In today’s digital world, with diversions just a click away and a constant bombardment of information, being able to stay focused on the task at hand can be a struggle. But the good news is that concentration is a lot like a mental muscle - the more you exercise it, the stronger it will get. Here are our top ten ways to improve your concentration and develop razor-sharp focus.
1. Eliminate distractions
According to research, just seeing our smartphone impairs our ability to concentrate. Block out as much distraction as possible. Close your social media and other apps, silence notifications, and put your phone on mute to avoid being distracted by incoming calls or texts.
2. Practice mindfulness and meditation
3. Get a good night’s sleep
Not getting a good night’s sleep can have a huge impact on your ability to concentrate. Experts recommend getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. Turn off your TV and put your phone away an hour before bed, and wind down instead with some relaxing music, a warm bath, or a book.
4. Vary your diet
The foods you eat can affect your cognitive functions like concentration. To boost your concentration, avoid processed foods and sugar-loaded or greasy foods. Instead try eating more fatty fish like salmon and trout, eggs, blueberries, walnuts, avocadoes and spinach, which have all been shown to support brain health. Studies have also found that eating breakfast can improve your concentration.
5. Take regular breaks
Research has found that even taking very short breaks by shifting your attention elsewhere can dramatically enhance your ability to focus. Take a few moments’ break, with a subtle reminder to get up, stretch your legs, and get a dose of social media or news every 90 minutes.
6. Set a timer
Blocking off time for specific tasks can help you focus on one thing at a time and lower the risk of distractions. Setting a time limit can help you to focus your attention on the task at hand because you know the time you can spend on it is limited.
7. Connect with nature
Boost your concentration naturally by getting outside every day, even for a short while. Spending time in nature benefits your mental wellbeing. Studies have shown that people's mental energy bounced back just by looking at pictures of nature.
8. Train your brain
Playing certain types of brain games can help to improve your concentration. According to research, people who often do crosswords, Sudoku or jigsaws have better brain function later in life.
9. Make time for exercise
Regular exercise is a great way to improve your concentration and your physical health. Studies have shown that people who have an active lifestyle perform better on tasks that require a high level of concentration. Even just 20-30 minutes a day can make a big difference in your ability to focus. Going for a brisk walk or doing some yoga can give you a new sense of perspective and focus.
10. Multitasking is a myth
Scientific studies have shown that the human brain can’t focus on two things at one time, contrary to popular belief. Juggling more than one task at a time dramatically cuts down on your productivity. So try to focus on one task at a time and you’ll see your concentration levels sky-rocket.