How To Focus Better and Boost Concentration
Effective study can only be achieved if you’re able to focus your complete attention on what you are trying to learn. If you are unable to concentrate fully on what you are doing because you’re constantly being distracted, or your thoughts are going elsewhere, your process of learning will be interrupted. If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering if you can learn how to focus better.
Hand-in-hand with focus, is concentration. Concentration is the ability to focus all attention on the activity at hand and block out all other unnecessary thoughts and distractions. According to researchers at the University of California Irvine, it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to a task following a distraction.
In this guide, we will show you multiple ways of improving focus and concentration by utilizing various concentration techniques, and learn how to stop distractions from getting the best of you.
By the time you’ve finished this guide, you’ll know exactly how to focus better, boost concentration and avoid distractions. You can use the quick links below to jump to a particular area of interest.
How to Improve Concentration
A rested mind studies best. Therefore get a good night’s rest before you attempt to study. This should consist of at least six hours of sleep. Most people require at least 8 hours per night. Sleep is important as it allows your brain to recover and to help remember information more effectively. A good period of rest beforehand will refresh and relax your mind and enable you to concentrate easier.
Research has found that sleep plays a fundamental role in our ability to memorise information both before and after studying. Not only that but a lack of sleep and tiredness has a direct impact on our motivation and mood. It will affect our judgement and perception of events.
Regular exercise is a great way to help improve your concentration when studying as it speeds up blood circulation to the brain. As a result, your brain gets the nourishment it requires while getting rid of unnecessary waste products.
Physical activity will improve your ability to focus and improve attention, as well as provide you with a mental boost even if it is just done for a period of 15 to 20 minutes.
Breaks are an important aspect of effective learning. It is essential to stop at set regular intervals and go for a short walk, do some yoga or exercise, breathe deeply or have some food. Do something different from what you’ve been doing and in a different area. This can be done for 10 to 30 minutes and will allow you to refresh your mind.
It is important to take longer breaks, maybe twice during longer study days, where you can properly rest the mind and have food. Schedule a break period every 50 or 60 minutes as you will not be able to maintain focus for longer periods of time.
4) Make Learning Interesting
To keep yourself motivated it is a good idea to approach learning from different angles. This can be done reading from your textbook and then studying your own notes. You can read the topic out loud, try to teach the topic to someone else or even test yourself on the topic you have been studying.
other study methods include:
- Listening to audio on the topic and write down some keynotes on what they are saying that can help you better understand what you are attempting to learn.
- Watching videos on the topic. There are many useful videos of people explaining complex topics on youtube.
- Making your own notes from what you have read in the textbook.
- You can write questions and the answer them later. These can be questions from your textbook or even questions that you think is likely to come up on the exam. This is a good way to test your understanding of what you learnt and help you remember it, especially if you leave it a few days to answer them.
- Past exam papers. This is great for not only testing your knowledge but also familiarising yourself with the exam format and structure which will help you settle into the exam much quicker and easier on the day.
- Mind maps.Mind maps can be a great way to break down information into a simple diagram that can be remembered more easily. They’re also a good way to test whether you know the subject matter. You can redraw the diagram and deliberately leave blanks to see can you fill them in again or whether you can discuss the topic in more detail by only looking at the key headings on the mind map.
By doing this you are studying the same material but are using alternative methods that will require using different brain pathways. This will enhance your learning ability and help retain the information much better. It also decreases the likelihood that you will become bored while studying the topic.
Fueling the mind is an essential element of increasing focus and concentration. Research has indicated that students learn much better when they’re well-nourished. How often you eat can also have a powerful effect on your energy levels.
Be sure to eat the right foods and begin your day with a proper breakfast as this will significantly enhance alertness avoid fatigue. Foods with a high protein, carbohydrates and low sugar are a great way to fuel your mind for learning. Foods containing high sugar content can lead to poor concentration levels.
6) AVOID CLUTTER
It is important to have a clean and tidy work area when you are trying to study as a cluttered workspace can negatively impact your mood, ability to concentrate and process information effectively.
Motivation is another element that can affect our learning ability. Having a clear understanding of why we want to learn a topic provides us with a why. Why you are doing it. What are your end goals and rewards?
Strategies for Better Focus
If you have ADHD, and you are concerned about your lack of focus, there is help. If your doctor prescribed medication for you, it will help with the symptoms. In addition, there are certain things that you can do to help increase focus:
- Breathe: Get in the habit of practicing deep breathing. This will help calm the nervous system. In addition, a regular meditation practice may help increase focus and decrease stress.
- One task at a time: If you are at work, focus on one task at a time. This reduces anxiety and nervousness surrounding completing tasks for the day.
- Talk to others: If you feel comfortable sharing your condition with your community, this can help them have more compassion. There are also support groups and licensed mental health professionals who can also help you in your journey.
- Movement breaks: Take breaks and move. Whether it is a walk around the office or stretch, movement will help your focus.
- Timing techniques: As you are working on tasks, set a timer for an uninterrupted amount. For some people, it is 15 minutes, for others, 30. Try different time segments to determine what works for you. Depending on the age, the attention span is shorter. Work with different times to determine the best outcomes.
- Diet: Try to reduce and/or eliminate sugar, alcohol, and smoking.
- Plan ahead: It is important to have a plan. This will help you feel in control of what you are doing, how long it will take, and how to do it. Many times there are interruptions or complications, and it is good to have a plan and list in place to help you get back on course.
- Organize your space: It is important to have a clean and organized space where you are working. Clutter can bring on more anxiety and confusion.
- Set the environment: Just like your workspace, your environment is also important. A clean and ordered space can help your mindset and reduce stress. When you know where things are placed, it enables you to think clearer and relax.
- Write it down: First, write down everything that you have to do. Then, organize the tasks by deadline and importance. If the item doesn’t have a deadline, give yourself one. Then place the tasks on your weekly and daily to-do lists. As you complete tasks, check them off and see how far you’ve come.
- Reward yourself: If you have completed tasks, reached your goals, and feel good about it, celebrate.
- Journal and document: If there are times that you focus better or have difficulty sleeping, write that down. You can also journal about your thoughts and feelings. You may wish to share your journal when discussing your progress with your doctor.
If you are not on medication and try the techniques described, there may be some improvement depending on the severity of ADHD. Due to some of the side effects of medication, some people may not want to take prescription medicine for ADHD.