It’s no surprise that with media bombarding us with adverts and distractions at every twist and turn, that many people find it hard to concentrate for longer than a few minutes. Our attention is being drawn here and there with flashing images and messages pinging through, mobiles, tablets and computers competing for our time and energy.
What aids your concentration?
Are you studying? I’m told Baroque music played quietly in the background is said to be the best to study to or it may be that you require complete silence in order to concentrate.
If you’re working on a project or there’s something that you have to get done, make the decision to concentrate on that job entirely, to the complete exclusion of everything else. Do this for a minimum of 20 minutes, you might remember my favourite trick, I set the alarm on my phone to bark every 20 minutes (it makes me laugh!). If I’m on a roll and concentrating well, I’ll continue the 20 minutes sets, feeling a great sense of achievement by resetting the phone. If my inspiration isn’t there, I change my activity after 20 minutes and aim to get another job done in that time. Usually this change of activity gives me space to think more creatively about the job I’m meant to be doing and I get back to it in the next 20 minute set. Because you know it’s only 20 minutes, you tend to knuckle down and get on with it!
Another great tip from my only guru Brian Tracy is as follows, clear your desk of everything, except the things needed for the project you are working on. Even if you have to put papers and books into neat piles on the floor, only have on your desk the thing you are working on. This helps to clear a space in your mind, give you a sense of space and order, it will also allow you to feel more efficient and in control, it’s as if you’ve taken command.
Using a little lemon citrus oil near your desk when you’re working can keep you mentally alert, as does a really vibrant and bright object. When I first learned that tip, the only really bright thing I could find was a dayglo multicoloured duster on a stick! It worked though. Also keep a plant near your desk, they give you oxygen.
Before you start a piece of work take ten minutes to consider how you can break the task down. Make bullet points, no more than seven. Decide roughly how long the job will take and divide the seven points between that time. You may want to schedule a break or lunch in, depending on the overall length of the task.
Finally, make a note of what you will do after the task that is for your pleasure… a bath, a swim, a walk, watch a film or meet a friend for coffee, some little reward that drives you to focus and concentrate.