Lack of the ability to concentrate because there is so much going on around you can make it difficult to complete a job, study or even get your thoughts organized so you can get something done. I know when I sit down to write and I hear a television blaring from the apartment next door, or hear kids playing outside, I find it hard to keep my mind on what I want to accomplish.
When I find this happening I have to bring myself back to what I was doing and tune out everything else. Sometimes it can be more difficult than others, and it can become very frustrating, but if you try these simple techniques you will find it much easier to get through and proceed.
1. Where you choose to do your work (your work environment) makes a big difference. Is it a pleasant place to work, and you feel comfortable and welcome? Or, is it scattered and full of things that need to be put away or have just been dropped there with the intention of putting them away later?
Start out by making sure your chair is comfortable and the desk is at the right height for you to work comfortably. If you are not comfortable you will find yourself getting up numerous times to just walk away.
Put up calming and motivational pictures — like landscapes and natural images that you find pleasant, and keep them within sight. They will help you focus.
If the background is noisy, put on some instrumental music or “white noise” to drown out the other. This will help you to focus better and forget about the distractions.
2. Make sure you have some water at your desk, and eat a good breakfast full of protein, healthy grains and fruit. It’s harder to concentrate when you are hungry, and the water is there to hydrate you. When you are dehydrated you feel tired, and you can’t concentrate. You can also have some fresh fruit or vegetables to snack on throughout the day. Sugary foods will only give you a temporary blast of energy, and then you will suddenly crash when the sugar high drops. Each small snacks throughout the day to avoid that 3 o’clock slump.
3. Take a break periodically. Research has shown that regularly getting up and moving around can help to increase your focus, and getting away from work for a short time will recharge your brain. If things start to get stressful, you need to walk away for a bit.
4. Focus on one job at a time. Multi-tasking may sound like you are getting a lot done, but in fact, instead of doing one job well until it is completed, usually many jobs are done haphazardly, or not completed.
5. Turn off your cell phone and close your email and chat room. Let your voice mail take your messages and you return them when you have a break. The email is not going anywhere, and unless the chat room is for business your personal life can be taken care of after work.
6. Prioritize. Sort your jobs in the order of importance. Too many jobs can be distracting, and if you are quickly jumping from one thing to another you aren’t accomplishing as much as you think, even though you are constantly busy.
7. Some jobs take more out of you than others. Switch back and forth so you don’t drain your resources. This gives your brain a rest after heavy work, and allows it time to recharge with the light stuff.
8. Promise yourself a reward when you get finished. Little bonuses can be motivators, so when you get to a certain point, give yourself a treat. After all, you earned it!
About the author:
Ron White is a two-time U.S.A. Memory Champion and memory training expert. As a memory keynote speaker he travels the world to speak before large groups or small company seminars, demonstrating his memory skills and teaching others how to improve their memory, and how important a good memory is in all phases of your life. His CDs and memory products are also available online at BrainAthlete.com.
MindTools — Improve Your Concentration: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newHTE_78.htm#np