Friday, September 3, 2010

How to Improve Your Concentration

I don't know about you, but from time to time, I have a hard time focusing and concentrating on things I need to do. In fact, it's something I've been struggling with for the past couple of days. To try and resolve this, I decided to look up some info to see what might help.

I found this fabulous article, 5 Tips to Improve Your Concentration, that I thought I'd share. In it, Sam Horn, author of ConZentrate, gives five FOCUS tips to help us concetrate better no matter what we're trying to do.

F= Five More Rule. According to Horn, there are two types of people: those who've learned to work through frustration and those who wish they had. Starting today, if you're in the middle of a task and you feel like giving up, just do five more. Work five more minutes, read five more pages- whatever the case may be. You know how athletes develop physical stamina by pushing past the point of exhaustion? You can build your mental stamina by pushing past the point of frustration.

O= One Think At a Time. There are times when we feel scatter-brained, and we think about the little tasks we need complete instead of focusing on what we actually need to be doing at the moment. Instead of telling your mind not to fret over another, less significant priority (which will cause your mind to think about it anyway), give your mind one task with start-stop parameters. So, for instance, say you keep thinking about how you need to write down all the money you spent this week when you should be writing an article. Tell yourself: "I'll think about the money I spent after I'm done working this evening. Right now, for the next 30 minutes, I'll give my complete focus to finishing this article." And if you still can't get it out of your head, write it on your to-do list; that way, you're free to forget about it until later.

C= Conquer Procrastination. If you don't feel like concentrating, or if you're putting off a task you're supposed to be working on, your procrastinating! (But you already knew that, right?). The next time you're about to put off a responsibility, ask yourself three questions:
  • Do I have to do this?
  • Do I want it done so it's not on my mind?
  • Will it be any easier later?
The questions can give you the motivation to mentally apply yourself. How? They bring you face to face with the fact that the task isn't going anywhere and that putting it off will only add to your guilt, and it will occupy more of your mind and time.

U= Use Your Hands as Blinkers. See your mind as a camera and your eyes as its opening. A lot of times, our eyes are "taking it all in" and our brain is in "wide-angle focus." We can actually think about a lot of things at one time and function efficiently. For example, think about when you're driving, messing with the radio, paying attention to your surroundings and looking for your exit.
Need 100 percent concentration? Let's say you're preparing for an exam; cup your hands around your eyes so you have "tunnel vision" and are looking just at your material. Putting your hands on the sides of your face blocks out surroundings; they are literally "out of sight, out of mind." (Think about what that means). If you use your hands as blinkers each time you want to narrow your focus, you teach your brain to change to 'one track' mind and focus on your command.

S= See As if For the First or Last Time. Frederick Franck said, "When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking everything for granted." The next time your mind is a million miles away, take a look around you and really see your surroundings; lean in and really look at a loved one you tend to take for granted. Doing those things will allow you to be in the 'here and now' and be fully present.

What are your tips for focusing and improving your concentrating? Leave a comment below : )

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