Distraction, procrastination and the inability to concentrate are all a number of problems we face when trying to complete large amounts of work that we sometimes don’t have the motivation to do.
We all face the same issues, some more than others, however there are a number actions you can do to improve your concentration. Much like the body, the mind also needs to be trained to adapt to concentration.
Here are some tips and techniques to improve your concentration.
1. Write a list of distracting thoughts that pop into your head – a ‘distraction to do list’
Do you have the problem of trying to work or study but getting overwhelmed and being too busy making a list in your head of all the other things you need to do?
When something pops into your head while you’re trying to concentrate, simply write it down on a piece of paper next to you and leave it for later to think about. Once you’re session is over, then go and review what you have written.
This is the best approach to dealing with distractions of the mind – write it down and leave it for later, and stay on task.
Spend 10 minutes meditating each day to clear your mind and organise your thoughts. If you have a smart phone, there are a number of apps that you can download that offer guided meditation sessions. This is a great way to clear your mind and get focused for the day ahead, or even a good tactic to complete on your lunch break if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
3. Drink water and move around
Always keep a full bottle of water within reach of your work station, the closer it is to you, the more likely you will drink it. Give yourself a break every 20 minutes and get up and move around if possible. Changing your position resets your mind and gives you a break, whilst keeping you motivated because you don’t feel glued to the computer/text book.
4. Ensure there is enough natural light and ventilation in your workspace
The worst thing you can do is work in a dark space with limited ventilation. This will lead you to constantly yawning, feeling lethargic and unmotivated. When choosing a workspace aim for the desk to be facing a window with ample light and fresh air. Having a view of trees and nature also increase concentration and motivation, which can also be substituted by images and photos of nature in an office workspace that is not near to nature.
5. Set specific times to respond to emails, answer calls and read text messages.
Whether it be every hour on-the-hour, or twice daily in the morning and in the evening, if you’re forever receiving emails, it is a good idea to make an allotted timeslot so that you are not checking and responding to emails/calls every minute (unless otherwise this is the purpose of your job). Each time you read and respond to an email you are breaking your thought pattern, which in result cuts your productivity. This is a great way to manage your time and increase productivity, because more often than not, many emails are not as important as the tasks you are required to do.
6. Write a to-do-list and prioritize them
Take 10 minutes each day to organise your schedule and prioritize your responsibilities. This will ease your mind knowing what tasks you have to tackle first and enable you to have a clear understanding of how many tasks are required to be completed in your day ahead.
7. Exercise your mind and body
Take 30 minutes a day to do some physical exercise. Whether it’s in your lunch break or early in the morning, this helps clear your mind and improve your overall mental health and positivity. Also try to complete mind exercises such as Sudoku and puzzles to improve your concentration span.
8. Background music
Some people work better with music in the background as it helps to motivate and keep them interested. If you don’t like too much silence but get distracted by lyrics, there are also ‘concentration’ playlists that you can find on apps like Spotify which play soft music that doesn’t distract you.
Through making these small changes you can build your concentration and work rate to increase productivity.
What are your secrets to staying on task? Comment or respond to us on on Twitter @bizmatrix
Mind Tools, 2014. “Improve your concentration”. Read more: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_78.htm
The Art of Manliness, 2014. “11 Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Attention”.
Read more: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/01/30/your-concentration-training-program-11-exercises-that-will-strengthen-your-attention/