Let’s face it – we have all had problems with concentration before whether at work, school or even at play. It sounds almost banal to say that better concentration and focus helps make life more stress-free but it is true. When you’re more focused, you get more done in a shorter amount of time; you work more productively and efficiently. The good news is that you do not have to be an expert or a personal development coach to improve your concentration; in fact there are plenty of simple, free and readily available ‘tools’ you can use to raise your concentration levels.
The next time you find yourself losing focus during work or during any tasks that you are doing, you can try doing any of these 5 things:
We all need to breathe. And we do it so unconsciously that most of us do not actually pay attention to the breath. Taking a breather is a simple way to restart your concentration. Take a break for three minutes and just close your eyes and breathe deeply. In-out, in-out. Just 3 minutes – surely you can afford that?
Slowly notice your body being slightly more relaxed and the tension ease away. This will effectively help you get your focus back.
I love this quote from mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn that goes something to the effect that “pay attention and be aware of your breath like your life depended on it” (because it really does!)
Get rid of all the distractions around you as much as you can. All the noise, eyesores and other things that may distract you from what you are doing should be removed. This also includes mobile devices such as tablets, mobile phones and other digital devices that cause distraction.
One practical tip: when you need to focus, keep your phone tucked away in the other room or in a closed drawer. Psychologically, it helps keep your distractions literally out of sight.
Take one step at a time.
Everything takes time so don’t rush. Especially when we are talking about building a skill such as cultivating concentration. Avoid multitasking and stick to one, at most two, task at the same time. Multiple studies have some multi-tasking has a deleterious effect on the quality of our work. Why do we want to risk the quality of what we produce?
We don’t need more distractions in our lives (we are distracted as it is), we need more focus.
Very few people can work in a messy and unorganized environment and decluttering certainly helps. Don’t get scared off by ‘decluttering’ and think that it involves lots of work – that is a myth! It can be as simple as rearranging your books to make it neater or just doing some basic cleaning over the table. This way, you are not only clearing (and clearing) your office space but also your mind.
Check your environment.
Finally, on a more practical level, take a step back and check your surroundings. Do you have enough space to work on your task? Do you have ample lighting and ventilation? Is the room too hot or too cold? If you feel like your environment is distracting you from your work, then adjust according to your preference. Make sure you have enough lighting, ventilation and space for you to finish your work. An ideal condition naturally breeds better concentration and productivity.
Whenever you’re done with a task or reached a goal, do not forget to treat yourself to a small reward. It can be something as simple as having an ice-cream or giving yourself an extra 2 hours sleep over the weekends. When you do this consistently, you’re reinforcing the feedback loop and strengthening (both consciously and unconsciously) your concentration – productivity link.
This is a guest post by Dylan from More Motivation. For articles on motivation, inspiration and practical advice on concentration, personal development and financial success head over to http://www.moremotivation.com