Five Ways to Improve Concentration

improve concentration

I am infinitely distractible, particularly when I am doing something that hasn’t captured my imagination. I believe that concentration can be learned. I’ve managed to improve my concentration skills over the years. Here are some things I do to improve concentration:

Single Task. Multi-tasking doesn’t work. When you are trying to do multiple things at once, your attention is automatically fragmented, and you will not be able to concentrate on one to the exclusion of the other (otherwise it would be time-slicing, not multi-tasking). If you focus on one thing, you won’t be interrupted by your brain shouting as it switches tasks.

Change Tasks. If your lack of focus is coming from a long stretch of the same activity, change it up. Varying what you can do can refresh your mind.

Do Five More. I am a proponent of using a timer  to get things started, but this one takes another look on it. “Before I take a break, I need to [insert your five things here]”. For example, write five lines of code, pull up five more weeds, practice five more minutes.

Get Rid of Preoccupations. Chances are the thing your are worrying about is something beyond your control. Get rid of the worries and it will be easier to concentrate.

Take Breaks. While this seems like the antithesis to concentration, in long haul tasks it is better to take a break than fight through fatigue.

I find that practicing these five things helps me concentrate – even when I am sure that I can’t.