In a world full of overflowing distractions, concentration becomes extremely precious. Our attention is a limited resource, and to optimize it, we need to concentrate on the right things. Yet it’s so easy for us to lose focus while doing important work. Worry not; we’ve curated eight simple tips to help you improve your concentration.
1. Train your brain
Concentrating is laborious for the brain, and like other parts of your body, you can train your brain to be stronger. Give it the chance to work out by doing cognitive exercises. They can be found in brain training games designed to improve your cognitive skills like memorizing and paying attention. Research also shows people who regularly engage in brain training activities are more likely to concentrate better.
To enhance your concentration, you can try certain types of games, such as chess, Sudoku, puzzles, and many others. If you find them boring, you could also opt for more engaging video games. Playing video games could train your brain to focus longer while ignoring distractions. Have fun while you train your brain—it’s a win-win!
2. Keep distractions away
We live in a world where distractions come from every direction. Even though technology helps us to work and study, ironically it becomes the main source of distraction. That is why a lot of people struggle to concentrate on what they’re doing at the moment. While it might be impossible to eliminate every distracting thing, there are still ways to avoid them.
Try turning off your phone notifications if they catch too much of your attention. If you still can’t hold yourself from checking your social media—even when there’s no notification at all—turn on the focus mode. This mode will disable distracting apps and leave you no choice but to work. Some phones don’t have this feature, but there are apps you can download that function the same way.
3. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is the art of being present. When we’re in a mindful state, we are calm and fully aware of ourselves. We don’t let anything distract our thoughts from the present. While it might take some time and effort but practicing mindfulness can help us improve our concentration.
Meditation is a way you can try to practice mindfulness. In essence, you try to focus on your breath and not allow anything else to distract you. That way, you will be able to concentrate every time your mind gets interrupted. There are ways to meditate, such as yoga or praying, but it can also be as simple as sitting and breathing mindfully.
4. Take small, regular breaks
Breaks are important as they keep your mind refreshed. Yet it’s unproductive to take them every time you feel like it. To solve this, the key is to know the right time, frequency, and duration for you to take breaks.
You can begin by allocating a few small breaks to your daily schedule. That way, your brain will learn when to take a rest and when to start focusing on work. 5-minute is enough time for each break that you can fill with short, refreshing activities. Start the timer on your phone and make some coffee, do some stretching, or anything else you wish. Then get back to work again with full concentration.
5. Avoid multitasking
The desire to be more productive can lead to multitasking. Sure, it might help you feel that way, but the real question is, are you actually productive? Not so much, since multitasking only lowers your focus, concentration, and work quality. It’s better for you to stop the urge to finish everything all at once.
Practice avoiding multitasking by realizing that everything takes time. When you accept this fact, you will feel less tempted to get everything done at the same time. Instead, deal with whatever task you have before you and commit yourself to finishing it before starting anything else. It also helps to have a schedule with dedicated time for each work.
6. Listen to music
If working in absolute silence is not your thing, try incorporating some music into your working ambiance. Music has been proven to have therapeutic effects on our brains as it helps condition the brain to focus better. However, it’s important to pay attention to what kind of music we play in the background. Choosing the wrong sound can adversely affect our concentration.
As a rule of thumb, try to avoid music with lyrics and human voices. They tend to be unconsciously distracting to our brains. Instead, you can blast some classical music or natural sounds from your speaker while you work. You can easily find these sounds on your favorite music streaming platform, or you can download apps specifically designed to provide calming background noises.
7. Move your body
When trying to have better focus, your brain is not the only organ that deserves your attention. Working out your whole body can also give you the benefit of improved concentration. Adding to that, regular exercise is beneficial for your physical health and your cognitive aspect as well.
While we are aware of its benefits, starting the habit of exercising might not be that easy. One important thing to remember is that a little amount of exercise is better than nothing. So, do what you can, even if it feels small: walk around your neighborhood or try short workout videos from YouTube. Once you’re used to exercising, it will be easier to do more.
8. Create a healthier lifestyle
A healthy body is our main support to do all our responsibilities. That’s why we need to create and implement a healthy lifestyle. To do so, you need to pay attention to two main aspects: food and sleep.
Food can make a huge impact on your health. The right food will make you full and enhance your body to maximize its functions. Choose food with nutrients like healthy fats and vitamins that help your brain run smoothly. You can also take supplements to enhance your ability to focus. Coffee can be a quick concentration boost, too—just remember not to drink it too much.
Besides food intake, sleep is also extremely important for your health. Depriving yourself of sleep won’t do you any good, especially for your concentration. Try to get enough sleep no matter how tight your schedule is. Waking up with a refreshed mind and body will allow you to focus on your work as well.
Concentrating might be difficult for some people. It won’t hurt to try these tips we’ve covered in this article if you feel that way. Gradually improving your focus might not happen overnight, but as long as you put in your best effort, it’s not impossible. Good luck!