If you’ve ever struggled to complete a difficult task at work, studied for an important exam, or worked on a difficult project, you may have wished you could improve your concentration. Concentration is the mental effort you direct toward whatever you’re working on or learning at the time. Here are some tips to improve your focus and concentration.
1. Take a break
Take a short mental break when you notice your concentration slipping. Refresh yourself with a cool drink or a nutritious snack, go for a quick walk, or get some sun. Don’t be surprised if you feel more focused, motivated, or even creative when you return to work. Breaks can help improve these and other functions.
2. Listen to music
Turning on music while working or studying may aid concentration, but this will vary depending on the individual. Even if you dislike listening to music while working, using nature sounds or white noise to mask background noises may improve concentration and other brain functions.
3. Drink caffeine
Consider a cup of coffee or green tea if you find your concentration slipping. If you don’t like caffeine, a serving of dark chocolate (70 percent cacao or higher) can provide similar benefits. According to a 2017 study, phytochemicals found naturally in matcha, a type of green tea, not only improve cognitive function but can also help promote relaxation.
4. Avoid multitasking
According to studies, we are not as good at multitasking as we believe. For starters, the brain is not designed to handle multiple tasks at once. We’re actually shifting from one task to another. As a result, none of those tasks can receive our full attention.
5. Set a timer
Setting aside time for specific tasks can help you focus on one thing at a time and reduce the risk of distractions from your surroundings. Setting time limits can also help you focus your energy on the task at hand because you know how much time you have to do it.
6. Make time for exercise
One of the many advantages of regular exercise is improved concentration. Everybody benefits from exercise. A 2018 study of 116 fifth-graders discovered evidence that daily physical activity could help improve concentration and attention after only four weeks.
7. Improve sleep
Sleep deprivation can easily interfere with concentration, as well as other cognitive functions like memory and attention. Sleep deprivation on occasion may not cause too many problems for you. However, failing to get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis can have an impact on your mood and performance at work.