Increasing Attention Span: How to Improve Concentration

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Concentration means focusing on one activity at a time while taking your attention off everything else. Just like any other muscle in your body, concentration can be strengthened through regular practice.

While everyone has a different natural ability when it comes to concentrating, there is lots you can do to maximize on the ability you’ve been given. Here are some things you can start on today.

Tips: How to Improve Your Concentration

1. Clear distractions to improve concentration. This is a must! Turn off your phone and leave it in a different room, turn off all social media, turn off the TV, turn off any music, put away tempting games, log out of all emails…emails are usually not urgent…but a great way to get distracted. Find a quiet and low traffic area where you can work.

2. Prepare your work area to increase concentration. Have everything you’ll need at hand, including a glass of water, eraser, pens/pencils, USB key, etc. This way you’re less likely to get up and be distracted elsewhere.

3. Minimize multitasking to improve attention span. How often do you multitask? What kinds of things do you multitask on—probably things that are completely unrelated? Work on one thing at a time…get it done….work on the next, get it done…etc. This way you won’t need to refocus and refocus and then refocus again and again.

4. Prioritize, organize, and schedule your plan. Organization is important and so is a schedule. Make a list of things that need to get done in the first half of the day and the second half of the day. Your concentration really does depend on your ability to get organized.

5. Work with a sharp mind for better concentration. Depending on what you need to work on, schedule tasks based on when you’re able to think the best. More challenging activities need a fresher mind. Less challenging activities are OK with a slightly tired mind.

6. Take regular breaks to relieve concentration. If necessary, have a timer handy so you can schedule your work and break periods. Start off with 5 minutes of work without ANY distraction and 1 min 30 seconds of break. When you feel you could do more, do 10 minutes of undistracted work and 3 minutes of break. Work your way up to 30 minutes of work time and 5 minutes of break. During your break get up and do something completely unrelated to what you’re working on. For example, if you’re working on the computer, don’t spend your entire break on the computer doing ‘fun stuff.’ You’ll tire yourself faster when you return to work.

Best Wishes!

Ivana, Youth and Young adult Life Coach

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