the field of notifications from the countless apps that we have on our phone, there is a great temptation to quickly scan your phone when you hear all sorts of sounds, beeps, and vibrations from your phone. As a result, your concentration is quickly disrupted and you are immediately distracted, even worse if it turns out to be not important or urgent afterward. Or how about screaming kids and/ or barking dogs while working from home. Everyone has experienced it, right?! Either your own kids or pets or the neighbors!
To maintain a better concentration, it is advisable to turn your phone to silent or at least turn off the push notifications so that you are not constantly disturbed during your work (1). Indicate to colleagues at what times meetings, conferences, and other consultations can take place outside the regular (online) meetings so that you are not always taken out of your rhythm. If you want to stay focused you will have to create your own “bubble”. Another tip to prevent disturbing noises can be to put on noise-canceling headphones. This ensures that you hear fewer sounds from outside and are less likely to be distracted.
It goes without saying that while driving (field staff, long holiday trips, and transport companies) you have to stay extra alert and a reduced concentration can lead to life-threatening traffic situations! Look on your phone as little as possible, preferably not at all, and watch the traffic.
This is a point that has been receiving more and more attention since the infamous working from home situation hit the world, as not every employee has their own office space at home.
It is highly recommended to set up a pleasant, personal place with sufficient (day) light, a pleasant temperature, and a tidy desk. The "clean desk policy" that has been known for years is a good guideline for many people to be able to work concentrated and not to be distracted by all kinds of things that attract attention and that have nothing to do with what you are focusing on at that moment...
In case you can visit or have to visit the actual company office, it is important to be able to work quietly, not to sit too much in the corridor so that you are constantly distracted by passing colleagues or too close to the coffee machine where several colleagues are reviewing the last TV evening. If this is the case, the tip from above, the noise-canceling headphones, will apply again!
Thorough preparation is essential in order to be able to get to work quickly and in a concentrated manner. Make sure you have your things in order so that you don't have to organize anything and everything before you end up in your optimal workflow. Routine is key! Build up some sort of routine or ritual in getting your gear ready as many top athletes do in the locker room, to create focus and get the most out of your day. You can improve concentration by reducing the unnecessary and avoiding messy work.
4. Energy Gum
A modern way to cause a concentration boost is chewing energy or caffeine gum (2). It is important that no sugar has been processed in the chewing gum to prevent the famous sugar dip. Sugar-free chewing gum produces more saliva, contributes to healthier teeth and chewing makes the blood flow faster, which means more oxygen reaches the brain. As a result, it has a positive effect on concentration, alertness, reaction time, and even memory (3). In the case of professions where these aspects play an important role, but also, for example, with hobby gamers, obtaining an energy and concentration boost through caffeine gum is a good option. Take a look at our GRIZZ Energy Gum webshop for the different options we offer you and allow yourself, among other things, improved concentration and more alertness.
5. Clear, achievable deadlines and targets
It is remarkable that many people set deadlines and targets for themselves that are often not clearly defined and also not realistic in terms of timeframe. The result of this is that people start to feel the (unnecessary) time pressure and this stands in the way of meeting the deadlines in a structured way, with the right focus and concentration. In order not to be distracted or suffer from time pressure, it is important for yourself, both in work and private situations, to set clear goals that are actually achievable. This research clearly shows why this is important for both work and private situations.
6. Step by step
Climbing stairs works best if you go up step by step instead of taking the stairs in one go, apart from when you’ve just chewed on an energy gum of course ⚡️. This also applies to staying focused. The moment you are only focusing on the end result, you often lose the overview of the smaller sub-tasks that ultimately lead to the desired end result. Loss of focus and not being able to work concentrated are then lurking. Increase concentration by dividing your assignments into small parts, focus, and prevent yourself from drowning in the (too) big picture.
7. Background music
Who doesn't like music? Yet for many people, it is unknown that playing background music has a positive effect on concentration (4). It is often (incorrectly) said that music provides a distraction. Nothing could be further from the truth. What background music is played does not play a major role in this, as long as it is not too loud. Of course, every person has their own taste in music, so which music ensures better concentration is different for each person. Which playlist works best for you? Let us know in the comments!
Increasing concentration through visualization is a widely used method in professional sports. Whether it concerns a complete slalom course, mastering a certain lift, taking a penalty, or visualizing a game of chess, concentrating on what is about to come and/or on the end result has a huge and positive effect on your concentration.
9. Food and water
Eating good quality food, possibly supplemented with nutritional supplements (preferably: sugar-, aspartame-, and acesulfame-K-free), but especially drinking enough water, has a major impact on your concentration (5). Even at dehydration of 2% (!), it has a direct, negative impact on staying concentrated and can also lead to headaches and a dull/heavy head. So make sure you have good nutrition, supplemented with full-fledged multivitamin supplements and plenty of water.
There seems to be a contradiction here, because how can relaxation improve concentration? Taking regular breaks and seeking some distraction from what you were doing (preferably outside in nature), results in better concentration when you resume your work afterward (6).
Hobbiss, M. H., Fairnie, J., Jafari, K., & Lavie, N. (2019). Attention, mindwandering, and mood. Consciousness and cognition, 72, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2019.04.007
Englert, C., Zavery, A., & Bertrams, A. (2017). Too Exhausted to Perform at the Highest Level? On the Importance of Self-control Strength in Educational Settings. Frontiers in psychology, 8, 1290. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01290
Huang, R. H., & Shih, Y. N. (2011). Effects of background music on concentration of workers. Work (Reading, Mass.), 38(4), 383–387. https://doi.org/10.3233/WOR-2011-1141
Hirano, Y. (2015, May 17). Chewing and Attention: A Positive Effect on Sustained Attention. Hindawi. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/bmri/2015/367026/#abstract
Chen, H., Iinuma, M., Onozuka, M., & Kubo, K. Y. (2015). Chewing Maintains Hippocampus-Dependent Cognitive Function. International journal of medical sciences, 12(6), 502–509. https://doi.org/10.7150/ijms.11911
Adan A. (2012). Cognitive performance and dehydration. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 31(2), 71–78. https://doi.org/10.1080/07315724.2012.10720011
Berman, M. G., Jonides, J., & Kaplan, S. (2008). The cognitive benefits of interacting with nature. Psychological science, 19(12), 1207–1212. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02225.x