Better Concentration and Focus

Do you ever wish you had better concentration and focus whenever you need it? Good news! Concentration and focus are skills, and that means with practice you will improve.

Some tips for better concentration, and a more enjoyable and productive day:

  • One thing at a time

Do only your chosen activity, no multitasking. According to an article in The New York Times, research indicates multitasking can actually can slow you down and increase the chance of mistakes. Try setting a timer for whatever amount of time you like, even in fifteen minutes you can accomplish a lot. Keep a positive attitude during this time. Remember, ultimately you are the one who gets to choose what you do.

  • Positive intention

This is a really important tip. Before you begin, allow yourself to experience how good you’ll feel when you’ve made progress on, or completed your chosen activity. Feel it just like it’s already done and it all went so smoothly! 🙂 This isn’t so much a thinking process as it is a feeling process. It isn’t necessary, or recommended, to visualize each step of your work. Jump to the end, to the part where you’re feeling so pleased by how smoothly everything went, and how perfectly it all unfolded. By setting your intention before you begin, you’ll have greater enjoyment both during, and upon the completion of your work. You get in the flow, and it is an easier task. Test it for yourself. It really works.

  • Tune out distractions

Some days it feels so easy to tune out distractions, and some days it can be quite a challenge. For those of you sharing space with others, I have a great strategy for you! Are you familiar with the term, pink noise? It’s similar to white noise (fans produce a good approximation of white noise). Pink noise conforms more to sound found in nature. Both white and pink noise help to mask unwanted sounds. There’s a wonderful little application (for Windows) called Serene Sound. It generates the sounds of waves, rain, stream, waterfall, pink noise and several others. You can use one of the sounds, or mix them to suit your own taste. Also, it’s free! (Of course, donations are appreciated.) Put on your headphones, turn on the sound generator, and see how much this helps your focus and concentration. With the level I keep it at, I can still hear what’s going on around me, but I find it so much easier to focus, and to tune out unwanted sound. I swear it reduces my mental chatter as well.  (I have no association with Serene Sound, so please, read about it at the website before you download the program.)

  • Take a break

Go do something completely different for a bit. Have you been at the computer for a while? Go do something that lets you move! Take a walk, put on some music and dance, do a little gardening, play with a pet – you get the picture. Have you been doing physical work? Make a nice cup of tea and sit outside, or in your favorite chair. If you’re in an office environment, you can take a walk or stretch. Be creative.

  • Take care of the basics

Drink plenty of water. Many people don’t recognize thirst signals. Being dehydrated affects your concentration and energy levels in a big way. Eat small, healthy snacks throughout the day. Get some exercise you enjoy.

  • Variety is important

Your brain needs stimulation and variety to be its most effective. If you do one task for too long a period, your attention and interest will be more likely to waver. Take breaks occasionally and switch types of tasks if possible.

  • Attitude is everything

Try smiling a Mona Lisa-type smile while you work, whenever you think of doing it. Put up a note that you’ll see often, to help you remember.  Smiling releases very positive energy and benefits your whole system, as well as those around you. Feel the difference between a smile and a frown. Frowning increases physical tension, which can cause muscle pain and headaches. Smiling frees your energy and releases tension, which promotes balanced energy, and better concentration and focus. Which one will you choose?

I’m sure there are other helpful ideas for improving focus and concentration. These will give you a great start. I’ll leave you with one last thought. It’s not really about focus and concentration, but about enjoying your life. Don’t wait until the end of anything to be happy and enjoy yourself. All these things you do are your life. Why not enjoy the process, every part? Who’s stopping you? Really, it’s only you.

Have a great day!

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