Improving Your Concentration
Staying focused these days seems harder than it used to be. Many of us struggle to maintain our concentration while being bombarded with constant distractions. Phones ringing, cell phones messages, and the little pings from new emails or instant messages are all enticing us away from our work by a simple click.
These distractions are entertaining and we all benefit from an occasional break in our work day but when you are concentrating on the project at hand, these diversions can destroy your ability to concentrate and work effectively. We have all seen the jokes and can sympathize with the coworker who wasn’t paying proper attention and hit ‘reply all’ to a private email. How many times have you sent an email and neglected to add the attachment? Or forgot to return an important call?
Losing your concentration when you shouldn’t can cause you a lot of grief, rushing to meet deadlines, missing the deadlines altogether or just simply losing your train of thought. The day can surely drag, but you will find that the opposite is also true. In fact, you can probably think of a number of times that when you stayed focused for a good portion of the day that time just flew by. We can easily get lost in reading a good book, playing video games and especially when you are in creative mindset. Background noises, even loud ones, don’t divert our attention away from what we are doing. Well that level of concentration is achievable in many aspects of your life.
Those that can concentrate and stay focused tend to score higher on test, get better grades in school and even get promoted faster. We may think they are just lucky but in truth, we can all learn to concentrate at higher levels. Here are 5 tried and true ways to help you improve your concentration.
1. Find The Purpose In What You Do. If you do not care about whatever it is you are doing, you will find it harder to stay focused on it. Find something about the project that can give you the motivation to do your best on it. Once you have that motivation, concentrating on getting it done right will be easier.
2. Have a Plan. Each task you undertake has a goal or finish line. Recognize what that goal is and navigate the route to get there and map out your plan. Prepare for all needed tools and resources that you may need along the way. Halfway through a project is the wrong time to find out that you are missing some needed information; this just kills your concentration.
3. Give Yourself a Break. Studies have shown that taking short breaks between periods of heavy concentration is more productive than forcing the work for hours. It’s easier to stay on task knowing that you have a break coming up in hour. Once you have your brain in gear the work gets done but our ability to concentrate is better served when the brain gets a break to recharge too. Don’t forget the benefits of a power nap.
4. Get Into Your Work Zone. Little things like shutting the door to your office or putting on the headphones are signals that tell you and those around you that you are busy concentrating and would appreciate not being disturbed. This holds true for the work too, though. If you are working on the computer, shut down the browsers you aren’t’ using close Facebook and your email. Don’t be tempted to jump a link and read the headlines. If you aren’t working on the computer turn it off. These distractions can cost you big time focus points.
5. Take Care Of You. You can’t work if your stomach is growling and eating too much makes you sleepy and lethargic. Being hungry or sleepy can devastate your ability to concentrate. Eat a healthy breakfast and lunch and be sure to include snacks. A healthy snack will keep your insides busy between meals so you can stay working and focused. Maintain a steady stream of work and slow down if you need to. If you are in a hurry, it is harder to stay focused and easier to make errors. More often than not, simply slowing down makes you more efficient and able to get more work done.