How to Improve Concentration: 10 Ways to Focus Better

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Rawpixel

We’ll show you how to improve concentration and focus better on day-to-day tasks – by limiting distractions. Check out our ten focusing strategies.

Your phone buzzes, your email inbox is filling up, your friend sends you another meme and, wait, what is that your coworkers are laughing about? No matter what has driven you to learn how to improve your concentration, staying on track isn’t always easy – and you’re not alone.

There are simply countless distractions at work. We quickly lose focus, can no longer fully concentrate on the task at hand and tend to resort to procrastination.

Utopia will show you how to improve concentration and boost productivity with ten simple tips. Plus, while you’ll notice the increase in output within hours, your coworkers won’t notice a thing.

Here’s a tip: 5 Reasons Why You Should Turn Off Your Phone

How to Improve Concentration: 10 Focusing Strategies to Try Out

How to improve concentration at work home office productivity tips focus better
Wherever you call your workspace, it’s not always easy to eliminate distractions. Here are some methods on how to focus better and improve concentration to try out at home or at work. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Mikey Harris)

According to a study titled “Brain Drain” conducted at the University of Texas, the simple act of keeping your own smartphone in a direct line of sight is enough to make it impossible to concentrate. Yet, sometimes it doesn’t take much to get right back on track. Here’s how to improve your overall concentration in ten simple steps:

  1. Close your e-mail inbox and leave it closed more often. Nobody has to be available all the time. If you have fixed e-mail read and response times, your colleagues, clients and customers will know when they can expect an answer.
  2. Close all chat tools, turn off push notifications and other common sources of distraction such as Facebook. If you find this difficult, the app “StayFocused” is there to help by locking you out of other apps and browsers for a predetermined period of time.
  3. Your private smartphone has no place at work. In addition, there are various apps out there that will let you set which callers have priority and can reach you in urgent cases, even when you are busy at work.
  4. Maintain a minimalist workspace with these clever desk organization ideas.
  5. Give your friends or coworkers a heads-up that you’re in the zone and don’t want to be disturbed.
  6. Noise also serves as a formidable distraction. Look into purchasing some noise cancelling headphones to help you focus better.
  7. If music poses too much of a distraction, you may do better with white noise – and yes, there’s an app for that.”SimplyNoise” produces white noise, a sound that blocks out noise and also relaxes you at the same time. It may seem strange at the beginning, but be sure to give the app at least a few tries.
  8. Multitasking is how we put off completing a task without explicitly procrastinating, however it’s still no way to improve concentration. All effective focusing strategies begin with one task and move on to the next in succession.
  9. Don’t put things off. The longer you think about completing small tasks, the more energy and will power it will cost you. Knock out the small things immediately and you’ll have more time and energy to focus on the more important tasks throughout your day.
  10. Reduce stress through deceleration with a digital detox. These tips will help relieve stress amidst the constant pressure to get as much done in as little time as possible. Our phones surely improve productivity, yet they’re also to blame for the added stress that accompanies being able to do more with our time. One way to fix this: Find a cure for your tech addiction.

Learn how to focus better with these tips and you’ll become a pro at eliminating all of the most common sources of distraction present throughout your workday. Now it’s time to explore the various ways how you can improve concentration and maintain focus by getting into and staying in the zone.

Utopia’s tip: Self-Improvement: Why We All Need a Break from Self-Optimization

How to Concentrate: Focused Workflow

How to improve concentration focus better focusing strategies for home office or work
These tips on getting into and staying in the zone will increase output and streamline your workflow. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Free Photos)

The “flow state” or the act of “getting into the flow” (or the “zone”) is one characterized by a mental state of full concentration and acute immersion in a particular task or activity. These tips will show you how to improve your concentration and stay in the zone for longer:

  • Pomodoro technique: A well known technique among focusing strategies, this approach has you set yourself a goal for the next 25 minutes, put it into practice and then take a five minute break in which you consciously do something completely different. After four Pomodoro rounds at the latest, a longer (lunch) break is recommended. Another version of the Pomodoro technique incorporates 48-minute work periods and 12-minute breaks.
  • All-or-nothing principle: Make yourself aware of why exactly you should fulfill the task at hand now instead of later. Then consider the reward and the potential consequences for not getting it done. Convince yourself of your decision’s merits and move on with your day.
  • Breathing exercises: Conscious breathing stimulates the brain. Sit upright and breathe deeply through your nose, up into the diaphragm. Hold your breath for 20 seconds and exhale slowly for about ten seconds through your mouth. Repeat this exercise four times and get going.
  • Meditation exercises and autogenic training support cognitive functions in the brain and strengthen the prefrontal cortex. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for planning and performing actions. Meditation apps also provided ample support.
  • Mindfulness based stress reduction: Learning how to improve concentration through changes to your immediate surroundings is only the first step. It’s also important to remain calm and collected at work, otherwise our new focusing strategies may not prove as successful. Mindfulness means to consciously experience this very moment; to observe your own thoughts and feelings without getting involved in them or attaching value judgments. Mindfulness exercises help you focus better and control your attention, and give your mind the opportunity to rest. 

By the way, relaxation also plays an essential role in how well we’re able to improve concentration. It’s important to find a balance between performance and relaxation. Breaks are valuable and important, even if you are pressed for time. Instead of spending this precious break time sitting at your desk, ideally you should go for a walk (no matter whether to the kitchen or around the block), or do some brief stretches in front of an open window.

How to Improve Concentration: Your Working Memory Workout

Working memory workout ideas tips on how to improve concentration focus better focusing strategies
Working memory workout ideas tips on how to improve concentration focus better focusing strategies (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Congerdesign)

Practice makes perfect. Make mental gains daily by putting your working memory to use for around 30 minutes a day via outdoor exercise, playing a musical instrument, solving sudokus or reading a challenging book. All these activities help to train your working memory and improve concentration.

It’s also important to consistently challenge yourself by always doing a little more than originally planned. Finish the chapter in your book? Read one more page. If your crossword puzzle gets a bit tricky, don’t throw in the towel just yet. This will stretch your working memory and help improve your overall concentration in the long run.

Nowadays, it is widely accepted that one’s ability to concentrate is directly related to various lifestyle choices. This considered, it is essential that you drink and sleep enough, exercise regularly outside, reduce stress and are well supplied with omega-3 fatty acids.

In short: Patience and practice pay off. You too can learn how to improve concentration and focus better on the tasks that count. And with every day of practice, it gets a little easier.

How to Improve Concentration: Practice Makes Perfect

Tips on how to improve concentration and focus better focusing strategies for improved productivity
We’ll show you how easy the first steps are in training yourself how to focus better and learning to improve concentration. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - Koalalaundromat)

How productive people work and how much they achieve is significantly determined by their (learned and unlearned) ability to concentrate. Working memory and attention are two major determiners of this skill.

  • Working memory is the cognitive system we use to remember information briefly and temporarily.
  • Our attention helps us decide what to focus on and what to ignore. The good thing about it: By regularly repeating some of the exercises above, you can train both.

In other words: learning how to concentrate and improve concentration will allow us to pay more attention to the important things and improve our memory.

This article was translated from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Konzentration steigern: 9 Tipps, die dir helfen

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