Perform in the storm

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Staying Focused in Times of Uncertainty

Mental power expert and trainer Michael Kortekaas has worked with a variety of professionals whose work is executed under conditions of high pressure. In this talk he shares his best tips for maintaining sharp focus on the task at hand in the face of uncertainty, constant distractions and pressures, similar to the conditions we are currently experiencing.

Michael Kortekaas on staying focused in times of Uncertainty

Key insights

  • Maintaining full-on focus requires a well-defined task: Clear awareness of the distractions (external and internal); and a mindful return to the task on hand.

  • Practice makes perfect: Training one’s self to recognize the distractions and mindfully re-direct attention to the task at hand is a learned skill. The more the process is repeated, the better trained the neuronal paths of focus become.

  • Full focus calls for full recovery: Relaxing and recharging your mental battery is as important as focusing on the task. Moments of recovery are imperative for our brain to work effectively.

  • On average, the focus ‘muscle’ works best in 45-minute blocks: Prioritize your most important tasks for the morning (higher focus time). Three morning sessions of 45-minute full-on focus each, interspersed with recovery moments, are likely to yield the best results.

  • Being fit and well helps mental concentration: Mind your sleep, nutrition and relaxation habits. They will support your ability to focus on the tasks at hand.

Dive deeper

Can you do what Martin can?

To help you keep your energy levels high and stay positive throughout your day it is essential to take breaks regularly. To help you get more out of your downtime, Martin Pet, a seasoned sport and performance psychologist and physiologist, will challenge you to perform a wide range of exercises that will do just that.

Martin Pet shows you how even picking up a sheet of paper can be an exercise in focus, strength and balance
Find out how he does it and why
Did you ever wonder how to improve your energy, mood and focus by picking up a piece of paper from the ground with your mouth? Probably not, and that is perfectly normal. Interestingly, it is possible with the creativity Martin shows in today’s recovery exercise. Fold a piece of paper, let is stand straight up, bend through a single knee (if you can) and there you go. Again, an exercise like this needs your focus, is fun and gives energy, but you may take another important lesson from this; be creative in getting the recovery you need throughout the day. Vary a lot and benefit in multiple ways from it. The numbers of options are really endless.

About the crew member

Michael Kortekaas • Expert mental power
Michael Kortekaas

During his career with Police and the Department of Defense, Michael learned the value of mental power better than anyone else. Since 2011 he has been involved with the Police Academy and is working with various sport psychologists to structurally anchor mental power and resilience in the lives of the professionals he coaches.

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