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Tips on How to Improve Concentration & Stay Focus at Work and Study

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Mazlan shares some of the tips that he used to help others get more out of their time and effort in their pursuit for personal development

Do you find it hard to concentrate and to stay focused? This article will explain why staying focused is important and teaches you how to concentrate on your task and gives tips on how to stay focused.

Do you have problem concentrating on your task?

Do you have problem concentrating on your task?

Are You Drifting?

Do you always find yourself unable to concentrate on your study or work because you were looking forward to that television program? You were unable to concentrate because you couldn't get your mind off the argument you just had with your boss?

Philip Hunsaker and Colette Frayne, in their book, 'Supervisory Management' said that if your mind wandered rather than focused on the issue at hand, then you may have a concentration problem.

They also said that concentration is crucial in order to complete what you were supposed to do. It had to be an active and continuous effort to exclude from your consciousness all thoughts and emotions not related to the task that you were doing. It is a skill that requires your motivation, self-discipline and common sense.

Why You Need to Stay Focused

In their book, the authors gave the following reasons why you need to improve your concentration and stay focused:

  • To complete your task efficiently and effectively.
  • To have a better idea of what needs to be done.
  • If you are able to concentrate, then you can learn better.
Too much work and not enough sleep? How to concentrate?

Too much work and not enough sleep? How to concentrate?

Unable to Concentrate

How well you concentrate depend on how well your brain can 'filter' out the non-related messages. Your lack of concentration can also be from these internal and external factors:

  • When you lack motivation, you will be easily distracted.
  • When you daydream and fantasizing on other issues.
  • When the surrounding environment is distracting you.
  • You have too much task at hand and trying to complete your work without proper planning. This will lead to frustration and confusion, and hence your ability to concentrate.
  • You are sleepy or hungry and this makes it difficult for you to concentrate, especially on abstract activities.

How to Concentrate Better

The first step to overcome these barriers is to recognize that you have a problem. By accepting these problems, you will learn to concentrate better. The followings are steps given by the authors, to help improve your concentration and focus level:

1. Check Your Level of Motivation

Analyze your level of motivation. If the reason for not able to concentrate is due to a mismatch of personality and job, then you should stop. Forcing yourself to continue will not be productive

2. Organize Your Activity

Start your week with a plan. Schedule what needs to be done in order of priority and importance. Estimate the time required to accomplish those tasks. Do you need any help from others or the use of particular equipment? Put it all in your list.

3. Put Aside Your Personal Problems

Are you having personal problems or fantasizing about a new love? You must not let this interfere with your work or task. If you can't control your thoughts, they will interfere with your ability to concentrate.

4. Check Your Degree of Involvement

If you are doing too many tasks at one time and not getting anyone task to completion, then you should delegate some minor tasks to others.

If you continue to try to concentrate on everything, nothing may get done.

5. Manage Your Work Environment

Is the noise level in your work environment a distraction? Is the lighting too dim? Is the color scheme in your work area too garish? Is your chair too hard?

These are the excuses you may encounter that create a distraction and may lessen your concentration level and increase your stress level. If you can manage and reduce these distractions yourself, then attend to it. Otherwise talk to the admin staff or person in charge, to help with these problems.

6. Evaluate Your Task Requirement

If your task requires long hours of concentration like doing a financial report, find a quiet place to work. Take frequent breaks or alternate with other minor tasks. Playing soft music might help relax both body and mind, helping you to concentrate better.

7. Take Care of Yourself

A clear mental state and a healthy physical being are necessary to help you concentrate better. Proper sleep, diet, and exercise are also important.

Staying up all night to prepare for a meeting early the next morning will not be beneficial if it causes you to drift in and out of sleep during the session.

8. Manage Your Own Concentration

Most people can concentrate for up to one hour. After that, they become vulnerable to distractions. The way to keep one's concentration level high is to take frequent breaks. Five-minute break every half hour or so is best.

Find a quiet place to study such as in the library

Find a quiet place to study such as in the library

How to Improve Your Study Mindset

If you are a student it is important to 'create' that study mindset. In addition to the above suggestions, here are other ways that might help:

  • Study in areas with little distraction such as in the library.
  • Bring only what you need for the study otherwise you will be distracted by other things such as messages on your hand-phones.
  • A study group with your friends - asking question, discussions and brainstorming on the subject will improve your memory.
  • Take a short break in between study will help refresh your mind.

Brain Exercise and More

In addition to what was suggested by the authors, I would also recommend you do brain exercise to keep the mind 'alert and active'. Meditation or relaxation and simple stretching exercise like gentle yoga will also help.

Finally, drink a lot of water especially mineral water.

Stay alert and be productive.

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Mazlan

Comments

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on October 27, 2015:

Hi Alice. Thanks for sharing the link.

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on August 20, 2012:

@Paneuromix. There may be side effects with some of these substances so you need to check and be extra careful before taking them. I personally used to take Ginkgo biloba, which helps with blood circulation and memory. I am now taking dates vinegar and alternate it with apple cider vinegar and pomegranate vinegar (i.e. once I finish one bottle of one type of vinegar, I then take the other vinegar and so on)

Paneuromix on August 19, 2012:

I appreciate very much the tips you gave us in this hub. I want to ask you a question, do you think using various substances that affect brain activity in a positive way are good or bad?

Mazlan (author) from Malaysia on June 27, 2012:

@billybuc, @dinkan53 , @teaches12345, @Simone Smith

Thank you all for dropping by, commenting and sharing your own experiences. Thanks for the Share, dinkan53

Simone, thanks for including multitasking as a possible culprit, I can see that already!

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on June 26, 2012:

Very good tips! I'd like to add an avoidance of multitasking to the mix. Multitasking is the ultimate bane of concentration!

Dianna Mendez on June 24, 2012:

Excellent! I have found drinking water helps in so many ways. Glad you listed this as a suggestion for improving concentration. It does help the brain.

dinkan53 from India on June 23, 2012:

Thanks for suggesting such useful things to improve the concentration, as it is the key factor of any kind of work. Personally for me a good shower or herbal tea like green tea is working to restore my concentration. Rated up and useful. Shared!!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 23, 2012:

Great suggestions! In truth I am a very focused person; always have been. Many of the tips you give are things I have always done. Very nice hub!