Conquering Distractions

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Help for Sustaining Concentration

Focusing attention and sustaining concentration is the most difficult challenge for adults in meetings and classes. There are several reasons why adults have trouble concentrating for any length of time. Some of those reasons are: •External distractions

•Internal distractions
•Feelings of boredom
•Bad habits
•Speech thought time differential

External distractions include such things as others talking or whispering or eating or shuffling papers, noises outside of the room from the hall or street, the clothing or mannerisms of the speaker, a soft voice, or, at home, the radio, television, or phone calls.

For most of these distractions you can lessen the effect. Don't consider it rude to ask others to stop talking or carrying on. You are paying good money for the class and you have the right to attend without annoyance. If you can't hear the speaker easily, see if you can move your seat so that you are closer to the person speaking. If you find you keep thinking about the speaker's outfit, hair style or gestures, remind yourself why you are sitting there in the first place. At home, you need to plan your study area that is discussed in Chapter 6. You won't be able to eliminate all external distractions, but you should be able to reduce those distractions to a minimum.

Internal distractions can be either physical or psychological. Physical distractions include feeling hungry, tired, having a headache or a sore back, while psychological distractions include being concerned about a personal problem, remembering that you need to stop at the store on your way home, or pay the rent, or just being worried about too much to do, too little time.

Some pre-planning and self-discipline are required to reduce internal distractions. Eating nutritious food (protein is good for alertness) and getting a reasonable amount of sleep (try a 10 minute nap before class) will help with the first two distractions. Often, pre-planning can...
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