When asked what made her successful, TV news anchor Diane Sawyer said “I think the one lesson I’ve learned is there is no substitute for paying attention.” Success may be attributed to a lot of things, but definitely not the least of them is a success mindset. Unfortunately, trying to concentrate and maintain attention is not as easy as it sounds. Here a few tips to help you focus better.
The Rule of Five More
Often, when feeling overwhelmed or just plain bored, people stop in the middle of a task and just give up. In these instances, remember to just do five more! Read the next five pages. Answer five more of those algebra problems. Add just five more sentences to that paper. Run on that treadmill for five more minutes.
You need to train yourself to push past exhaustion or frustration and continue with the task at hand. By continuing even when your brain says you’re tired, you will develop mental endurance and concentrating on the things you need to focus on would get progressively easier.
One Thing at a Time
Although the brain is fully capable of multitasking, it is still much more efficient if you would think about only a single task at a period of time that you yourself set. This can be difficult, especially if you have a million things going on in your life, but train yourself to prioritize tasks and when you do, give your complete attention to the task that you are currently working on.
Making a to-do list could also help in getting your mind off the less important stuff that you shouldn’t be thinking about. Not only does this make your day more productive, but also frees your mind of unnecessary worrying and allows you to fully concentrate on your top priority concern.
Do Away With Procrastination
Procrastination can be so tempting and probably one of the most difficult to conquer. The key here is realizing that the task won’t go away and would not get any easier if you put it off. In fact, it might just get more difficult and take more of your time and your mind than it’s supposed to.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
The next time you need to concentrate 100% on something, like when you’re reading a textbook for an exam, try creating a tunnel vision for yourself by covering the sides of your head with your hands. We can also take the phrase not so literally and just put away everything that could distract you like your smartphone, laptop, etc. Take all the distractions away and your mind can instantly focus on what it should be doing.