When you have a long list of tasks to accomplish today, it makes sense to focus entirely on finishing those responsibilities. However, concentrating on your work can be difficult if noises easily distract you, the TV catches your attention, or you’re hungry. How can you improve your focus in these situations? Below are five suggestions to improve your concentration to complete the important tasks.
1. Try guided meditation or prayer
Meditation is an activity that forces your mind and body to slow down and stay calm. Focusing on your breathing and being in the present moment is a way to practice and increase your ability to concentrate. Plus, this activity helps keep the mind from wandering or getting distracted by your surroundings.
Starting your day by meditating can then help your mind direct its attention on the necessary work. If you haven’t meditated before, online resources can be useful and convenient.
A recorded guided meditation, for example, can take you easily through a session. Choose a concentrative meditation guide to help you practice focusing your mind on current tasks.
If you’re religious, you can opt to pray instead of meditating, as prayer can provide similar benefits. Religious apps like the Muslim Pro app have scripture readings and auditory prompts that you can use as a prayer guide.
2. Reduce distracting noises
Depending on where you work, be it at home, in the office, or in a café, there can be noise that ruins your concentration. Maybe it’s the construction work from the building next door or your kids shouting as they play. Sometimes, it’s the chatter of the people in a café. All these sounds can make it difficult to focus on your job.
To reduce the effect that noise has on concentration, consider putting on some noise-canceling headphones or earbuds. I do that at home while at my computer if it’s loud at home or construction nearby.
Headphones cover your entire ear, so they will be more effective at drowning out the noise, especially if you prefer silence over listening to music. Earbuds can drown out some of the noise around you, but they may not be effective for sounds like the drilling in construction work.
You can also listen to music to mask the sounds in your environment. Listening to instrumental or classical music, or dance music without lyrics may even improve your concentration.
3. Make smart use of tech to improve concentration
Technology might be your biggest distraction, with social media, video streaming sites, mobile games, and other apps interrupting your focus. But it can also help you keep the focus on your task when using it correctly. If the phone or laptop distracts you with notifications and alerts, put it on silent mode and set up a schedule to only display notifications after work.
Aside from changing the settings, you can also use apps to help boost concentration while doing your work. Timer apps can help you practice the Pomodoro technique, so you stay focused on the job for 25 minutes and take a break for five minutes after that. Some apps will even give you a digital reward if you don’t pick up your phone in the 25 minutes you were supposed to stay focused.
Some apps also help you concentrate by blocking your access to certain websites and apps for a limited time. These apps are helpful for those whose work requires them to stay online and want to reduce the temptation to check social media or visit non-work-related websites.
4. Hydrate and snack while working
Once you’re in focus mode, it can be easy to forget to drink water or eat anything. However, dehydration and hunger can cause concentration to wane.
To help you stay focused, drink water and snack regularly while at work. Keep drinking water and snacks on or near the desk at home, for example, to hydrate and energize the body.
To further improve your concentration, you can drink caffeinated beverages and eat snacks that are good for the brain. Coffee and tea are popular drink options, while foods like nuts, blueberries, avocados, and chocolate can be good for brain health. Of course, avoid too much caffeine if you want to feel at your best.
5. Give yourself a break
If you’ve been working non-stop for over an hour, you might find your focus waning and that’s natural. Forcing yourself to keep working when you’re tired can be counterproductive. Plus, you may feel stress or anxiety when the lack of focus affects the quality of your work.
When this scenario happens, take a break instead. Taking a break allows you to rest and refresh your mind, which will boost your concentration and help you stay motivated while you work. So, ironically, stopping work for a short amount of time can help you get more done in the long run.
There are even some things you can do while taking a break to help boost concentration. Try these activities during break time:
- Check uplifting content online – Browsing online content that can uplift your mood is a great way to refresh the mind. You can follow social media pages to see cute animal photos or humorous, short videos. Or, follow accounts like the Muslim Pro app Instagram for inspirational photos or videos.
- Play puzzle games or brain games – You can play games like Sudoku, word puzzles, memory games, or other brain games to shift attention away from work. These games will also exercise your brain so you can concentrate better.
- Go for a short walk outdoors – If your workplace has a garden, consider taking a short walk in the area. Immersing yourself in nature and moving your legs will give your mind some rest while exercising your body.
- Take a short nap – My hubby grabs some z’s on his lunch break at home sometimes. Your focus might be waning due to fatigue or lack of sleep, so a 10-minute nap may help rest the mind and body.
Takeaway on improving your concentration
Boosting your concentration while you work can help you maintain focus and accomplish tasks efficiently. However, a lot of different factors can sometimes make concentrating difficult to do.
If you find yourself struggling to stay on track, try some of the techniques on the list above to stay centered on work. Staying organized by decluttering and scheduling your time well is also helpful for a more productive day. Wishing you a great day ahead!