Improving concentration

Many of us find it hard to concentrate on even simple tasks – there are just too many distractions. I know that I prefer to come into work after hours to work on important tasks rather than trying to work through telephone calls, cell phones ringing, people talking and background music, sometimes it is just too hard.

By improving your concentration you will find you accomplish much more in a shorter period of time.

Here are some simple steps to help you do this:

  • Create a space designated just for work. If that space is your desk in a work office, for example, use it only for work and make sure you step away from it when taking breaks or eating.
  • Form a strong association between working and your desk to make concentrating easier.
  • Remove surrounding distractions. Turn off the ringer on your phone and, if possible, shut down your computer if you think you will be tempted to surf the Web.
  • Assemble all the materials you will are going to need (books, paper, charts). You want to avoid getting up to retrieve materials and distracting yourself.
  • Set a specific production goal and give yourself a manageable amount of time (perhaps 1 to 2 hours) in which to do this.
  • Create pressure by scheduling meetings or other interruptions to force yourself to work more effectively during a shorter period of time.
  • Reward yourself after each period of intense concentration with a small break.
  • Work at a time of day when you know you are alert and do your best work.
  • Work with another person nearby – someone whose work habits you respect and who will not distract you but will encourage you to concentrate better.
  • Stop work at a natural breaking point or after some sort of accomplishment, which will make returning to work easier. Write notes to quickly jog your memory when you resume.
  • Try jotting down ideas as you think or notes as you read. The act of writing can force you to devote attention to the task at hand and discourage your mind from wandering. Writing also helps you process and clarify information.
  • Develop an interest in your work, concentration will happen naturally if you are interested.

Category: Articles