How to improve your concentration skills — 5 exercises for a better focus

May 24, 2018 · 4 min read

The ability of attentiveness or paying attention, cannot just be seen as a fully concentrated state of mind in which your are totally focused on something without being disturbed by anything around you.

This ability is a little bit more because sustaining your attention for a long time makes you even better to perform on all sorts of cognitive tasks. Here are five tipps which can help you to focus better an improve your daily workflow and output.

1. Pay attention

If you want to memorize information you need to pay attention on whatever you do. Unless your are not doing so you can’t take any input or given information in. And as long as you don’t take any information in there is nothing to remember. The best way and nowadays the first step to get in the right state of mind to paying attention is to avoid distraction by smartphone and internet and get enough sleep and a healthy diet.

2. Use Mnemonics

Mnemonics are techniques that can support your brain to memorize anything. If you are trained in this techniques you can easily rembember long chains of numbers, names or any other things you like. There are many different techniques to learn and for different purpose. But the main idea of this is to make a connection between information and things like images, sentences, acronyms or rhymes. For example if you are a teacher and you need to remember all the names of your new class you can start to combine those names with a picture or connect them with knowledge which you already know. If you want to dive deeper in this topic of follow mnemonics this link.

3. Create a to-do list out of your distractions

To stay focussed and highly concentrated for many peolpe is the most challenging thing. Nowadays we have so many possiblities to get distracted by your own thoughts and follow it right away. Because as soon as a thing pops up you can check it on the internet, whether it’s a chat, a post on a social media platform or even a question you check on wikipedia. For this reason you drift away from what you are actually doing. So, the best thing you can do about it is to create a distraction list. As soon as such a idea, question, chat or thought pops up just make a quick note and push it away. Once you are ready you can still check on this things and somethime you realize that they weren’t that importand or you just answered them by yourself.

4. Improve your curiosity

The more you stay curious about the world around you the better your concentration skills. William James, a philosopher and psychologist, one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and one of the most influential philosophers the United States, suggests a simple experiment. This expemriment shows how staying curious about an object you attend on can expand your ability to stay focused on it:

“Try to attend steadfastly to a dot on the paper or on the wall. You presently find that one or the other of two things has happened: either your field of vision has become blurred, so that you now see nothing distinct at all, or else you have involuntarily ceased to look at the dot in question, and are looking at something else. But, if you ask yourself successive questions about the dot, — how big it is, how far, of what shape, what shade of color, etc.; in other words, if you turn it over, if you think of it in various ways, and along with various kinds of associates, — you can keep your mind on it for a comparatively long time. This is what the genius does, in whose hands a given topic coruscates and grows.” (quote in “Talks to Teachers on Psychology: And to Students on Some of Life’s Ideals” p. 85)

5. Take a rest

Maybe the most enjoyable thing in all these exercises. One of the biggest factors that has a negative impact on your concentration skills is having not enough sleep or relaxation. Concentration requires that the mind is calm and quiet. The more your brain is in a state of relaxation the better your focus can be. So make sure that you get enough sleep at the right time what requires a healthy biorhythm.


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