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Increase your concentration and get more from yourself
We’ve all been there: We’re faced with a duty that we struggle to complete, but it seems impossible to just crack down and get it done. Why does this happen? It’s not as if the assignment is cripplingly difficult; it’s more like our brains are refusing to function properly. In order to overcome such situations, to achieve maximum concentration, try the following:
1. Find/Create Quiet Space
Concentration relies heavily on your environment. Imagine trying to complete an important work assignment: Could you perform better at the Super Bowl or in your tranquil home office? Outside noise will draw your attention away from the duties at hand, leaving you with utterly poor concentration. Find a place where you can really zero in on your duties.
2. Focus on One Thing at Once
Focus is exactly why you wouldn’t want to take an important task to the Super Bowl: You’d be too distracted to concentrate properly. Trying to complete two things at once only hinders your concentration.
You may think multitasking is beneficial. On the contrary, when you have numerous items on your plate, each receives less attention and is completed with a lower standard. It’s like trying to appreciate a delicious dessert when you’ve been forced to shove a heinous entrée into your mouth at the same time: You can’t concentrate on one over the other. Narrow your lens; cover less ground to improve your focus.
3. Chew Gum
There’s something about the motion of chewing gum – it’s a relatively mindless gesture that arguably boosts concentration. Some teachers are allowing children to chew gum during class because, according to teacher and principal Carolyn Cybulski, “Oral activity can be very calming.” She adds, “The act of chewing gum also provides constant sensory input to the muscles in the jaw and ears and we find it helps children to concentrate better.” Maybe it could do the trick for you, too?
4. Get Ample Sleep
Are you prioritizing quality sleep hours? You should be. To go without enough sleep – generally at least seven hours – is a big mistake. In addition to crippling your health and making you more vulnerable to depression, lack of sleep impairs your concentration. You also want to avoid sleep disruption throughout the course of the night. Basically, when you sleep well and wake up refreshed, it’s as if sleep has lifted the fog from your brain. Without that decent sleep, the fog will continue to build until your mind is essentially worthless.
5. Make a To-do List
Know what’s on your plate ahead of time. Tackling your duties, when you know exactly what you have to complete, is easier than going in blindly. Having the list drawn out in advance also assists you in focusing on just one item at a time. Work on one, complete it, cross it out and move on.
6. Take a Cold Shower
Need a jolt? A little something to shove you into focus mode? Step into a cold shower. The frigid temperature will increase blood circulation and wake you to the world around you. Your brain will be on full-alert survival mode – unlike when it’s completely relaxed in a hot bath/shower – ready to take on anything.
7. Listen to Certain Varieties of Music
Although some may consider music a distraction, certain melodies have actually been seen to boost concentration and productivity. In fact, in a study involving workers, those who listened to music completed duties both quicker and more creatively than their tuneless counterparts. There are a few suggestions as to why this may be the case: music reduces stress, grounds a wandering mind and helps to block out distracting noises, to name a few.
8. Prioritize Comfort
When you’re sitting in a hard chair with an achy back, it’s hard to do your best. What if, rather than a rock-like seat, you were perched on a plush, body-hugging sofa? You wouldn’t be distracted by bodily pains and discomfort. Instead, you’d be able to put the entirety of your brain’s efforts into completing the tasks at hand.
9. Eat Well
Your diet impacts your concentration. What foods you consume, and the total amount of intake, can affect your focus for better or worse. Whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables and grains, are renowned for their ability to positively boost one’s ability to concentrate. Filling up on sugar, fat and carbs, on the contrary, will provide minimal fuel for your mind and body. Stay satisfied, too, in the amount of food you eat. Hunger pangs are distracting.
10. Exercise Daily
Use your muscles to wake your brain. According to Harvard Medical School, regular exercise releases brain chemicals key for memory, concentration and mental sharpness. As it turns out, your morning jog does more than sculpt your calves.
11. Drink Enough Water
Water is essential for existence. Not only does it keep us hydrated for physical excursion, but it also fuels our brainpower. Because our bodies are comprised of more than 70 percent of the substance, water is absolutely key in every one of our functions. Becoming dehydrated directly impact your concentration; so drink up.
12. Know When to Break
There is such a thing as overworking your brain. When this happens, when your brain is exhausted, it won’t work at its max. Just like your body after a rigorous workout, your brain needs a rest. Rather than push your brain harder, know when it’s time to throw in the towel. Allowing occasional breaks, despite seeming like a waste of time, will actually help you to make the most of every single minute.