How to improve your focus and concentration

How to improve focus and concentration

At many times of the day, I’m sure we are all in need of a time when we could use deep concentration to get tasks done. It easier said than done, but with a few tools, you can improve this process with real positive results.

 

Why is improving your focus important?

Get more done in less time – Always complaining about not having enough time in your schedule. A task that can normally take a while can be done much more efficiently with deep focus.

Do things better – With the improvement of concentration, the brain can more quickly move to a creative state to solve problems, redirect distraction quicker and improve quality of output.

Self-Rewarding – When you accomplish things faster and better quality, it gives you and your peers more confidence in your work and feeling of self-worth as a reward.

 

What are tools to improve my concentration?

When it comes to improving focus and concentration for study or deep work, most people turn to caffeine for the mind energy whilst others need to lock themselves in a room. Here are some of my favorites techniques:

Tidy Environment – Where ever you are doing your task, ensure it is as clean and tidy before you start. Less mess = less distraction = more production. For example, if you working at a desk, remove all unnecessary items, loose papers, boxes and junk. If you in a work shop, organise tools for the task and have a clean work bench.

Focus Meditation – Along with a regular daily meditation, before I have a task where I know I’m going to need all my focus, I try to clear my head with a quick counting meditation just before I start.

Counting MediationImprove concentration and focus

  1. Sit or stand in the location where you are just about to start work. Acknowledge the environment around you and take a deep breath in and out.
  2. Close your eyes or if you are at a place of work and don’t feel like closing your eyes, look down at your desk or floor
  3. Then count in your head your deep stomach breaths up to 10. 1 in, 2 out, 3 in, 4 out and so on.
  4. Once complete, look at the task or task list and get into it.

Task list – Its important before you go into to a deep state of concentration to have your task or lists of tasks written down ideally before you even do your pre-meditation. Its important if you have multiple tasks, ensure you only do one at a time and cross it off when the task is complete.

Set a time limit – Setting a time limit for each task drives the production side of your brain to subconsciously stimulate focus. Don’t set ridiculously short time limits and don’t make them too long. If it’s a large task that is going to take hours, break it up into 30-45min chunks. This will ensure you get a breather between parts and proper breaks.

Break times are important on large tasks, this ensure you are getting proper hydration, nutrition and mind rest. I normally get some water, go for a quick walk around the block or just get outdoors if I’m behind a desk.

Limit your break time to 10 minutes and try to schedule the task to be complete before or way after a large meal. If you feel you’ve lost your focus mojo after your break, do the quick Focus Mediation again.

Remove Distraction – Set phone to Don’t disturb, turn off all notification (email, social media and web browsing) and only use tools that help get your task done to reduce procrastination.

If you are in a busy office, put a small ‘Please don’t disturb sign between 10-11am’ at your desk. Where headphones which deters common interrupters, or get out of your office and work in a library or park if you can.

Also, make sure you have everything you need to do the task at your disposal. This will reduce diverting away from the task.

Music and Binaural Beats– I have certain music which helps me stay in the concentration groove, its generally the same albums which I play on repeat, when my brain hears them, it knows I’m going into focus mode.Do Binaural beats work

The most profound tool I’ve used to help me get into deep concentration are Binaural beats. They seem to induce focus very quickly and set my mind into work mode.

What are Binaural beats?

Binaural beats are sound waves to put the brain into a relaxed or alert state. Binaural beats in the alpha frequencies (8 to 12 Hz) have increased alpha brain waves to go into deep relaxations. Binaural beats in the beta frequencies (typically 16 to 24 Hz) produce increased concentration or alertness.

I found that Binaural beats work better on some headphones than others. I found this is something to do with air pressure that the earphones creates.

Exogenous enhancementsSupplements and nootropics can give some added mind energy to increase focus. I don’t use these all the time but they certainly do help when extra tired or lacking on focus.

Even teas and coffee are a cost-effective way to stimulate an environment of productivity and concentration. I think coffee is the most commonly used but can have the most side effects on the body.

Exercise your body – Moving the body and getting the blood pumping before and during breaks of your deep absorption for work can provide major improvement in mental performance.  There are new studies everyday highlighting the importance of exercise and brain benefits.

 

Hope this information ensures you achieve brilliant focus and concretion for your next tasks.

Do you have any special tip for focus? Please add them to the comments below.

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20 Comments on How to improve your focus and concentration

  1. Great article! I think I will try a few things you wrote here, the first would be to clean up my desk because it is a mess and you are so right about less distraction = more production.
    I also want to try doing the breath exercise you wrote about along with the time limit for each task. But sometimes I give a task a time limit but it takes more than I expected and I get frustrated that I didn’t finish everything I had planed, what would you suggest to do?
    Paulina

    • Hey Paulina,
      I think first you should try not get frustrated when things don’t go as planned. It will just set pressure when you set the next time limit for the next task.
      For you next task, estimate the time and then add an addition 10% to that time. It may work out more accurately or help you judge the next task.

      What are the common items that slow you down when you are trying to focus?

  2. Yes, to stay in focus time and place are important elements. We should not underestimate the importance of visual elements as well.

  3. Love these tips!
    I am a huge advocate of brain training and meditation. I believe that some of the most successful people in the world use meditation as a daily practice.
    I use a program called zen12 which is fantastic and I play this on repeat whilst working which improves brain function.
    I found your article really interesting, thank you for sharing it with us.
    Best wishes.

    • Yes, breath work becomes so natural when we practice it regularly. It also can go the other way when we have bad breathing habits which hinders our focus.
      Glad to hear you breathing technique is sound.

  4. I like these tips and suggestions, Vince. I can’t agree more that a tidy environment helps you focus and concentrate more. You simply can not work at your best when you have all these documents and paperwork in your view. Setting a time limit was something I’ve been thinking about doing for a very long time now, but I’ve never actually tried it. However, you seem like an expert, so I’ll take your word for it and give it a go. Cheers!

    • Thanks for your comment Brandon. I found the time limit was the tipping point for maximizing my concentration. I’m certain if you set time limits you will see massive improvements.

  5. Hey Vince,

    A really good informative article,,, I really need to get my focus on. I get so easily distracted and it doesn’t help that my toddler interrupts me every 5 minutes and has claimed my office/workspace for singing songs on Youtube. lol

    I am now forced to work in my son’s bedroom which is not fun cause he has stuff everywhere that I am not allowed to touch.

    But anyway,,, I have taken off the Facebook app and messenger off my phone and I find that has helped me focus more and I try to do just one task at a time…..

    I am eager to try those Binary beats you are talking about,,, I have heard they help. Which ones would you recommend?

    Wil tries some of your tips, thanks for a great read.

    Rose

    • Thanks for your feedback Rose.

      I too have 2x 3 year olds which are my happiest moments but my biggest distractions. I’m forced out our house sometimes to do work to the local library as they occupy every room.

      I’m hoping to have a article out soon covering different Binaural Beats you can find as apps or on the web. So just stays posted 🙂

  6. Great tips Vin! Now I know why I like to sip tea while I work on my computer and tidy things up around the area! Glad it’s all for good. Binaural beats I never heard could do that, so I’m definitely going to check that out. Anything I can do to increase my concentration, I’m all for. I found that exercise daily helps with my energy to be an entrepreneur, but knowing that it also helps my concentration is another boon.

  7. Great article Vince, I totally get you by having a clean organised environment. I have a problem where I have to clean my whole entire house before I do “personal tasks” like my blog… and then I get so tired I can’t do it. So I think I need to do what you said and set a time limit. So that my cleaning doesn’t go on too long to get anything else done.
    Always helpful information you have.

  8. Thank you for sharing this little step-by-step guide to improve my concentration, I’ll try the counting meditation before I’ll start working.
    Do you have any idea if this method could also help improve my memory? I was taking Omega 3 for months and didn’t see any improvement… will appreciate your thoughts

    Thanks again for sharing
    Best regards

    • Hi B, Omega 3 via good quality fish oil are what many recommend but I found super green powers have exceeded my expectations in memory and focus in supplements. But meditation will by far be the best way to improve memory.

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