Eleven ways to strengthen concentration


Why do we sometimes have such trouble concentrating? The ability to focus is a skill–it is not innate. Here are 11 ways to strengthen your concentration, even under difficult circumstances:

   1. Connect emotionally to the task. Tightrope walkers and lion tamers have no trouble concentrating because their lives are at stake. But it’s easy for your mind to wander when you lack passion for the task at hand. Of course, life’s realities often require you to focus on tasks you don’t like. In those cases, ask yourself, “What aspect of this task do I care about most deeply?” Identifying that element creates a positive emotional connection.

   2. Chart your energy level throughout the day. Most of us have certain times of day when we are more clearheaded and energetic. Use those times for tasks that require the most concentration.

   3. Remove items that regularly break your focus. Things such as family photos, magazines, and any material not relevant to your task (and even the icon on your computer that alerts you to email) can pull you out of the zone. And pets or family members sometimes need to be out of the room for a little while, too.

   4. Train yourself not to give in to distractions. When someone enters the room or slams a door, consciously keep your concentration on what is in front of you. Similarly, when someone talks to you, don’t let your mind wander. Listen as if you were required to repeat what the speaker said verbatim.

   5. Decide how long you intend to work and what you plan to accomplish. Set strict time limits to complete subtasks. Ask your spouse or a co-worker to monitor your progress and apply gentle pressure when necessary. You can also use a timer application to keep track.

   6. Remember the big picture. But focus on the task at hand. When you keep mulling over the large, long-term consequences of your actions, your mind shuts down to keep you from becoming overwhelmed. Understanding the big picture provides context and helps you set priorities. After that, though, lock in on what you’re doing.

   7. Use caffeine and sugar sparingly. True, they stimulate concentration, but their effects last only 30 to 60 minutes. Instead, try five minutes of light exercise, which perks you up with no side effects. The more caffeine or sugar you consume, the more you need to eat or drink the next time to achieve the desired effects.

   8. Meditate. It strengthens your ability to control your thoughts. Try focusing solely on your breath going in and out. Start with five minutes per day. Build up to 20 minutes. When your mind wanders, observe the distracting thought rather than trying to force it out of your mind. After a few minutes, refocus your attention on your breath.

   9. Take breaks. You should be able to concentrate on one task for about 40 minutes. Then take a five-to-ten-minute break. Periodically shift your sitting position at your desk. This helps keep you alert by promoting circulation and sending more oxygen to your brain.

  10. Ask yourself where the block is. If you are chronically unable to concentrate on a specific task, perhaps something about what you have taken on is not right for you. In that case, consider whether you are being fair to yourself by forcing yourself to continue with it. If the task is appropriate, or you are the one who needs to do it, look for ways to eliminate, reduce, or circumvent the block (or delegate aspects of it to someone else).

  11. Reward yourself for completing particularly difficult tasks. Seriously. You done good.



"Only Action gets you closer to your dreams - do something today that your future self will thank you for."



© 2019 All Rights Reserved