It is hard to focus and concentrate on the work we are doing. If you have ever found it tough to get through a challenging task at work, or studied for an important exam, or spent too much time on an easy project, you may have wished to increase your ability to concentrate. Concentration is essentially the mental effort you direct towards a particular task at the moment. It is often confused with attention span, but attention span refers to the amount of time you can focus on something.

Here are 5 ways to maintain your focus:

1) Kill any and all distractions

While it may sound an obvious way to focus, people often underestimate just how many distractions at hand prevent us from concentrating. Such intrusions may come from background music, perhaps an obnoxious co-worker, or someone who constantly drops by to chat. In order to maintain your focus, minimize these sources of distractions. It may not always be easy, but simply getting to a room where you can’t hear the television or drawing a boundary with your co-worker or sibling may be highly beneficial in the long run.

2) Employ Pomodoro Technique

Staying focused helps you get a lot more done in a lesser amount of time. While that may sound simple, it is not always easy to put this technique into practice. This method helps you train your mind to stay on task for short periods.

  1. Set your timer for 25 minutes to get to work right away.
  2. When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break.
  3. Then set the timer again and get to work.

Once you have done at least 4 rounds of this, you can take a more extended break which may last approximately 20 to 30 minutes.

3) Clear your mind

Spending time clearing the mind altogether is helpful. This does not necessarily mean meditation but rather eradicating any digital distractions, for example, turning off the radio in the car or leaving the music device at home when you go for a run. At work, make sure to move your body frequently to stimulate your body and your mind. Stepping away from your work frees up your brain and allows it to think more deeply.

In this day and age of information, there is such a thing as information overload. You would think the more information, the better, but our brains are incapable of going too deep into multiple things. Fewer choices allow you to think more deeply, ultimately leading to changing our brains for the better.

4) Sleep better

Sleep deprivation disrupts concertation, along with other cognitive functions like memory and attention. Infrequent sleep deprivation may not cause too many problems, but regularly failing to get a good night’s sleep can not only affect your performance at work but also your mood. Being too tired can even slow down your reflexes, affecting your ability to drive or do other essential daily tasks.

5) Take a breather

Taking a break from work increases your concentration. It may sound counterintuitive, but experts say it actually works. Take short breaks in between assignments when you feel your concentration drop. Consider this a short mental break. Refresh with a cool drink or a nutritious snack, take a quick walk or go out to get some sun. When you return, you will feel a lot more focused, motivated, or even creative. Breaks help boosts these functions and more.

Maintaining focus may be challenging, but it is achievable. Just like any other muscle, you can train your brain to concentrate.

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