Can't focus while working from home? A neuroscientist explains why

Working from home during lockdown can affect our ability to concentrate, and a psychological concept called "load theory" may explain why, a neuroscientist told Bloomberg Businessweek.

Our brains have limited capacity, and focusing on one thing means filtering out others, Nilli Lavie, PhD, a professor of psychology and brain sciences at University College London in the U.K., said to Bloomberg Businessweek. When our short-term memories or visual perceptions become overloaded with information, we find it harder to concentrate and become forgetful.

The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an overload of information, with people having to keep track of many things they didn't need to before, such as whether they are social distancing properly or remembering not to touch their face or wondering if their home looks presentable for a work meeting via the Zoom application.

"You're constantly being bombarded with new information, or information you've recently heard is playing on your mind," Dr. Lavie told Bloomberg Businessweek. "That reduces your capacity to suppress or ignore irrelevant information while you’re completing another task."

Dr. Lavie provided a few suggestions for improving concentration while working from home during the pandemic. She advises tuning out of sources of information, such as the news, while working and remembering that you are not alone.

"You can't ignore information that's threatening," she told Bloomberg Businessweek. "It's not just you. It's everybody."

Read the full article here.

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