The issue of lack of concentration is not limited to young children only. Many adults complain about it. Do you also experience such issues? Here are some practical tips that are sure to work!
The issue of lack of concentration is not limited to young children only. Many adults complain about it and look for advice on how to increase concentration. During coaching sessions, I have come across many such requests, and here are some tips that I found to be most effective.
- Make a time plan - set up a schedule for the jobs to be done. The key is to balance, to allocate time appropriately to serious, difficult tasks like study, as well as to recreation... And stick to it. Avoid keeping very similar tasks together, so that your schedule has an in-built variety to avoid boredom.
- Identify your peak times - we all have our times of peak alertness in the 24-hours cycle. However, it is not the same for all. Find out yours and use it for more difficult or less interesting tasks.
- Go slow; build up over time - start with sticking to your study / project for 10 to 15 minutes to start with. Build up slowly. While it is important to discipline yourself, more important is to put the time to effective use. So start small, but stick to it even if you are not able to concentrate easily.
- Take breaks in between - on average, the attention span for a serious task is no more than 20 minutes or so. Therefore, while studying for longer stretches, it is advisable to take a break for maybe five minutes after 20-25 minutes and get back to the job.
- Mind the surroundings - the location, direction, lighting - all make a difference to your attention span. You should be reasonably comfortable in a quiet place with proper lighting etc.
- Do away with distractions - while tv and radio are more obvious distractions and can easily be avoided, there are others like telephone calls, or friends and relatives dropping in to chat for a while. There are no general rules for them and you will have to devise your personal rules to take care of such issues.
- Manage requirements - make sure that you have prearranged all your requirements before you get set. This may include your study material, notes, pen, pencil, calculator, highlighter, or whatever you might need during your study / task.
- Join the younger ones - if you have young children, sit for your study along with them. It will motivate you to discipline yourself and concentrate.
- Put your heart with the mind - applying your mind to the work is a prerequisite in any case; however, adding curiosity and a positive attitude makes the real difference. When you become inquisitive and start enjoying the study, assimilation and understanding are much faster, much better.
- Use pencil extensively - do underline frequently and use white space in the margins to make your own short notes. While writing adds to your pick-up, it helps tremendously during future references.
- Exercise your mental faculties - games such as crossword puzzles, sudoku, and word jumbles are good relaxation tools as well as help you improve memory and concentration. Keep some time for them.
- Meditate - Meditation is a wonderful tool to keep your mind calm and relaxed, thus improving your concentration and memory. There are hundreds of meditation techniques. It is advisable to learn and practice one or two from an expert instead of experimenting with many and get confused.
- Live a balanced life - nutritious eating habits and regular sleeping hours help you to lead a healthy life with better memory and concentration.
And, here is a destructive one!
- Tear it apart - you have a nicely bound new book, but the size is so dreadful that you hardly touch it; so it remains new for years together. Total wastage! Remove its binding, convert it into small manageable pieces, maybe 5, 10, or 15 pages. Pick up one at a time and handle it with a smile. At the end of it, even though short of a showpiece on your bookshelf; you will be happy about this loss, I am sure!
Ashok Grover is an expert in people assessment and focused executive / leadership coaching. An Engineer-MBA, CPC (Certified Professional Coach), and CELC (Certified Executive Leadership Coach), Ashok lives by his vision - Value Creation by enhancing people and organizational competencies.
Ashok's professional journey spans over five decades. He has been training people in the area of Organizational Philosophy, Balanced Score Card, Result-oriented Interviewing, and Power of Positive Attitude & Affirmations. His experience in the field of Assessment & Development Centers spans over 500 ADCs; and covers the entire gamut – designing competency framework and assessment tools, conducting ADCs, reports preparation, feedback as well as IDP support.