Six Ways to Improve Concentration
Do you often find yourself staring into space, constantly checking your emails or messenger service, or feel burdened by your workload? If so, you may need to find ways to improve your concentration.
Mind wandering is time consuming, frustrating and unproductive but it can be controlled.
Deal with problems before you enter work
We often let our mind wander or are easily distracted because we are worried or have negative thoughts entering our head. If you feel yourself thinking about an up and coming deadline, family dinner or anything else that has been bothering you, jot them down before you start your working day. If there are things that require immediate attention then tackle them first so you do not have the lingering worry of not completing it on time. The same goes for our life outside work. At the end of the day, jot down everything that you need to do the following morning so you can switch off and enjoy your home life.
Write a to do list and complete it
When we have a heavy workload, we often switch between tasks before they are completed creating the illusion of work. This is not a productive method as we are not really accomplishing anything. Write a list of everything that needs to be done for the day and only cross them off and move onto the next task once the previous one is complete. If there is a particularly large task, break it down into more approachable segments.
Take regular breaks
Walking around the office every hour may seem like a waste of time, but we need to let our mind rest for it to be productive. Concentrate on a task without distraction for one to two hours, followed by five – ten-minute break. Only reward yourself breaks if you have applied yourself to the task. Use your breaks wisely by getting some fresh air, stretching your legs or taking deep breathes.
Improve concentration by staying hydrated
Our brains need fluid to stay alert and functioning. Keep a glass of water on your desk and hydrate regularly. Eat well before work and have a snack readily available. It is much harder to concentrate when we are focused on being hungry.
Checking your emails every five minutes is not going to help you concentrate on a task. Unless you are waiting on an important email, set specific times throughout the day when you can check your emails and messenger services. If you are easily distracted by office chat, listen to white noise or instrumental music through your headphones. Politely ask members of your team not to disturb you unless it is an emergency.
Tackle the hardest jobs when you’re most productive
We are generally most productive before lunch so use your morning to tackle the most difficult tasks. When you get them out of the way, your mind will be free from the burden of having to approach them later. Once you have completed a difficult task, follow with a low priority task to allow the brain to rest.
When you feel yourself getting distracted, push the thought to the back of your mind and continue with the task. Your concentration will improve with practice.