Why should I focus on public health?

How long can a person concentrate?

Everyone knows this situation: The long working day is finally coming to an end. We feel tired and exhausted. As a rule, we can then no longer concentrate on anything. In this context, the question often arises as to how long a person can actually concentrate fully. Linked to this is the search for solutions to get out of the vicious circle more and more Fatigue and listlessness to free. There are actually ways to make life easier for yourself despite long working hours or school hours. Here you can find out how long a person can be focused and how you can improve your working hours.

1. What is the difference between focus and attention?

Attention and focus are two different things. Shutterstock.com / fizkes

While the attention at the level of perception moves, the concentration on a concrete activity. The in-depth thought process helps us to solve a task or to carry out an action properly.

At school, the children concentrate on the respective subjects in order to deal with certain topics orally or in writing, the office worker does his PC work every day, the chef conjures up dishes of the master class without burning his fingers. This is characteristic of the active, mental ability to concentrate purposeful acting or thinking with the elimination of all influences that surround us.

Attention, on the other hand, controls perception. It leads to certain states of consciousness: Car, motorcycle and bicycle drivers as well as pedestrians are attentive to possible situations in traffic. Several observations, which the road user makes incidentally, are recorded by the conscious perception. In this way, the participants can perceive more in traffic. Driving or cycling as a single activity requires concentration. So perception does not relate to being active in itself.

2. How long can a person work productively?

Humans can only be productive for four to six hours. Shutterstock.com / PKpix

Doctors do not consider what the law allows: twelve hours a day as regular daily working hours. The question rightly arises here whether a person can be productive for so long at all. Is it possible to have consistently fruitful results over this long period of time? Work psychologists from Sweden, neuroscientists from Austria and Australian researchers, along with other experts, consider much shorter working hours to be far more productive. The unanimous opinion is that the time span in which a person's concentration can remain constant between four and six hours. Every hour that goes beyond this reduces the cognitive abilities and thus also the quality of the work. This also applies if the employed person takes several breaks in between working twelve hours a day.

The human brain performance does not correspond to the performance of a preprogrammed machine. After hours of maximum concentration, our brains tire. According to scientific opinion, our working memory is able to store a whole flood of information over a longer period of time and to keep it ready on demand, but at some point the human brain cannot absorb any further information. As Protection mechanism our mind reacts and sort of sort of itself, in that information is either disposed of, forgotten or simply no longer processed.

3. Consequences of long working hours

If you work too long, you harm yourself. Shutterstock.com / Rawpixel.com

The effective state of concentration prevents incorrect action and thinking. Therefore, we can act reasonably in situations that require reason. But if a person overworks himself, he can be damaged. The efficiency of the brain decreases rapidly, information is processed only incompletely or not at all. Rather, our head no longer filters errors. The result: the risk of accidents increases significantly. The ability to react quickly decreases rapidly. If you can hardly walk after a long day at work because of tiredness, it is better to use public transport if possible.

Any damage cases are not only noticeable in road traffic, but also in professional and private life. The tiredness caused by working long hours significantly reduces the quality of life. Inept actions accumulate, some people become irritable when they are tired. Not only the overworked person suffers, but also those around them. What can be absorbed privately with the help of other people, cannot always be remedied when mistakes are made at work. If the permanently overworked employee does not do the assigned task properly, it can cost him the job.

When other stressors are added

Seldom does an evil come alone. Concentration can also be interrupted by other stressors. Family, job, increased working hours and career pressure can all lead to a collapse in receptivity. That can end in burnout.

4. What are the best working hours?

Less work makes you happier. Shutterstock.com / OPOLJA

Several studies from different institutes around the world as well as large companies have addressed the topic of productive concentration with a result that is not really surprising: Less work leads to more satisfaction. Companies like Amazon and automakers like Toyota have seen profits increase when working hours are reduced. In the long run, people work more productively when the hours they work are between four and six hours.

Those who can concentrate well during this time also feel more motivated for the next day. This goes hand in hand with the willingness to complete the work in the specified time, which is also associated with an increase in quality.

If you still work twelve hours, you can relieve yourself. The many hours can be used effectively if the employee can organize his working hours flexibly. It has a positive effect on work performance if you can decide for yourself when and whether to work longer. Co-determination rights in this regard also increase the willingness to perform better. A longer vacation is often connected with the possibility of flexible time management.

5. What other factors does concentration depend on?

After all, concentration does not always only depend on the length of time in which our head has to perform at its best. Both external and internal factors play a decisive role here. For example, is it a unloved task or activity, reluctance prevents concentrated thinking. Often related to this is ability. If we don't like something, we won't be good at it either.

In addition, there is the mood or mood that accompanies us at the moment of the required concentration. If our mood is bad, the head will not be able to concentrate well either.

External stimuli are another factor that prevents people from concentrating. Children and young people in school in particular are permanently exposed to these external stimuli. Concentration suffers because the ability to select stimuli is not yet fully developed. It is therefore very easy for children to be distracted. So that they can concentrate on their homework, they need calm and a tidy environment.

6. How long can children concentrate?

Children cannot concentrate for long. Shutterstock.com / stockfour
  • Children 4 to 5 years: 10 minutes on average
  • Children 5 to 7 years: on average 15 minutes
  • Children 7 to 10 years: an average of 20 minutes
  • Children 10 to 12 years: on average 25 minutes
  • Children 12 to 16 years: on average 30 minutes

When it comes to how long children can concentrate, the subject of ADHD is not far. Children who suffer from this do not have enough messenger substances between the individual nerve cells in the brain. You have difficulty thinking through a thought. Thinking itself is hard work for children with ADHD because the neurotransmitter substances in the cranial nerve cells are used up more quickly. However, under certain circumstances, they can concentrate. Rewards, fun and motivation can serve as thought amplifiers, provided that a good portion of the right to self-determination is involved. The driving force is less the task to be solved than the motivating prospect of a reward.

In school, the overwhelming lack of ability to concentrate for long periods of time often causes problems. Tasks have to be solved in a certain amount of time, there is usually no reward for this. Pressure to perform and the fear of failure are spreading, which in ADHD can then manifest itself in aggressive or clown-like behavior.

7. How long can adults concentrate?

Have towards children Adults over a longer period of concentration. This is included about 90 minutes, whereby the ability to concentrate usually decreases with increasing age. Cognitive skills deteriorate and attention span also decreases.

8. Conclusion

Few of them can choose their working hours. These are determined in an employment contract by the employer. Anyone who has to work up to twelve hours and does not have the option of a flexible work schedule or home office has to bite into this bullet. In order to avoid accidents, clumsiness and mistakes, most of the time on free weekends should be used for a regeneration phase or one or two days off should be taken in between.

Those who can organize their working hours flexibly are better off. The concentration phases that bring the highest productivity can finally be intelligently placed by the employee in the most effective time of day for him.

However, the ideal time to concentrate, which yields the best fruits of work performance, lies between four and six hours. The most important or most difficult tasks should be placed in this period of time so that they can be completed without errors. Because the head cannot do otherwise, it helps to prioritize the activities to be carried out. Less important activities or thinking tasks can do without full concentration at one point or another and can be done at a later point in time. In this case, each person has to decide that individually.