Here are 8 Tips to Help Improve Your Focus and Concentration So You Can Start Accomplishing More Throughout the Day!
Many of our daily activities require a great deal of concentration. However, the difficulties of resisting distractions and maintaining a good level of focus for long periods of time are some of the common problems most people face.
Total concentration is absolutely essential to obtaining the best results in any facet of life. The key to success in any endeavour you undertake is to concentrate on one thing at a time while putting all of your effort in that activity; and for that to happen, you must get rid of all possible distractions around you.
Recent neuro-scientific studies have shown empirically that about 80% of students and 25% of adults have a chronic tendency not to complete tasks. This fact is hardly surprising considering the age we live in now; what with all the distractions and interruptions of the internet, social media and smart phones.
A lack of concentration is simply a bad habit that needs to be dropped while a new habit of intentionally directing one’s full attention towards a task until the desired end result is achieved need to be formed. This will require a lot of effort and willpower on your part because optimizing one’s mental focus requires some mental training. While this might seem like an uphill task at first, it is definitely attainable.
There are some strategies and tricks that can be applied to achieve better focus and concentrate more easily. So, if you have a hard time staying focused, the following tips will come in handy;
1) Interruptions and Distractions
Two of the greatest enemies of concentration are interruptions and distractions. It is really a paradoxical situation because these twin problems are avoidable. Often, the disruption may appear to be more interesting than the task at hand, and hence, we see it as a good justification for postponing a difficult task.
One of the factors that can make you lose focus very easily is the sound of your email notifications from your mailbox whenever you receive a message. These can divert all your attention.
Although many jobs require the use of email, turn off email notifications and check your email from time to time. Try not to be always logged in to your social media accounts unless it is absolutely necessary as they can lead to distractions. Try to strike a balance between leisure time and work. If you don’t need the internet for the task at hand, then log off.
A simple rule is this: turn off your phone, forget internet and get to work.
2) Plan Accordingly
Segment your tasks into shorter periods. Plan out your day in blocks of time. You can try to work in time blocks of 30 minutes or an hour, depending on what works best for you. Also, you could experiment with time blocks of 40 minutes comprising of two 20 minute blocks each for performing various tasks.
You will discover that within 20 – 30 minutes of intense concentration, you will be much more productive than working for four hours with divided attention.
If you still feel overwhelmed with stress or anxiety and unable to get much done within short time blocks, chances are that you are taking on too much at the same time. Set realistic goals and try to meet your target one step at a time.
3) Take short breaks
When we perform jobs that require much mental and physical effort, fatigue sets in. Once we get tired, our performance starts to decline. To avoid this, take short breaks every so often.
You can work for 45 minutes and then rest for 10 minutes or work for 90 minutes and then have a 20 minute rest. Set the most suitable rest duration for yourself as you see fit while being mindful not to exceed a 20 minute rest duration so as not lose concentration. Ideally, your work duration should be at least 4 times greater than your set rest duration.
4) Play games
Games that force you to concentrate like Chess, Monopoly, Chinese checkers or any game that makes you think of a strategy. Jigsaw puzzles also requires a lot of concentration to find the exact location for each piece of the puzzle. There are also games like Sudoku which force you to think and concentrate. Any one of these games will boost your ability to focus.
Playing them for 15 to 20 minutes every day will gradually begin to train your brain to concentrate just like a muscle can be trained to become stronger. In this case, you are forcing your brain to concentrate on that game at that very moment. Gradually, your level of concentration will improve, not only on the games but also in your daily activities.
5) Get organized.
Sometimes we have so much to do that we do not know where to start. A good strategy to prevent distracting thoughts is to organize daily activities and keep a schedule. Define what you expect to accomplish by doing what you plan to do and set appropriate goals.
Divide each goal into smaller and easier goals. If you deem it necessary, divide those small goals into even smaller goals still. Choose how, when and where to tackle each one in order. It will help you focus on every task that you need to perform.
6) Get enough sleep.
The benefits of sleep are endless. Trying to concentrate while being sleep-deprived is like trying to concentrate while drunk. Most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. Try going to sleep a little earlier than usual to get as much sleep as possible.
7) Use a timer.
Set a timer to go off at certain times so that you can better organize your time to accomplish each task. This allows you to focus your attention on what you should be doing at that point in time and avoid distractions.
8) Practice meditation.
We hear about meditation all the time but we don’t realize the extent of its efficacy. It is the best way to learn to concentrate and free our minds of distractions. A simple meditation exercise can be done in as little as 15 minutes while sitting in a chair, with your eyes closed. If you practice this every day, you will gradually achieve better concentration levels.
By following these techniques, you can begin to train your brain to not only focus more on the tasks you are engaged in, but also to accomplish more throughout the day.