Everyone is busy these days, be it a housewife or a student or a working professional, there is always so much to do for everybody. No matter how well we manage our time there are instances where we hustle throughout the day.
How to Improve your Concentration and Memory?
If you are a student, there a number of tasks to be done- submit the assignments, attend lectures, read and learn, give exams and of course there is social life to be balanced along with all these things.
We believe multitasking is a key to get things done quickly but let me break it to you, ‘multitasking is a myth‘.
The key to get things effectively is to have a strong concentration and good memory.
Concentration is required for things like grasping a study lesson, coming up with a great presentation at work and for things where you require a good deal of analysis.
Why is it Difficult to Have Strong Concentration and Focus?
The human brain is very complex, it thinks of several things at a time, it’s curious and gets distracted very easily. Few things which make us really difficult to concentrate are
1) Negative emotional state
2) Low energy level
3) External distractions
4) Wrong timing
We shall discuss in detail about the simple tasks which will help you to concentrate and focus better. These tips will also help you to sharpen your memory.
Tip1 – Have a Calm Mind
Oh, there are so many tasks to do. I don’t think I’ll be able to do it.
Oh, my God, this is so overwhelming. I can’t do it.
These are the things we say when we have so much at hand to do.
Panic is a killer of concentration and memory.
With the calm mind, you can do things in a much better way. So to improve you memory you need to have a calm mind.
Few ways to calm your mind are:
1) Practice meditation:
Meditation helps you to calm your mind and gives you the energy to start afresh with your tasks.
Meditation helps you to balance your emotions thereby giving you an increased energy and vigor.
You do not need an instructor to learn meditation, simply sit back close your eyes and concentrate on your breath. Meditation of 10 to 15 minutes is enough to make you feel fresh.
2) Calm yourself with music:
It is proven that Beethoven music has a calming effect on the mind and helps to boost concentration.
You can listen to relaxing nature sounds like Ocean waves, waterfall, bird chirps. If you are not a fan of nature sounds, any instrumental song does the same trick.
3) Be in a comfortable environment:
There are lots of noises in our surrounding which are very annoying.
For instance, our phone buzzing constantly, traffic noises, people talking, loud music etc.
If you want to focus you need to be in an ambient environment which has suitable lightning and minimum noises.
Find a place which is comforting and get a chair which is ergonomically comfortable.
4) De-clutter your desk:
It is necessary to have organized desk if you juggle to find things from time to time to lose concentration and focus.
You can beautify the space by hanging pictures which calm your mind.
Tip 2 – Overcoming Distractions
Our mind is very complex and it wanders a lot. Few tips to overcome those are as follows
1) Ban the technology:
Technology has been a boon and it helps a lot in many ways, but the constant buzzing of phone with the notifications and popups distracts us a lot.
If you want to concentrate do not open your emails or check your phone, it’s better to turn your phone off or turn it on silent.
By banning technology you give your brain a chance to focus on few things at a time.
2) Follow promo dero technique:
Don’t get frightened by the complicated name of the technique.
The promo dero technique simply means, focusing on something continuously for 15 minutes and then resting for 5 minutes.
This technique gives you ample time to focus on the thing at hand and at the same time gives your brain a chance to rest.
3) Distraction to do list:
Imagine yourself working on a difficult presentation at work, suddenly you remember that you need to pick up few grocery items while your way back at home.
Your brain starts ticking in a different direction and you lose focus.
To avoid this, it is advised to have a distraction to do list, simply note down your trail of thoughts on a paper and tell yourself that you will focus on it later.
Tip 3 – Planning your work:
Planning is everything. It leads to faster execution and causes far lesser stress.
Do not get bogged down by the difficulty of the task or the number of tasks that you have to do.
Just think which are the tasks to be taken care at the earliest, you can prioritize in your mind or jot it down on a paper.
2) To do list:
Making a to-do list is also a good practice to get your focus stronger and improve your memory.
Jot down all the things that you have to do and scratch out the things if completed can act as a reward and relief, that you completed the entire task you thought of.
3) Assign a time estimate:
In your to-do list assign the time estimation for each task that you have mentioned.
By doing this your brain makes note that he has to focus and complete the assigned task in stipulated time.
4) Switch between tasks:
Menial tasks can cause boredom and difficult task makes you tired. Aim to create a good balance.
It is advised to switch between high and low attention tasks. This way your focus is stable and your mind is not distracted.
5) Identify your peak time:
You might have noticed that your brain is much sharper in the morning whereas you feel dull by end of the day.
Some people are active in the morning while some work well at night. Identify your peak time and do the difficult task at that time.
6) Break a difficult task into the smaller task:
Let us consider an example of making a presentation for your work. It may seem like a huge task to do but the real key here is to break the large task smaller ones.
A presentation can be broken down into smaller task like analysis of off the data, research, planning the flow of the presentation, looking for images that you would be required, and finally making the presentation.
This task can be even better if you assign time limits on each task. When you divide the task, your brain is able to concentrate and focus in a better way
Tip 4 – Taking Care of your Body
It is said that healthy body is a healthy mind, until and unless your body is healthy you will face many difficulties in your concentration and focus.
Read on to know quick and simple healthy tips.
1) Eat healthy foods:
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as it provides nourishment to your body, it consists of vitamins and antioxidants.
You should avoid refined carbs and white sugar as it will make you dull. Artificial sweeteners and MSG should be avoided as it is bad for health.
If you find yourself low in energy and motivation and at the same time have trouble concentrating then you may have a dopamine deficiency.
A protein-rich diet is necessary to create dopamine. Also, foods like apple, bananas, vegetables, oatmeal and chocolate will help you raise your dopamine level and make you feel high on energy.
2) Stay hydrated:
One of the easiest ways to boost your concentration and focus is to drink plenty of water.
Our brain is mostly water, to be precise 75% water. Dehydration may result in losing brain cells and thereby reducing the concentration power.
3) Practice yoga:
Although it is not necessary to do very advanced poses of yoga, but try doing simple yoga poses; it will help to boost the brain power.
Yoga improves flexibility of body as well as makes you attentive and sharp
4) Take Deep Breaths:
Most of us breathe shallowly. Our body needs ample oxygen to create new cells. Work on improving your posture and learn to have deep breaths.
Often when we are engrossed in some work we tend to breathe even more shallowly and hence it makes us very tired. Remember to take deep breaths throughout the day to feel energetic and focus better.
5) Use caffeine wisely:
You cannot deny the fact that we are somewhat addicted to caffeine. It is advised not to drink too much as it will disrupt your sleep.
6) Get enough sleep:
All of us love to chat with our friends on WhatsApp late at night and we forget the track of time.
A healthy adult requires minimum 6 to 7 hours of sleep to function properly.
Do not neglect the sleep as it is a contributes to concentration level throughout the day.
7) Take a walk outside:
Research shows that having a walk in a park can refresh your mind and your focus.
So whenever you feel stuck and unable to concentrate take a stroll in nearby park
8) Take short breaks:
Our mind is unable to focus after 20 minutes so it is advised to take deep breaths, yawn and stretch to feel refreshed.
9) Take a nap:
Studies shows that 30 minutes of nap can boost performance by 34%.
It is a great way to sharpen your attention and be fresh and energetic. A short nap in your busy schedule can make you more productive.
Ideal time of nap is between 1 to 4 P.M. Napping too late in the evening will disrupt your night sleep.
Tip 5 – Avoid Boredom:
If you are bored doing something, your productivity and concentration will surely drop.
Inculcate the below-mentioned ways to avoid boredom and concentrate better
1. Chew gum:
According to a study chewing gum increases your alertness and helps you to perform better.
If you are not a fan of gum, mints are the option for you; it has the same effects as gum.
Simple scribbling can help you relax and give you a little break from something which drains your mind.
Tip 6 – Exercises To Be Alert
Suppose you want to get thinner, you need to gradually start exercise and eventually you reach your goal.
Similar is the case of increasing focus and concentration, you need to work on it and gradually you will be a master of it.
1) Puzzle solving:
Puzzles help your brain to be sharper and give you good practice to focus on one thing at a time.
Few games like crossword and Sudoku are useful to increase focus. It is enjoyable as well as a great way to increase concentration.
There are many memory building games available too.
2) Focusing on watch:
To increase your concentration try to focus on the second hand of the clock and try not to think anything strange that distracts your brain.
3) Avoiding negative thoughts:
Negative thoughts affect your body and mind, whereas positive thoughts help you to work better and feel energetic.
Avoid worrying and being anxious about unnecessary things. By your dedicated efforts you can achieve what you aim.
4) Increase willpower:
There are no specific ways to increase your willpower it is an inner motivation which pushes you to achieve things.
Try to increase your willpower gradually and ask your brain to concentrate and focus well.
Overall a good concentration and strong memory is a result of less distraction, good health and taking frequent breaks. Be positive and surround yourself with people who are organized.
With practice and by following the above-mentioned steps you can surely increase your concentration. Do let me know if any of my advice proved you useful and also share any other tips that you have.