How to develop attention: a detailed guide + list of books and online services

What is attention

Attention is one of the main human cognitive functions. In psychology it has a special role. This is a kind of filter through which all surrounding information passes. For clarity, it can be compared to the beam of a flashlight or spotlight, which focuses light on a specific object, leaving everything else out of sight.

The quality of other cognitive functions – thinking and memory – depends on the quality of attention. It happens that we scold ourselves for forgetfulness, we try with all our might to develop memory, while it has absolutely nothing to do with it. It’s just that at the moment of perceiving the information, our attention wandered somewhere in the vastness of space, so nothing entered our memory.

At some moments, failure to concentrate can cost us our lives. For example, while driving a car.

There are professions that require extreme care: air traffic controller, train driver, watchmaker. They become not some geniuses who have ideal attention by nature, but ordinary people. If they managed to bring the skill of concentration to perfection, then you and I can do it too. Regular training will help you “pump up” your attention muscle and thereby increase your productivity.

Exercises to improve blood circulation in the brain

Gymnastics for cerebral vessels is needed if a person is diagnosed with vegetative-vascular dystonia. When blood circulation is impaired, the brain experiences oxygen starvation and becomes unable to work actively and correctly.

Dancing, yoga, the Nishi technique, simple movements with the arms, head, and legs help strengthen blood vessels, deliver more oxygen to the brain, and normalize blood circulation.

Light vibration immediately after waking up, without getting out of bed, expands capillaries and removes toxins from the body. To do this, you need to lie on your back, raise your legs and arms straight up, and shake them vigorously for about 5 minutes. The nerves that stimulate the brain are activated.

Waves with the whole body, as a swimming fish does, also perfectly activate blood movement. Sitting down, turn your head in both directions, alternately. Stand up and wave your arms and legs. Exercises for blood vessels are any movements: arms up, down, swinging your arms clasped together, as if chopping wood, increases the flow of blood to the head.

Walking, running, jumping rope, and dancing are useful for strengthening the blood vessels in the head.

Concentration, switching and distribution of attention

Before moving on to practical recommendations and exercises, I will tell you what exactly you can train and how. There are three aspects of attention that you need to learn to master.

  • Concentration is the ability to direct all your attention to one specific object or action. The better your ability to concentrate, the longer you can work without distraction.
  • Switching is the ability to quickly change objects of attention. You've probably noticed that when there is a sudden change in activity, it is difficult for the brain to immediately readjust. This is especially true for anything associated with strong emotions.

For example, you come home from work, where you just had an argument with your boss, and are trying to play with the children. But my thoughts continue to revolve around the unpleasant situation.

  • Distribution of attention plays an important role when we need to perform several actions at once and control several objects. The best training for this is driving. Remember what driving a car is like. You need to constantly monitor the road, change gears, squeeze the clutch, turn on the turn signals... At first it seems impossible, but then it turns out automatically.

It is very important to train all three aspects of attention. Our recommendations and exercises are aimed precisely at this.

Reasons for deterioration in concentration

Decreased attention and absent-mindedness causes a lack of oxygen reaching the brain.
The cause may also be simple fatigue or overload with new information. These are fairly common reasons that are easy to get rid of. It's enough to just have a good rest. But there is another situation, which is expressed by a loss of concentration. Asthenic syndrome, or dysfunction of the brain, is the result of a negligent attitude towards one’s own health. The reasons for the appearance of this unpleasant process are due to several reasons.

  • Frequent stress and anxiety cause exhaustion of the nervous system.
  • Insufficient intake of vitamin B12 into the body.
  • Problems with the endocrine system negatively affect brain function.
  • Decrease and weakening of immunity.
  • Death of brain cells after injury or as a result of Alzheimer's disease.

Why do we get distracted

Let's highlight the main reasons why we find it difficult to concentrate.

Lack of willpower

Willpower in simple words is the ability to control your attention. Concentrate on what is important and cut off what is unimportant. Therefore, by developing willpower, you simultaneously improve the quality of your attention.


Uncomfortable posture, pain, hunger - all these are distractions that draw attention to themselves. You are probably aware that our brain processes body signals first. Therefore, before starting work, try to eliminate all these interferences.

A bunch of unsolved cases

It is very difficult to concentrate when many problems hang over you like a sword of Damocles. Even if you don't think about them at a particular moment in time, they still loom somewhere on the periphery of your consciousness. Start raking them slowly - time management will help you.

Exercises to develop the right hemisphere of the brain

The development of the brain hemispheres gives a person the opportunity to solve complex problems faster than others, 5 and even 10 times. How to develop the right hemisphere? We learn from psychologists:

  1. The first exercise is called "Greeting to the General" . They salute with their right hand, as they do in the army. At the same time, show a sign of approval with your left hand. Thumb up, clenching the remaining fingers into a fist. The left arm is extended forward. Now you need to quickly change hands, salute with your left hand, extend your right hand forward, finger up. Swap hands several times.
  2. The second exercise is called: “Mushroom and glade” . The left palm is clenched in a fist, the elbow is on the back of the outstretched palm of the right hand. The right hand is positioned horizontally, at chest level. The left one is perpendicular to the top, the palm clenched into a fist, looking into your face. Swap your hands several times.
  3. The last movements are more like a tease or a joke . One hand calls out to the viewer, the other hand shows approval: thumb up, fist clenched. Now clap both hands, palm to palm, and switch hands. Show your approval with your other hands. Then again there is a clap and the figures change places. Repeat several times.

Recommendations for developing attention

Now we can finally consider specific ways and means of improving attention. They are perfect for teenagers and adults.

Give yourself extra motivation

Have you noticed that when you are doing something interesting and enjoyable, you do not need to hold your attention on purpose. On the contrary, you cannot tear yourself away from your favorite activity and switch to something else. How can this effect be transferred to all other matters?

The right attitude is very important. Every time before you start doing something, think about why it is important to you and what benefits it will ultimately bring. For example, when starting cleaning, imagine in bright colors how your apartment will shine after a couple of hours. At each stage, reward yourself for the work done. Once you've washed the floors, you can eat some candy and move on.

Concentrate on your feelings

It is very convenient to develop concentration through the senses. During the day, be distracted for 10-15 minutes and concentrate on the sensations of one modality. For example, when getting to work in the morning, look carefully around, try to remember as many details as possible and not miss anything.

During your lunch break, focus on eating. Feel the taste of every piece of food, try to recognize every ingredient. Also take time for auditory and kinesthetic sensations. If you can develop this habit, you will not only improve your concentration, but also begin to live a more conscious life.

Get rid of distractions

Imagine that you suddenly find yourself in a locked, empty room without the Internet, alone with your work laptop. How much do you think your efficiency will increase under such conditions? Scientists from the University of Massachusetts conducted a similar experiment. As a result, the subjects' productivity increased by an average of 25%.

This means that the work that they usually did in 8 hours of the working day, while locked up, they managed to do in 6. It turns out that on average, people waste 2 hours every day to no one knows where.

Observe yourself and determine what you are most often distracted by. I bet it's social media, chatting with colleagues, snacks and cigarettes. Set yourself a limit on these actions and strictly adhere to it. At the same time, you will train your willpower.

Get used to order

We have already found out that our environment greatly influences our ability to concentrate. If your surroundings are chaotic, it will be very difficult for you to concentrate on completing a task. There are two reasons for this.

Firstly, scattered things, dust and dirt will catch your attention like hooks and pull it towards you. The visual analyzer dominates over all others, so the abundance of visual stimuli is always very distracting.

Secondly, you will not be able to get rid of internal discomfort until you put things in order. A mess is always annoying, depressing and oppressive. So before you begin an important task that requires extreme concentration, take some time to clean up.


Distractions can be not only external, but also internal. Somehow, for fun, observe the flow of your thoughts. Starting to think about the recipe for the upcoming dinner, after 10 minutes you can easily catch yourself thinking about the design of the hadron collider. And all because we are not used to maintaining discipline and mental hygiene.

Meditation will come to the rescue. Start devoting 15 to 30 minutes a day to it, and within two weeks your mind will become clearer, your consciousness will be clearer, and your attention will be sharper.

Determine your work/rest schedule

There is a method in time management called 90/30. Its essence is that a person should work intently on one task for 90 minutes, and then rest for half an hour. It is believed that 90 minutes is the maximum concentration time that our brain is capable of. Then he begins to spontaneously become distracted.

90 is an approximate value. It varies from person to person. There are people with so-called childlike attention - their brain constantly jumps from one task to another. Working with concentration for an hour and a half is an impossible task for them. Therefore, you should determine the optimal time for yourself.

Next time you're concentrating on something, set a timer. Ignore the first attempts of the brain to be distracted - continue working. When your willpower can no longer cope with the attempts of your consciousness to fly somewhere away from your boring work, record the time. Allow 10 to 30 minutes for rest, depending on the duration of the period of concentration.

Learn to ignore

No matter how paradoxical it may sound, for the development of attention it is very important to turn it off sometimes. Namely, in those moments when it tries to focus on an unwanted stimulus.

For example, you are working on a quarterly report, and a cheerful summer song comes from the window. And now you are already dancing with all your thoughts on vacation on the sea coast with a cocktail in your hands. What kind of report is this?

It is very difficult to deal with emotionally charged stimuli, but it is possible. If possible, it is best to get rid of them: in our case, close the window so as not to hear tempting sounds, or insert earplugs.

If this is not possible, you will have to use your will. Tell yourself that you only have a little time left before your vacation. But if you don’t work hard now, then what awaits you is not the sea coast, but, at best, a sofa and a TV.

Give up the habit of doing things halfway

We very often do things inattentively and half-heartedly. We communicate with children when our minds are busy with work, we eat while staring at the phone screen, we watch a movie, but we think about something else. This is a very harmful practice. Our brain relaxes and thinks that we can’t concentrate at all.

If for some reason you cannot devote yourself completely to your activity, it is better to postpone it. There will be no sense in doing it “halfway” anyway.

Memory games

It’s just good to practice, but it’s better to play and develop! We present you games that will help change your memory for the better. The games are very interesting and useful, and the competitive mode will only add interest!

Game "Super Memory"

  1. Trains visual memory
  2. Increases memory capacity
  3. Improves memory accuracy

With each move, one new picture appears on the screen. You need to quickly find it and click on it to score as many points as possible in 1.5 minutes. The first 5-7 moves are very easy, and then it becomes noticeably more interesting and difficult.

Play now

Speed ​​Comparison Game

  1. Develops memory
  2. Improves attention
  3. Speeds up reaction and thinking

In this game you need to compare the figure shown on the screen with the previous one as quickly as possible, answering the buttons “Yes” - similar or “No” - not similar.

Play now


You can develop attention with the help of special exercises. The main principle is regularity. It is better to study for 5 minutes every day than to complete all tasks at once and put it off indefinitely.

Schulte table

A classic exercise for developing attention. Look at the table below and try to fix the numbers with your eyes in the correct order from 1 to 25 as quickly as possible. You can make the task more difficult. Do the same, placing your gaze in the center of the table and using only your peripheral vision. By the way, this technique is used in speed reading courses.

Stroop table

In front of you is a table with words of different colors written on it. Your task is to name the color of each word in turn. It will be difficult at first, but don't give up! Practice until you name all the words quickly and without a single mistake. When you have mastered this particular picture, find a similar one on the Internet. By the way, children do this much better than adults.

Finding differences

One of children's favorite educational toys is a great way to train attention. Look at the pictures and try to find as many differences as possible. To make the task more difficult, you can do this for a while.

Drawing with two hands

The main goal of this exercise is to develop both hemispheres of the brain. But it is also perfect for training attention. Take a pencil in your hands and start drawing different geometric shapes at the same time. For example, with your left hand you use a square, and with your right hand you use a circle. It's best to do this temporarily. Try to draw at least 8-10 shapes in a minute. But don’t forget about quality!

ticking clock

This exercise trains the skill of switching from one stimulus to another. You will need a clock with a ticking mechanism and a book. Place the clock in front of you on the table, pick up the book and start reading. Read very intently for 10 minutes, without any distractions. Then quickly turn your attention to the sound of a clock ticking.

Try not to think about what you read, but focus completely on your auditory sensations. After 10 minutes, switch back to the book and do a few more of these approaches.

Do this exercise every day. After a week, you can replace the book and watch with something else, for example, music and typing on a computer, drawing and watching movies, etc. You should also try to increase the time you concentrate on each stimulus.

Warm glass

Pour warm water into a glass, take it in your hand and stretch it horizontally forward. Your task is to focus on holding your hand in one position for a few minutes. Then bring your attention to your palm. Feel the warmth and concentrate on it, while trying not to lose the original position of your hand. Shift your attention back and forth several times in a row. As your hand gets tired, it will become more and more difficult for you to concentrate on the sensation of warmth.

Why do we need to develop attention?

We have various mental phenomena, but attention is a special type. This property cannot be separated from others; everything is interconnected. By highlighting different impressions from the variety thanks to attention, we improve our memory and ability to think. If we are not careful, we can very successfully destroy any task, even a simple one. This is easy to note in the case of a child. When his memory and attention are occupied, he immediately shows better results.

As for adults, problems with memory and attention make it difficult to get a job or graduate from college. For example, one of my friends wanted to get a highly paid position, but the conditions for admission were modern and demanding. She had to pass an IQ test, which she failed. And the reason for this is poor memory and attention. When she complained to me, we decided to go through the test ourselves again. And what’s surprising is that she answered all the questions without any problems.

It turns out that something was preventing her from concentrating her attention. When she went to work, she was nervous, worried and could not, as they say, pull herself together. And this, unfortunately, is the norm. When we are stressed, we are unable to perform basic tasks. But if you knew in time that there is an opportunity to improve your attention, then the majority would get a good job and salary. To get started, you need to study the issue deeper.

Mini tips for every day

What else can help develop attention besides special exercises and techniques? Useful habits. They are so simple and easy that you can easily fit them into your life.

  1. Develop your powers of observation. Walking down the street, try to notice as many details as possible. Remember what trees grow in your yard, what hairstyle your neighbor Masha has, what color the cars passing by are.
  2. Do the same when going to the store. Try to remember how the display cases are located and what products are displayed on them. When you get home, recreate the picture in your mind in all details.
  3. When communicating with people, note how they look: what they are wearing, what color their eyes are, what shape their eyebrows are, etc.
  4. Stop doing everything “automatically”! Practice mindfulness. Learn to live here and now and enjoy every moment.

Training memory and attention in adults - the best exercises

Classes to improve memory in adults are not such a difficult task. If you wish, you don’t have to waste extra time on training attention in adults. Listen carefully to your friend, trying to remember the color of his shirt, shoes, coat, eyes, hair. After you part, try to remember these colors.

While walking down the street, try to remember the numbers of buses or cars passing by. If you are stuck in a traffic jam or have a long ride on a trolleybus, solve crosswords and scanwords. They perfectly train memory and attention.

Memorize three words of a foreign language every day. Learn poetry, read at least 20 pages a day. These simple ways train the brain and memory of busy adults.

Try not to overwork and eat right. Fresh fruits and vegetables, greens, a lean diet, enough calories, a varied menu are necessary to nourish brain cells.

Useful literature

I really like exercises to develop attention - they are simple and unobtrusive, but at the same time exciting. And most importantly, the effect comes quite quickly. If you, like me, want to study seriously, I advise you to purchase special books. They describe various methods for developing attention and present a wide selection of exercises.

For adults:

  1. “Theories of attention” Alexander Shevtsov
  2. “#The power of focus. Metaphysical law of success” Niko Bauman
  3. “The brain is in good shape. Workbook for training memory and attention” Tetsuya Miyamoto
  4. “How to quickly concentrate attention” Ilya Melnikov
  5. “How to improve memory and develop attention in 4 weeks” Tatyana Lagutina

For children:

  1. “School of Attention” Natalia Pylaeva, Tatyana Akhutina
  2. “350 exercises for developing logic and attention” Olga Uzorova, Elena Nefedova
  3. “Development of attention and memory with a neuropsychologist” Alexander Sobolev
  4. The Big Book of Attention Training
  5. “We train attention. Simple exercises and games” by A. M. Kruglova

For a detailed review of the literature, see the article “Books on developing attention.”

Thinking games

Games to develop thinking, what could be better? By playing, you develop your thinking. Before you know it, it will become easier for you to solve everyday problems, come to a good and quick answer, and find a rational solution. Interested? Then go ahead and train!

Game "Letters and numbers"

  1. Trains concentration
  2. Improves reaction speed
  3. Develops logic and intelligence

Immediately after the start, one of the four windows will show one letter and one number, for example, “U6”. And under the letter with the number a question will appear, for example, “Is the number odd?” or “Is the letter a consonant?” You need to answer questions as quickly as possible.

Play now

Color matrix game

The “color matrix” game will also be an excellent trainer for your thinking. A field of cells will open in front of you, each of which will be painted in one of two colors. And your goal will be to indicate which color is more on the field at the moment, 1st or 2nd. The game, of course, is for a while and therefore you have to try. As the game progresses, the field will expand, that is. the game becomes more difficult.

Play now

Online trainers for developing attention

There are many services on the Internet for developing brain functions, including attention. I'll introduce you to four of my favorites. All of them are designed according to the same principle - some of the simulators are available for free, but you will have to pay for extended access.


Vikium is the most popular training service for brain development today. There you will find exercises and games to develop attention, memory, thinking, and logic. Today there are more than forty of them. The exercises are quite simple, so you can easily fit them into your daily schedule, doing them, for example, during breaks between work.


On Bitreynik you can focus only on developing attention, or you can train all cognitive functions in a complex. In addition to the exercises themselves, there are many interesting features, for example, tournaments among participants, tests. The tasks are different: some are simple, and some are quite complex.


On the BrainApps service you will find 52 simulators, 18 of which are aimed at training concentration skills. Among them are Schulte tables, tasks for sorting, comparing and searching for shapes. Also on the site you can take various courses, including those on developing attention.


The creators of CogniFit claim that with the help of the service you can not only improve brain performance, develop logic, attention and memory, but also correct some disorders, such as ADHD, insomnia, multiple sclerosis and even the consequences of a stroke. There are programs for both children and adults, as well as a special section for health professionals.

Video training from the course: How to correctly complete Schulte Tables

Subscribe, and new useful exercises will always be at hand: VKontakteInstagramZenFacebookTelegramYoutube

Search for numbers and letters

Try also to practice searching for letters. These exercises are great for developing peripheral vision and speed reading. You can read more about this exercise in the separate article Search for letters and in the article with the simulator Search for numbers and numbers.

Reading by sighting

We have also developed another useful simulator that is suitable for both the development of lateral vision and the development of speed reading. When you click on the “Random phrase” button, the simulator displays a random sentence for 1-2 seconds. Try to look at the entire line:


Tag is a great way to exercise your brain throughout the day! This is a game for developing thinking . The game of tag is a square board divided into 16 equal square sections. You have 15 square dominoes at your disposal, numbered accordingly. The dominoes themselves are randomly mixed inside the box.

The essence of this game is to put the dominoes in order, namely to place the numbers one after another from top to bottom, from left to right, therefore, the empty square should be from the bottom to the right. The game will help you develop logical thinking and memory, because it is useful to remember various tricks and combinations. You will also be able to develop the ability to calculate moves ahead without making mistakes. Shall we play?

Development of thinking

Thinking is a tool that every person has who solves various problems in life. Thinking can be developed, its speed, depth, freedom, and meaningfulness can be changed. Also, thinking can become more specific and positive.

Speed ​​of thinking

Each person has his own speed of thinking, and therefore each person copes with a task differently. There are techniques for increasing your thinking speed:

  1. Do facial exercises, that is. normal warming up of the facial muscles.
  2. Stop being lethargic, sleepy and with an expressionless face. The more alive you and your facial expressions, the more alive your thinking!
  3. Increase the speed of internal reasoning and thoughts. This will help speed up your thinking.
  4. Try to massage your head regularly. Massage stimulates the blood vessels in the brain, which improves their functioning, and at this moment great thoughts may come to your mind.
  5. Speed ​​reading training. By perceiving text faster, you not only improve your reading speed, but also your thinking speed. Indeed, if you read faster and remember what you read, then your thoughts also speed up.

Speed ​​reading development course

Would you like to quickly read books, articles, newsletters, etc. that interest you? If your answer is “yes,” then our course will help you develop speed reading and synchronize both hemispheres of the brain.

With synchronized, joint work of both hemispheres, the brain begins to work many times faster, which opens up much more possibilities.

Sign up for a courseFree lesson

Meaningful thinking

The most common type of thinking is internal chatter - this is negative thinking, it “seems to fill” the spiritual emptiness, it is an illusion. This kind of thinking is also called internal dialogue - which is a problem, an obstacle to concentration on any task.

To keep your thinking clear, you need to take actions with full understanding of them. It is also advisable to write down thoughts, draw, tell stories to friends, acquaintances, and relatives.

Take notes and drawings

Get into the habit of expressing your thoughts in writing or drawings. Some people, when explaining or telling something, not only speak, but also draw, that is, they give you a picture and clarify the situation.

By learning to sketch your thoughts, you will also learn to visualize them better, and soon you will not need sketching. You will be able to master images perfectly and visually understand everything you need. This is a very powerful, bright and useful skill.

Tell me your thoughts

It will be useful to express your thoughts to others who will be really interested in it. By telling this to someone you can get feedback. Another plus is that the more you tell your thoughts, the more clear they will be for you (if there were any points that were not clear).


Discussing thoughts is quite an effective thing. The main thing is that the discussion does not turn into a quarrel. If you suddenly do not agree with your interlocutor’s thesis, then make up your own, but do not start a heated argument, but have a calm conversation.

Watch your speech

Thinking and speech are closely related to each other. Therefore, in order to contribute to the development of thinking, it is worth constructing your speech correctly. Advice: exclude the words “problems”, “horror”, “difficult”, include “interesting”, “goal”.

Why are speech and thinking closely related? Thinking is fleeting and difficult to remember, but speech is a different story. Speech is remembered and easier to follow.

Want to improve your thinking? Pay attention to your speech.

Pay attention to other people's speech

It’s easier to monitor someone else’s speech than your own. Because someone else’s speech is something new and all the shortcomings and failures in logic can be heard in it. Studying the mistakes of other people's speech will help you find mistakes in your own speech.

6. Improve your skills in working with texts

Analyzing a text can be compared to listening to someone else's speech. In both cases, you look for mistakes, roughness and take notes. Improved thinking depends on word processing skills.

Depth and freedom of thinking

People use their thinking in different ways and with varying degrees of freedom. It all depends on the position of perception. In the fourth, freedom of thought reaches its maximum:

  1. Template thinking , as a rule, is the view of an egoist: “Forgot - that means he doesn’t respect you,” “If you didn’t kiss him, that means he doesn’t love you,” and so on.
  2. My interests : Does this concern me and my plans? “I was cooking dinner, but he didn’t distract me - oh well. If I wanted to kiss, then that’s exactly what I wanted, which means I’ll kiss when he comes.”
  3. Interests of loved ones : “He was in such a hurry that he even forgot to kiss me. Love him:)"
  4. Objectivity : “The world is a stream of neutral events, nothing serious happened, it was just in a hurry.”
  5. Systemic view : He ran to work, takes care of us! My love!
  6. Angel's position:: My husband works for people, and this is very important. I'm proud of him!

Efficiency of thinking

To create more effective thinking, you need to master meaningful thinking , and then master the directions for increasing the efficiency of thinking:

  1. Move from your worries to specifics.
  2. Replace negative thinking with positive thinking.
  3. Find the bridge from right thinking to productive thinking.

Attention management

Attention management is primarily related to the development of thinking and higher functions of human psychology, the development of will and attention.

It happens that useless and unnecessary thoughts are spinning in your head that you want to discard. Don't bother trying to eradicate them, but try:

  1. Think positively and constructively
  2. Do something so that your thoughts are involved in this activity.
  3. Start remembering funny moments, positive stories and pleasant things that will create a good atmosphere.

Factors influencing attention

Age-related characteristics of attention are associated with the participation of various parts of the brain in thought processes. The effectiveness of the work performed depends largely on environmental factors.

Some objects are distracting. For example, bright colors, extraneous irritating sounds, emotional discomfort when communicating. At the same time, others help to concentrate. If it is, for example, silence or calm music, a discreet color scheme in the interior design.

However, being in a work environment for a long time also negatively affects concentration and ability to work. Therefore, it is worth taking small but regular breaks of 10-15 minutes. During this time, you can do some physical exercise. If possible, have time to drink tea or coffee.

Of course, fluctuations in the level of mental activity throughout the day are of great importance. As you know, scientists have proven that the highest efficiency is observed from 9.00 to 12.00 noon and from 15.00 to 19.00 in the evening. It is best to plan your working day taking into account these features.

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