Currently, most people lack concentration. The problem is acute in college students due to a lack of focus. Focus helps you achieve your goals quickly. When the mind wavers, the thoughts are scattered resulting in decreased performance and productivity. Hence, it is essential to improve your concentration to achieve success in your personal, professional, and social life.
People find it challenging to concentrate due to various reasons including information overload. Previously people craved information and presently people are bombarded with information. It has become a problem of plenty.
When your mind is scattered, you cannot concentrate whereas when your mind is focused, you can concentrate effectively. It is like the rays of the sun when focused upon an object with the help of sunglasses, it produces a heat many times greater than the scattered rays of the same source of light and heat. Hence, when you invest your efforts with a focus, you achieve quicker outcomes. Here are some techniques to improve your concentration.
- Take rest for some time every day to enhance your concentration. Reflect your thoughts at this time so that they don’t disturb you when you intend to focus on your core activity.
- When you read any newspaper article or chapter in the book, rewrite it concisely without compromising the essence. It helps you enhance your concentration on reading.
- Find out your biological clock to concentrate. Some people concentrate when there is a background soft music while some people concentrate when there is no noise at all. Find out what suits you and adopt it. Ideally, it is better to remain in a quiet place to increase your concentration.
- Take a break and walk around the room for a couple of minutes as it helps you get more oxygen to your brain. When you sit for a longer duration, blood tends to pool in your lower body and legs due to gravity.
- Find out how much time the task will take to complete. If you feel that you have adequate time to complete, start working on it. It helps you concentrate effectively since you have already decided to devote your time to the activity. Avoid distractions during this time. In this way, you can avoid switching costs involved in time by shifting from one activity to another.
- Divide your tasks into high-attention and low-attention tasks. The high-attention tasks need heavy concentration. When you are confident that you have enough time and can concentrate, you can undertake them. Otherwise, you may consider opting for low-attention tasks.
- Count from 1 to 100 and backward. Counting backward appears to be awkward but it requires a great degree of concentration to do it.
Practice Trataka/Candle Gaze Exercise
Most people find it challenging to concentrate due to hectic activities and complexity. To enhance your concentration, you can gaze at the flame. Phil Nuernberger in his book, The Quest For Personal Power recommended “Candle Gaze Exercise” to improve your concentration. You must do this exercise in a dark and quiet room. Watch the flame which must be placed approximately an arm’s length in front of you and should be at the same level of your eyes to enable you to hold your head steady and gaze straight ahead. Ensure that the flame remains steady during the concentration. Avoid blinking as far as possible. Do it without wearing any lenses or glasses. Do it preferably for 20 minutes every day. Don’t push too hard. Avoid straining your eyes. If you get a headache, it means you are pushing too hard. This candle gaze exercise is also known as the ‘Trataka’ technique. With this exercise, apart from increasing your concentration, you can also improve your eyesight, vision, intelligence, memory, willpower, decision-making ability, and inner peace. It helps overcome mental, behavioral, and emotional ailments and sleep-related disorders such as headaches, insomnia, nightmares, etc.
In the beginning, you may feel that the eyes begin to water after only a few minutes. However, with practice, your eyes will be able to continue the gaze for longer periods and you can practice Trataka for up to twenty minutes or so.
At times, when I write a book, too many other ideas strike my mind simultaneously and I find it challenging to concentrate on authoring my book. Hence, I cultivated the practice of jotting down the ideas that simultaneously popped up my mind. After jotting down those ideas, I concentrate on authoring my book again. In this way, I will have the cake and eat it too. It is quite natural to lose focus from your core ideas and thoughts but you must be in a position to capture other ideas that strike your mind and recapture the flow of doing your activity.
To summarize, avoid interruptions; focus on one activity; avoid multitasking; take regular breaks to recharge yourself; and identify the time the task takes and initiate to complete it effectively. Follow these steps and tips to improve your concentration to achieve all-round success in your life.
The bottom line
Set a SMART goal, SMART stands for:
- Specific. What exactly needs to be done?
- Measurable. How will you track your progress?
- Achievable. Is it realistic? Can it be done by the deadline?
- Relevant. How does it fit with the overall plan or bigger goal?
- Timely. When does it need to be done?