Does it often happen to you that you sit down to accomplish a task but you find it hard to concentrate? Or your brain simply struggles to shift focus from one task to another? Well, it certainly happens to a lot of people and to be fair, I face it too. I set out a specific time to do a task but get distracted by other things because I sometimes hate the idea of having to concentrate on a single thing for the next few hours.
Human brain is like any other functioning muscle in the body and it’s a job to make it focus on a single thing when a hundred other thoughts keep it distracted throughout the day. Being able to focus and concentrate for more than a few minutes takes a lot of effort and can’t be done in a single day. Thankfully, there are a few things each one of us can do to improve focus and concentration to accomplish our day-to-day goals:
1. Have a sitting corner- Find your own sitting corner where you can concentrate the best. All my life, I’ve stayed in hostels and Paying Guest facilities and I used to be the person who could sit anywhere to study. There was no particular sitting corner that would appeal the most to me or would help me concentrate better. But ever since I started writing, I discovered my happy place in a tiny corner of my house and I realized that there’s no other place I’d rather be. Your sitting corner is one comfortable space that helps you focus better.
2. Take rest at small intervals- I’m totally guilty to admit that a thing as stupid as staring at my finger nails looks interesting to me when I get bored of the job I’m doing. That’s exactly when I know that my brain needs some rest before I sit again to continue with my work. Taking rest is extremely important to regain the power to concentrate again. Our brain is a living machine and it needs to be rested to be able to function to its full strength.
3. Meditation- Meditation exercises have been popular since the very inception of the world and there’s no doubt that meditating regularly and correctly helps improve focus and concentration. Being able to meditate on a daily basis obviously requires motivation but the results are totally worth it. No matter how busy you are, there’s no harm in carving out a few minutes to help yourself develop as an individual.
4. Plan your schedule- Having a schedule is important if you find it hard to shift your focus from one task to another. Your schedule dictates how your day should ideally be like and guides you through it. The schedule so designed should make way for all the things that form a part of your life – your job, your hobbies, hanging out with friends, a short nap, meditation or anything that helps you focus better. Your schedule would constantly remind you of what all you are supposed to do during the course of the day and for how much time.
5. Avoid multi-tasking and unwanted disturbance- Human brain works efficiently when it simply has to focus on one thing. Trust me when I say that I end up messing the things when I try completing my work with a cricket match being telecasted live in front of me (Yes, I’m a cricket addict and I can’t imagine my life without it). Music and loud noises messes with your ability to concentrate leaving you with no job accomplished. Divide your time appropriately and avoid any disturbance when something important requires all your focus.
6. Develop a healthy lifestyle- Your mind reflects the state of your body. A healthy lifestyle goes a long way in improving your focus and concentration. The healthier you are, the happier you will be. And the happier you are, the better you can focus on things in hand. So eat healthy, go for a walk to rest your mind every now and then and get sufficient sleep before taking on the day.
7. Have time for your hobbies- Always have time for your hobbies to recharge yourself. Some people tend to give up their hobbies when they are overworked which after a while, leaves them losing interest in their work. Hobbies freshen you up like nothing else can and they should be the first thing to look at when you need a break from work or studies. Be it dancing, singing, playing tennis or reading, never forget to make time for your hobbies to be able to focus better on other aspects of life.
8. Work when your brain works the best- Over the years, I have realized that my mind focuses the best in the early morning hours and if I miss out on that time to complete the most important tasks, I would end up wasting the day. While in college, I have lived with people who would make use of the late night hours to study or work to avoid the daylight distraction. Every mind works differently at different times of the day. All you need to do is figure out the one when you brain works the best and use that time to complete the tasks that require utmost concentration.
9. Manage the stress to help your brain concentrate- You can’t really concentrate when there are other things stressing you out which is when stress management becomes important.
10. Unplug for a few minutes to avoid distraction- When you know that there are more interesting things going around on instagram and facebook, you are bound to feel distracted from your work. Always make it a point to sit away from your phone when your work needs 100% of your focus. Even better would be to switch it off or keep it out of your reach for a few minutes.
Do you make use of any other ways to help yourself focus better? If so, I would love to know them in the comments below or you can simply write me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear anything from you.