The Power of Concentration

My last article “You’re Busy But Are You Productive” (see below)Cat Concentrating triggered quite a few e-mails. I’ll expand a little on this productivity topic as so many people seem to struggle with it. One of the problems is that our culture reveres the ability to multi-task. It’s become a way of life – not exactly a sane way. Not only that, it turns out to not be a very productive way as well.

David Rock the CEO of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of “Your Brain at Work” says that multitasking causes “cognitive capacity to drop from that of a Harvard MBA to that of an 8-year-old”.  Apparently, heavy multitaskers have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information and experience more stress. Worse yet, when you multitask for a long time you become less efficient and eventually you burn out.

Are you a pro at multi-tasking? Are you finding that it’s becoming more and more difficult to concentrate on one thing at a time? The reason might be that your brain can really only handle one thing at a time and when you multitask you quickly switch between things which eventually programs your brain to have shorter and shorter attention spans.

Try single-tasking – which in my mind is basically being in the moment and fully present with one task or activity at the time. Imagine having a meal, just eating and savoring each bite. No texting, talking on the phone, just eating. Imagine working on a project fully focused, no distractions. I can go on and on.

When you live and do your work this way, at least some of the time, you’ll experience some great benefits – your work will become more focused, more effective and you’ll deliver results that will set you apart from the multi-tasking crowd. Your whole life will be of better quality, more meaningful and less stressful.

I ran across this exquisite video which shows what can be accomplished with the power of concentration. It’s only 7:34 minutes. I’d love to hear how it impacted you.


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6 Responses to The Power of Concentration

  1. Terry

    Very remarkable demonstration of grace and concentration. Juts the right length of video too. I was able to make breakfast, check email and wash dishes in the 7 minutes it ran!

  2. Karen

    I, too, have always revered my ability to multi-task. However, I realize the inefficiencies associated with multi-tasking and realize it is not a healthy or productive way to live. After reading Ellen’s article, I made a commitment to myself: try single-tasking in at least one area of my life for one week and see what a difference it makes. The results: so far so good!

    • Ellen van den Berg

      Good for you Karen. Hope you can expand to some other areas of your life as well.

  3. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing this, Ellen. It’s all in the breath…breathing and moving with the rhythm of the breath makes that concentration possible. And while you think what a nerve-wracking position she’s in, you can feel how relaxed she actually is.

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