Productivity is closely tied to your ability to focus and concentrate. Without adequate focus, you might find yourself struggling to reach your full potential. Luckily you’re not alone as many people struggle to focus on their work on a daily basis. We’ve compiled a list to help you find some of the best methods that will help you improve your concentration. Let’s start off with one of the key things you should be trying:
The key to focus and concentration is the elimination of excess noise in the brain. Properly focusing on one thing means that you’ve made a decision to forgo distractions for the moment and deal with the issue at hand. While this might seem simple at first, it quickly becomes apparent how difficult this can be in the multifaceted and connected society in which we live. This is where meditation comes in. While we too often tie meditation to yogis on spiritual journeys, the truth of the matter is many of us can benefit from a daily practice.
Meditation forces participants to quiet their minds and focus on the moment. This makes you more mindful and present, which in itself offers an improved quality of life. Multiple studies have found that regular meditation can reduce stress levels which leads to better mental health and UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center found it increased overall self-awareness. Needless to say that these are all fantastic outcomes, but in regards specifically to better focus, meditation teaches you how to eliminate distractions, be self-aware of your distracted tendencies, and make the decision to concentrate solely on the moment. You are then able to apply these techniques to other areas of their life and work.
So the next questions become; “what are these distractions?” and “what causes them?” These are important questions to ask yourself and you’ll probably find that your answers are very similar to many others’.
We are very lucky to live in such a connected world where we are able to reach our loved ones at the touch of a button. Unfortunately, this also serves as one of the main sources or procrastination and distraction to many people. The best way to avoid these tempting distractions is to eliminate them before they even become one. For instance, if you know that you have a busy day of work ahead of you put your phone out of sight, in another room, or even turn it off before you begin. By keeping your phone at a distance you might find you are less tempted to use it than you would be with it in the corner of your eye at arm’s reach.
A few other simple but great ways to reduce distractions include:
• Turn off Wifi on your computer: If the work you’re doing does not need Wifi, turning it off will keep you on task and away from unrelated internet browsing or social media.
• Reduce Noise Levels: Loud noises bother some people more than others, but in the end, they are distracting to all. Do what you can to reduce noise levels. This can be as simple as closing a door or wearing noise-cancelling headphones. Check reviews here.
• Verbalize: Let people know that you’re trying to focus on your work so that they can do their part to minimize the distractions the cause and not interrupt your flow.
Our physical environments impact our mental states. It often plays a larger role than we realize, but if you’ve ever cleaned your room and felt significantly better in it afterward you’ll have an idea on the impact it can have. Physical clutter can lead to mental clutter vice versa, so if you are having a hard time focusing on one thing maybe try tidying up your environment. At the very least it will be one less distraction to worry about and can “jump-start” your productivity.
Read a Book
Everyone should make reading a part of their routine. You can find study after study listing the benefits that reading regularly offers to you. This list includes everything from higher cognition to increased lifespan and, you guessed it, improved concentration. It is important to note that most of these studies specify that these benefits come from long-form reading like books rather than newspapers and articles.
Reading books require long-term attention and focus in order for you comprehend what you’re reading and to get through the book. Similarly to meditation, reading forces you to get into the habit of concentrating and focusing on the task at hand without giving into distractions. Otherwise, you will constantly be losing your spot and rereading passages. Over time you might find you are able to focus longer since you get used to the lack of constant visual and auditory stimulation. You can even measure your concentration by keeping track of how many pages you read before your mind begins to wander.
The beauty of reading lies in the fact that it is not a temporary solution for focus, rather it trains your brain how to concentrate on the task in front of it. Whether you decide to read on your daily commute or before you fall asleep it is also easy to fit into your daily routine. You can visit your bookstore on the way home or even order books online at your convenience to get started.
So there you have it! These are all some simple, but incredibly effective, ways to increase your level of focus. If you dedicate yourself to these practices you’ll see your focus sky-rocket in no time at all. So grab a book, find some quiet time, and put away your phone to achieve your full potential!
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