Our lives are a busy rat race of going from point A to B, without even a breath to spare for anybody else. As we try to cram more and more into our busy lives, sometimes it is easy to give up and think, “How do successful guys do it?” However, the key to success is often through the power of concentration. Now we know how difficult it might seem to concentrate, but concentration comes in stages: start by expanding your brain, and your life, a little at a time. Don’t take too much on too soon, and proceed gradually. You’ll notice that your concentration levels have improved drastically only within a short period of time. However, to ease you into the process, here’s a tried and tested ten stage process which is guaranteed to serve you in good stead.
1. Exercise to Recharge Your Batteries
Ever wondered what possible good can exercise do to you? After all, you’re only bound to get more tired and drained of your energy after a burst of strength, cardio and heavy weight lifting right? That might be it initially, but as you train yourself with a skilled trainer, you’ll notice how much you have to concentrate on every aspect of your physical training to be able to do a good job. With a little bit of motivation and the right playlist, you can learn how to concentrate all your focus on this one thing. Soon, you’ll be harnessing your concentration not just to exercise but also in everyday matters such as in your relationships with family, work space and elsewhere that demands concentration and intense focus.
2. Meditate for Inner Peace
There is no better way than meditation when it comes to finding your inner peace. In case no one told you, meditation also has immense benefits for your levels of stress, anxiety and concentration. Meditation is simply the art of focusing, and focusing well, because it depends on your ability to make your mind completely blank of all external thoughts. A simple way of meditation is just sitting down for ten minutes in a calm and quiet environment where you are least likely to be interrupted. Many people find it easier if they put on some relaxing background music (instrumental only!) but this is not necessary. Now, close your eyes and take in a deep breath, focusing on your breathing patterns. As you see the worries melt away, you’ll also see your concentration levels improving.
3. Eat Well to Feel Good
There’s an old adage that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach: that may or may not work out for you, but eating healthy surely is a way to your brain! Diets rich in Potassium and Vitamins are exceptionally beneficial if you want to improve your brain power, because it helps to improve the memory centers of your brain. Try increasing the amount of water you intake every day as well, because a lack of it can often leave you drained and exhausted. A balanced diet can leave you feeling better bodily and mentally, thus being a double victory on your road to successful concentration and eventual happiness!
4. Work within Schedules
One of the best kept secrets of a successful person is that they know how to schedule their lives. Most of their work keeps them engaged and busy for the greater part of the day, which is why they need to keep up with schedules. You might think it boring to live life by routines, but trust us, if you ever want to improve your concentration levels – you’re going to need this little trick. These days there are plenty of mobile apps available which help you compartmentalize and schedule tasks ahead of time, so just give them a try even if you’re averse to the pen and paper method.
5. Get enough Rest
Did you think successful people work twenty hours a day and get by on four hours of sleep only? That’s not at all true! Human beings only have a fixed ability to work, and no matter how well they try to concentrate, without adequate amounts of rest no one can function well. Not even Bill Gates! So if you’re ever left feeling tired and exhausted at 3am, unable to focus on the figures in front of you, don’t worry and just get some rest. This is just your body’s way of signaling when you’ve had enough, and you should appreciate these signals if you’re to get on with your life and eventually improve your concentration levels. Most physicians and medical practitioners recommend a proper seven hours of sleep for adults and working professionals, although, anywhere between six to eight hours of sleep are permissible.
6. Learn to Prioritize
Alongside learning to be better at scheduling your work, you also need to learn when you should prioritize on certain tasks. People often have trouble with concentrating on one particular task precisely because they have a million thoughts running around their head: do I eat, do I sleep, do I file that paper or do I email that grad advisor? Relax, take a deep breath, and think of what you need to do. If it’s been over twenty four hours since you last slept, sleeping is a priority. If your paper needs to be turned in tomorrow but you need to email someone important today, the latter takes precedence. If you have trouble, fetch that pad of legal paper or anything you like and make a list. Then create groups of three from that list and assign priority numbers. Then take the group itself and assign priority numbers. Gradually, from each chunk of three, you can find what you need to prioritize and what you don’t. Isn’t that easy? Do this and you’ll find your levels of concentration improving by leaps and miles!
7. Manage your time better
Time management is a critical guideline for improving concentration levels, and one of the most simple reasons for this is that it helps you panic less. As mentioned in the previous point, if your mind is working simultaneously and being anxious about a thousand things at once, it’s unlikely that you can ever focus on one thing at a time. Instead of trying to multitask, segregate your thoughts and actions. Assign time limits for everything, and you’ll be able to concentrate better. One scientifically proven method of concentrating better is the pomodoro method in which you provide yourself incentives. Suppose you have to finish a chapter of proofing a contract in four hours, and you set your pomodoro clock to half an hour for every 1/8 th segment of the paper. Tell yourself that after every half hour, if you’re on schedule, you get something like a gummy bear: and once you finish within four hours, you can treat yourself to something you love (an episode of The Flash you’d been meaning to catch up on, a treat at your favorite cafeteria, etc.)
8. Create your Mind Palace
If you’re a fan of Sherlock, you’ll know about this one. The Mind Palace is the place where you collect all your thoughts and information, and acts as a repository of information where you can store everything you need. Basically, even if we’re not as talented as Sherlock, we can still utilize the mind palace as a place of calm and happiness, a repository of some favorite memories, which can help to recharge our minds in the midst of dull and routine chores. One of the main reasons we’re unable to concentrate is because we simply do not care for something, and by using happy memories from the mind palace every time we get distracted, we have something to freshen up our brains with.
9. Learn to Delegate
You might think of yourself as the superhero at the workplace but believe us, there’s nothing worse for yourself than thinking that you can do it all. Every human being, no matter how capable they are, do have limits within which they can operate. At times, people take on herculean tasks with absolutely no hopes of doing it themselves. Our point isn’t to dissuade you or make you doubt your abilities: it is simply to tell you that, once in a while, it is fine to accept help where you can’t do something on your own. Whenever you realize that there’s too much on your plate, allow yourself to delegate certain tasks to others. This way you can effectively manage your time more, you can work within a certain schedule, and you can keep up with the time frame you had set for yourself as well: all of this while staying within your limits.
At the end of the day, the important thing is to know how you work and what works for you. It’s okay to sometimes delegate, accept help, work with routines, take a break, or even to segregate in times of need. As long as you know how not to burn yourself out, you should be able to concentrate and achieve success in no time.