Do you find it difficult to concentrate on something for more than a couple of minutes? Does your mind wander continuously from one thing to another? If the answer is yes, then it’s high time that you did something to improve your concentration. As far as the human mind is concerned, one of its greatest powers is the ability to focus on one thing for a long period of time. However, most people struggle to concentrate and this makes accomplishing things longer and harder. Better focus and concentration helps increase your productivity and make your life much easier. With the help of some simple tips and tricks it is possible for anyone to develop the ability to focus and concentrate. Let’s have a look at some of the ways to improve concentration:
- Take Rest
According to studies, one of the most important factors affecting your concentration is rest. In order to concentrate on something, your mind has to stay calm first. It is quite difficult to achieve this if you don’t get proper rest. So make sure that you get adequate amount of sleep everyday. It would be even better if you can have a regular sleep time. That being said, it is also important to avoid oversleeping as it will disrupt your natural rhythm and tends to make you too lazy.
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- Prepare a Plan
One of the best ways to improve concentration is to have a plan for whatever activities you want to do. Without a plan, it is possible for you to get distracted easily in activities like texting, checking mails, browsing the web and spending time on social media. This result in the waste of a lot of time, the end result being that you fail to complete the particular task that you set out to do.
So to avoid wasting your time and to become more productive, make sure to have a clear plan that allows you to complete your work on time. Make sure to allocate some time for food, entertainment, and sleep as well. You can take a couple of minutes break in between, and check email, Whatsapp, Facebook etc during this time. Once the break time is over, make sure to focus only on your work and nothing else.
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- Manage Your Energy, Instead of Your Time
If you are working on a project that requires your full attention, make sure to schedule it for a time of the day when you have the energy required to fully focus on the task. If you feel fresh and highly energetic in the morning, that’s when you should be working. So plan all your creative tasks to be completed the morning and take care of all other activities afterwards. Of course, managing your time is also very important, but unless you have the energy to complete your work, time management is useless.
- Sit Still in a Chair
See if you can sit still in a comfortable chair for about 15 minutes. It may sound easy but it is not so the case. Avoid making any involuntary muscular movements and just focus your attention on sitting still. At first, try sitting in a relaxed position for about five minutes and then gradually increase the time to ten minutes and then to fifteen minutes. With constant practice it will become easier for you to sit still for fifteen minutes without moving your muscles. Be sure to sit still in a relaxed way rather than straining yourself to keep still.
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Another very effective way to improve your concentration is to practice the art of meditation. According to several studies, meditation can be a good tool to train your brain to improve various skills, especially concentration and memory. In fact, it is the most powerful of all techniques to boost concentration. Practicing a few simple meditation techniques for a few minutes every day not only helps improve concentration but can also be very relaxing to your mind and body.
- Eat a Healthy, Controlled and Balanced Diet
Eating plays a major role in the way that we function everyday. While the intake of light and healthy meals can help you optimize your ability to concentrate, excessive eating can lead to digestive problems, which in turn and can make you feel sleepy and uncomfortable. Your body and mind requires proper nutrition in order to produce energy and to function properly. Skipping meals and overeating makes it much harder for you to concentrate. If you are finding it difficult to concentrate, it’s quite possible that your brain isn’t getting the nutrition it requires. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and numerous other nutrients. Fish, grass-fed meat, nuts, avocados etc are some of the other brain healthy foods. Also, try to avoid all kinds of artificial and processed foods.
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- Visual Stimulation
According to researchers at the University of Melbourne, simply looking at nature such as a beautiful garden or a meadow for 40 seconds or so, can result in a tremendous boost in concentration power. It doesn’t have to be real nature, even looking at a picture or a visual screen is enough. During the study, the researchers found that participants, who looked at nature-based images while doing tedious task, did considerably better than those who didn’t.
- Regular Exercise
It has been found that physical activity helps to sharpen focus possibly because it has the ability to trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that are associated with learning and memory. According to a report from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, aerobic exercise may help improve immediate and long-term functioning in areas of the brain that are related to focus and concentration. Getting regular exercise, staying physically fit, maintaining healthy weight and getting adequate sleep should all be given utmost importance when it comes to improving the functioning of your brain.
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- Stop Multitasking
Multitasking, obviously is one of the factors that can negatively affect your focus and concentration. It doesn’t mean that you are doing several things at the same time, rather your brain is switching to and fro between multiple tasks. As a result, you fail to do any of these tasks in the most efficient and perfect manner. So if you really want to improve your concentration, you will have to start convincing your brain to complete one task before moving onto the next one.
- Try the “Five More” Rule
The “five more” rule is quite simple, yet very effective in improving concentration. If you are in the middle of something and feel like giving up, just do five more of what you were doing. For example, if you were reading, read five more pages. If you were doing math problems, do five more of them and if you were working, work five more minutes. By pushing past the point of frustration, it is possible for you to build mental stamina. Continuing to concentrate even when your brain is tired is the secret to increasing your attention span and enhancing mental endurance.
- Choose Your Workstation Carefully
Make it a point to do your work at a desk and not your bed. This is because your desk is where you concentrate and work while your bed is where you sleep. These associations are made by your mind subconsciously and so when you try to work on your bed, you send a sleep signal to your mind. This affects your productivity because your brain gets confused between whether to concentrate or to sleep. By choosing your workstation carefully, you can make your brain to concentrate, so that you can get your work done.
- Try to Ignore Distractions
It is quite natural that several distractions will come up when you are about to do some important task. Whatever the distractions may be, ignore them and continue to concentrate on the job at hand. Using earplugs can help to eliminate those distracting noises coming from people, nature, vehicles and appliances. Ignoring distractions is a great way to improve concentration as well as to get your job done on time.
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- Concentrate With the Help of a Clock
Sit in a chair and place a clock on the table. Keep your eyes on the second hand of the clock as it goes around. Continue this for about five minutes, keeping your focus on the second hand and nothing else. This is a good exercise when you don’t have much time to spare and you are able to keep away every other thought in your mind. This exercise is not that easy as it may seem because you can get bored very easily and quickly as you keep staring at the revolving second hand.
Concentration demands a great amount of time and effort. But practice makes perfect. The more you practice, the better your concentration will be. Concentration and memory are closely related. Most memory related issues stem from a failure to focus on what you are doing. As people age, it becomes harder for them to pay attention. With lifestyle changes and the simple to do tricks mentioned here, it is possible to improve concentration and focus. If you’ve tried everything but still find it difficult to concentrate, it may be due to an underlying health condition. In such cases, it would be a good idea to consult a physician.Image Credits: Flickr - RelaxingMusic