A high level of concentration is the key to success in practically everything you'll ever do in life. Whether you're participating in a major sporting event, studying for an upcoming test, or managing a big project at work, getting distracted and losing your focus can lead to disastrous situations. If you're looking for the best ways to improve your concentration, then try out these five tips:
1. Get Rid of Distractions
This should seem like a no-brainer, but many people are guilty of creating multiple distractions around them without even knowing it. Your senses are powerful tools for absorbing the world around you, but that isn't always a good thing, especially during times that call for absolute focus. Whenever you feel distracted and unable to fully concentrate on your primary objective or task, stop for a second and examine your surroundings. Here are some common distractions that people aren't even aware of:
- Multi-tasking: Yes, multi-tasking counts as a distraction. While some people are fully capable of accomplishing multiple tasks at once, it's best to concentrate on one thing when you're highest level of focus is required. A perfect example would be not fiddling around with your cell phone while driving.
- Time: Constantly looking at the clock wastes precious seconds. Even worse, it can add pressure to a situation where you'd be better off just focusing on the task at hand. Cut out the distraction of time by turning off or hiding your clock and/or watch.
- Noise: While it may be difficult to shutout the noise of your surroundings, don't create any extra.
- Fun: Leaving the TV on, playing video games on the computer, browsing the web - these are all distractions you need to eliminate if you want to be able to concentrate on your work.
- Socializing: While socializing with your friends and peers is important, it can also be a deterrent to better concentration. Turn off your cell phone, don't just put it on silent, or at least hide it and keep it out of sight. Close the door to your bedroom or office to keep anyone from walking by and distracting you.
2. Set a Schedule and Stick to It!
Think of the most common schedules most people share: eating meals and sleeping. What happens when something disrupts either of these schedules? You're probably not the most pleasant person to be around, and your concentration levels are probably low due to hunger and a lack of sleep. Create a set schedule for times during the day that require the highest levels of concentration. You know yourself best. If you are a morning person, set your "busy" time to be during the morning, or schedule study sessions at night if you feel more productive during that time. Stick to your schedule at all costs, and don't let anything or anyone disrupt you unless it is an emergency. Make this schedule for concentration just as important as your schedule for taking meals and sleeping, and watch your productivity and focus increase.
3. Eat Healthier
Your diet and eating habits can have an effect on your brain power and concentration. There is a reason why the phrases "brain food" and "food coma" exist. Here is a list of brain boosting foods you might want to try adding to your diet:
- Green vegetables like spinach or broccoli
- Fish rich in omega 3 like salmon or tuna
- Whole grains
- Green tea
- Coffee (in moderation; hold the sugar and cream)
Think of ways to eat healthier and avoid big, greasy meals around the times that require your peak level of concentration. The last thing you want is to feel drowsy when you want to be alert and focused.
4. Know When to Take a Break
No matter how pressed they are for time, people need to stop and take a break to increase their level of concentration. Trying to stay focused on one thing for a long period of time can cause your mind to become stagnant. If you've been sitting at your desk, working for several hours straight, try getting up for a quick stretch or walk around the building. Not only are these excellent methods of staying fit after sitting at your cubicle all day, it is also a great way to relieve stress and can improve your concentration.
5. Try Some Concentration Exercises
If you're looking for things you can do in your spare time to help boost your concentration levels for when the need arises, here are some concentration exercises you can try:
- Meditation: Take some time out of your day to focus on something specific. It can be anything from an experience you've had or an object you'd like to focus on like a new car. Paint the image in your mind and focus on only that object for as long as you can. Time how long it takes before you become uninterested or distracted. Repeat this mediation every day, and try to increase your duration of concentration on the image.
- Memory: Exercise your brain power by improving your memory. Make a game out of remembering people's names at an event like a party or business convention. Take a few minutes to examine a picture or photo, then try describing it in detail without looking at it.
- Concentration games: Try counting down from 100 to one, or saying the alphabet backwards. Invest in puzzles, mathematical games, trivia games, playing an instrument and even playing video games to increase your concentration levels.
These are just a few easy ways to increase your concentration. Another helpful tip would be to avoid anything that can affect your mind like alcohol or medications. Often times, the key to a high level of concentration is a healthy lifestyle since the brain and the body are connected to one another. Exercise regularly, eat right, lower stress levels through relaxation and make sure you get plenty of sleep to help you improve your concentration throughout the day.