“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.”—George Lucas
That sounds grave doesn’t it?
Well, it is certainly a profound statement that may have you pondering over the following question: How do I sharpen my focus and increase my attention span and concentration?
For starters, you should assure yourself that concentration can be improved. Yes, it is modifiable. Like many of the most sought-after skills of today, laser-sharp focus and long attention spans develop over time. Also, attention and concentration are imperatives when one attempts to move full throttle toward their goals and excel at their studies. Therefore, one must be patient in order to reap the benefits of cutting-edge focus during demanding situations, for example, examinations. Let’s talk about the all important ‘how’!
- What distracts me? Jotting down the situations and feelings that make you lose your train of thought, especially when you are focussed, is a good way to get off the mark. In doing this, you become aware of the murky waters that pose a peril to the development of efficient time management techniques. However, that’s only half the battle. Being headstrong and quelling the desire for instant gratification go a long way. An unyielding will to not succumb to your distractions fosters razor-sharp focus.
- Know what you want, and know it really well! The popular adage “we are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think” materializes when you zero in on your aspirations. You gravitate toward your goals when you align your actions with your passion and raw desires.
Having shed light on some philosophical underpinnings of concentration and sharp focus, here are a few other tips that will help you work optimally.
- Don’t forget to hit the hay!
You might have heard this one a gazillion times but do not compromise on your sleep, it is definitely a bad idea. Neuroscience tells that humans require sleep to declutter their brains; yes, sleep is a necessity and not an option. Now, I know the larks and owls will be at loggerheads when it comes down to hitting the hay. Invariably, is it elemental to understand that consistency is more important than your conflicting bedtimes. Again, science indicates that one should strive to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night to maintain a healthy brain. Even though the numbers of hours may vary given our busy schedules, we should make a conscious effort to maintain consistency—regular alterations in your bedtime may sabotage your circadian rhythm, which in turn has a detrimental effect on the quality of your sleep.
- Netflix and Study is not chill!
The millennials and the iGens love doing multiple tasks at once. However, psychology suggests that multitasking has a negative impact on one’s attention span and focus. Thus, if you are trying to increase your concentration, please don’t scroll through your Instagram feed while solving a math problem.
- A healthy body certainly means a healthy mind
Stepping out into the open for a brisk walk or a run is a great idea if you are looking to increase your concentration. Medical research suggests that regular exercise promotes the growth of new neural connections in the brain while also preserving existing ones. Increased blood flow into your brain is also beneficial for increasing concentration and shperening focus. In essence, try to incorporate some physical activity into your routine during your exam-prep period.
- Watch your diet
Fancy a Big Mac on the way to school or a 7 layered Taco Bell burrito while studying organic chemistry? Well, there is now conclusive evidence that fast food has a negative impact on the regions of the brain that are responsible for information retention. Thus, refraining from such foods will not only prevent you from high saturated fats and added sugars that hamper higher order cognitive functions, but will also help you stay lean and in shape.
- Watch the clock
Time management is also a crucial factor in building long attention spans and increasing concentration. You don’t want to put yourself in a situation when you do not have enough time to complete your coursework or study the syllabus for your examinations in its entirety. Such situations promote anxiety and a weak work ethic, both of which are not beneficial to the process of developing a storing focus. One must strive to alleviate exam-related stress.
- Design your environment that is conducive to learning
Here’s an interesting hack that will help you increase your concentration during studying: tweaking the lighting and the temperature of the physical setting in which you most often study can impact your concentration and focus. Research suggests that a warmer setting with natural lighting makes for an environment that is conducive to learning. Therefore, your concentration will increase if you avoid dim lighting while studying.
- Go for red
Use color therapy to get a natural concentration boost: Science suggests that red increases our attention to detail, thereby increasing our concentration. The next time you experience mental fatigue while studying, try staring at a red screensaver on your laptop or well pick up the brush and paint that desk red!
- Let the music play!
The rap and EDM enthusiasts will beg to differ but neuroscientific research suggests that classical music improves concentration and helps us retain information in a coherent manner. I personally believe that one may select their preferable genre of music to listen to while studying. Having said that, one must also ensure that the music supplements their focus and does not hinder their learning process. Nonetheless, the sound of silence may also do you a world of good by improving your concentration while studying!
Strong concentration and a laser-sharp focus will definitely help you in studying efficiently and achieving your academic goals. A calm and composed mindset goes a long way in improving one’s concentration while studying. Developing strategies to refine your focus and increase your concentration is half the job done, the other half being a diligent execution of such plans. You must motivate yourself to enrich your work ethic with a sharp focus; always remember that you are in full control of your mental and physical state. We hope that our tips and tricks help you improve your concentration while studying.