6 Strategies That Strengthen Your Powers of Concentration
Most people can only concentrate for eight seconds before experiencing a break in their concentration. A goldfish can concentrate for 16 seconds, so we have some work to do.
The current culture with smartphones, the internet, and on-demand movies isn’t helping!
With so many inviting distractions, it’s easy to see why we have an attention span shorter than a fish.
Strengthen your ability to concentrate with these strategies:
1. Practice meditation.
This is a great way to learn to focus. Studies regularly show that 100% of the participants in meditation courses improve their ability to concentrate.
○ It only takes a few days to see a real improvement. If you can’t afford a class, there are plenty of websites, books and guided meditations available online.
2. Be well-rested and well-fed.
If you’re tired or hungry, you’ll find that distractions are more likely to grab your attention. Take care of your body, and your ability to focus will be enhanced.
3. Practice your concentration skills.
Think of your ability to concentrate as a muscle. It won’t get stronger without exercise. Exercise your concentration for a few minutes each day. Here are a few ideas:
○ Attempt to hold a thought for as long as you can. You can even use a timer.
You might imagine a green elephant sitting in a tree. See how long you can hold that image before your mind wanders.
○ Count slowly in your head. See how high you can count before you forget that you were counting.
It’s also interesting to note how long your mind drifted before you noticed!
○ Sit or stand still for as long as you can. Concentrate on staying as still as you can.
○ Take a walk and keep your attention on your surroundings.
○ Focus your attention on something in your immediate area, such as a book. See how long you can keep your eyes and thoughts on the book.
4. Reduce the stimulation in your environment.
It’s easier to concentrate on something in a quiet and visually boring environment.
Imagine trying to concentrate in a loud environment with neon walls, a movie on the TV, and a lot of people moving around and making noise.
○ Create an environment that supports your ability to pay attention. Declutter your home and work space.
Disorganization saps your ability to concentrate and wastes time.
○ An environment that is too hot or too cold has also been shown to lower the ability to concentrate.
5. Take regular breaks.
You can only concentrate for a period of time before you need a break. Regular breaks will allow you to spend more time each day concentrating.
Avoid waiting until you’re mentally exhausted to take a break. Break when you’re still feeling good.
6. Make lists.
Putting something on a to-do list gives you permission to stop remembering it.
It frees a lot of mental resources when you’re not trying to remember to give Mary a ride home, stop at the store, drop off the dry cleaning, and call your child’s school. Put it all on a list and attack them one at a time.
When you consider how much time is wasted through distraction and a lack of focus, it’s exciting to think about how much more you could accomplish by strengthening your ability to hold your focus for longer periods of time.
You can learn to focus like a Zen Buddhist monk if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. What could you accomplish each day if your powers of concentration were stronger?
Shift From Thinking to Action in 6 Steps
There are many people that do an excellent job of visualizing, setting goals, making plans, and creating contingency plans for every obstacle that might occur on the way to accomplishing a goal.
However, many of these same people never take the first step in the real world. All of their activity is occurring between their ears.
While being clear on your intentions and making plans are important initial steps, nothing actually happens until you take action.
Those that take a lot of action are often successful. Those that take action intelligently and thoughtfully are incredibly successful.
Those that plan and never do anything are never successful.
Follow these steps to switch from planning to action and create real results:1. Set a time limit on your planning phase.
There’s no set amount of time this phase should last. If you’re planning on building a rocket ship to send to Mars, the planning period will be longer than that for a goal of losing 10 pounds of body weight.2. Begin taking some action immediately.
There is always a step you can take immediately. You might need a day or two to plan out your diet and exercise program, but you can throw out all the junk food in your house this moment.
○ Or you could drive to the post office and start the process of obtaining your passport for the trip to China you’re finally going to take.
○ What can you do today to begin working toward your goal? Create a little momentum. Avoid letting a day go by without taking a concrete step toward the achievement of that goal.
○ Plan your daily action as early in the day as possible.
You’ll be less likely to procrastinate, and you might get a surge of motivation while there’s still enough time in the day to do something constructive with it.3. Remind yourself of all the previous times you’ve planned and failed to take that first step.
You’ve thought about doing plenty of things that never moved beyond the planning stages.
It’s easy to feel regretful about the things we failed to do in the past. Good! Use that pain to motivate yourself this time.4. Understand that the difference between a decent plan and the perfect plan is minimal.
The difference that matters is how diligently you put a plan into action.
Getting started is more important than perfecting your initial approach. You can alter your plan as you go.5. Determine the real reason you’re taking too long to actually do something.
It’s an issue of fear. It might be the fear of making a mistake, failing, making the wrong decision for the direction of your life, or maybe you’re afraid of succeeding.
But you can bet that there is fear at the core of your procrastination.6. Create a ratio for the time spent planning vs. the time spent doing.
Many people will spend seven hours each day planning and researching vs one hour of real activity.
Switching those values would be beneficial. The most successful people you can find do more in a day than most of us do in a month.
It’s time to change your life, rather than just thinking about it. Find out how good your plan is, so you can alter it if you need to.
Your thoughts don’t make things happen in the real world.
They just shape the actions you choose to take. So, take that action - today! How did you like this post?
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Cheers, Helene Malmsio
Related Reading: https://www.discoveryhub.net/how-to-stop-procrastinating-right-now.html
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