If your concentration skills are lacking, it’s not your fault. No one ever taught you how to concentrate and focus. In fact, most of us are experts at distracting ourselves.
You’re probably pretty good at finding something to keep yourself busy. However, that something probably isn’t very productive. It’s just comfortable or entertaining.
Do you want to be successful or comfortable?
The world we live in is full of distractions. It’s never been more challenging to concentrate than it is right now. If you’re struggling to keep your attention on what matters, you’re not alone.
However, you can greatly strengthen this important skill and enhance your life as a result.
If you’d like to increase your attention span, it’s more effective to start by doing it little by little, especially at first. You wouldn’t try to jog for 20 miles the first time you went running or try to bench press 300 pounds the first time you went to the gym. You’d start at an appropriate level and move forward from that point.
The same goes for training your mind.
See how long you can concentrate on a task before your mind wanders. Is it a minute? Five minutes? Start where you are and move forward from there.
Slow progress is okay. It will pick up. Take your time.
Use these exercises to train your mind to develop greater focus:
1. Be mindful. The best way to increase your concentration is to practice concentrating. Instead of driving to work and daydreaming about work, your finances, or your spouse, put your attention on the road. Keep your attention on whatever it is you’re doing throughout the day.
2. Practice listening. When someone speaks to you, you’re most likely thinking about what you want to say or thinking about something else other than the conversation. Practice putting all of your attention on the other person during a conversation.
3. Sit still. Take a chair and position it so that you’re facing the wall. See how long you can sit in the chair without moving or looking away from the wall. You’ll notice little aches, pains, and itches crop up after a few minutes. Ignore them. They will move to a different part of the body soon enough. How long can you last?
4. Follow the second hand of an analog clock. Watch the second hand of a clock go around and around. How long can you watch the clock without thinking about something else? When your mind wanders, bring it back to the clock. Is it boring? Of course. That’s what makes it challenging.
5. Count backward from 100. Count backwards by ones. Then try sevens, or any other number that appeals to you. How far can you get before your mind drifts away? You might strengthen your math skills, too.
6. Focus on your breathing. Put your focus on your breath and keep it there. See how many breaths or minutes you can maintain your awareness on your breathing before you catch yourself thinking about something else.
7. Listen to instrumental music and try to keep your attention on the music. It’s harder than you think! Without lyrics to help keep your brain engaged, your mind will start daydreaming very quickly.
Very few people can concentrate well. You have a huge advantage if you can develop this important skill. Being able to concentrate well is a superpower when everyone lives in an age of distraction.
Concentration requires practice. If you’re willing to do the work, this power can be yours.