As you’ve probably guessed, we’re huge fans of all things technology — we can do things now with software and apps that we couldn’t have even dreamed about ten years ago!
But there is a downside to all this, which is that everything being pretty much instant doesn’t really lend itself to the prolonged focus required for concentration. If that’s sounding (perhaps a bit uncomfortably) familiar, try these tips to top up your concentration:
Make sure you’ve taken care of the physical stuff first.
There’s no way that you can concentrate well if you’re tired, hungry, or stressed — and while you can push through for a while on adrenaline, but you won’t be able to keep it up for long, and it’s not worth the inevitable crash. So as simple as it sounds, make sure you eat good food when you’re hungry, drink lots of water, and get enough sleep.
Again, pretty common sense … but hard to follow through with in practice! Even little things that you wouldn’t think would have an impact, like notifications from your phone or on your desktop, can really derail you. In fact, studies show that it takes an average of 15 minutes for you to be able to fully concentrate again after every interruption, so make sure you put your phone on silent and turn off your notifications when you need to really concentrate.
Work in short bursts, not marathon sessions
As humans, we have natural limits on how long we can concentrate. While this varies from person to person and according to the task you’re doing, for most people and most tasks, this peaks at about 20 minutes. So if you really want to make the most of your concentration, break your work up into 20 minute chunks, and make sure that you don’t go longer than an hour without taking at least a short break.
Although multitasking has gone through a period of popularity in the past few years, studies show that it’s actually terrible for your productivity because it spreads your concentration around to a bunch of tasks. Even people who think they’re really good at multitasking perform worse when they multitask than when they focus on one thing, so just don’t bother with it. Instead, focus on one task at a time and try to get into flow with it — that deep state of concentration where you get completely absorbed in it.
Your turn: what are your best tips for concentrating? Tell us below in the comments!