top 5 tips to improve your concentration
Post on 11-Apr-2015
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Top 5 Tips to Improve Your ConcentrationFrom Sam HornAbout.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board
When TV newscaster Diane Sawyer was asked the secret to her success, she said, "I think the one lesson I've learned is there is no substitute for paying attention." Are you thinking, "I agree, but HOW do we improve our ability to focus and maintain attention -- no matter what?" These five FOCUS tips can help you concentrate better -- whether you're working in a busy office, studying at school, sitting in a meeting, or trying to finish a project. F = Five More Rule There are two kinds of people -- those who have learned how to work through frustration, and those who wish they had. From now on, if you're in the middle of a task and tempted to give up -- just do FIVE MORE. Read FIVE MORE pages. Finish FIVE MORE math problems. Work FIVE MORE minutes. Just as athletes build physical stamina by pushing past the point of exhaustion, you can build mental stamina by pushing past the point of frustration. Just as runners get their second wind by not giving up when their body initially protests, you can get your "second mind" by not giving up when your willpower initially protests. Continuing to concentrate when your brain is tired is the key to S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G your attention span and building mental endurance. O = One Think At a Time Samuel Goldwyn said, "If I look confused, it's because I'm thinking." Feeling scatter-brained? Overcome perpetual preoccupation with the Godfather Plan -- make your mind a deal it can't refuse. Yes, the mind takes bribes. Instead of telling it NOT to worry about another, lesser priority (which will cause your mind to think about the very thing it's not supposed to think about!), assign it a single task with start-stop time parameters. For example, "I will think about how to pay off that credit card debt when I get home tonight and have a chance to add up my bills. For now, for the next thirty minutes from 1-1:30 pm, I will give my complete focus to practicing this presentation so I am eloquent and articulate when pitching this proposal to our VIP clients." Still can't get other concerns out of your head? Write them down on your to-do list so you're free to forget them. Recording worrisome obligations means you don't have to use your brain as a "reminder" bulletin board, which means you can give your undivided attention to your top priority task. C = Conquer Procrastination
Don't feel like concentrating? Are you putting off a task or project you're supposed to be working on? That's a form of procrastination. R. D. Clyde said, "It's amazing how long it takes to complete something we're not working on." Next time you're about to postpone a responsibility ask yourself, "Do I have to do this? Do I want it done so it's not on my mind? Will it be any easier later?" Those three questions can give you the incentive to mentally apply yourself because they bring you face to face with the fact this task isn't going away, and delaying will only add to your guilt and make this onerous task occupy more of your mind and time.
U = Use Your Hands as Blinkers Picture your mind as a camera and your eyes as its aperture. Most of the time, our eyes are "taking it all in" and our brain is in "wide-angle focus." We can actually think about many things at once and operate quite efficiently this way (e.g., imagine driving down a crowded highway while talking to a friend, fiddling with the radio, keeping an eye on the cars beside you, and watching for your exit sign.) What if you want to switch to telephoto focus? What if you have to prepare for a test and you need 100% concentration? Cup your hands around your eyes so you have "tunnel vision" and are looking solely at your text book. Placing your hands on the side of your face blocks out surroundings so they are literally "out of sight, out of mind." Think about the importance of those words. Want even better news? Does the name Pavlov r-r-r-ring a bell? If you cup your hands around your eyes every time you want to switch from wide-angle to telephoto focus, that physical ritual becomes a Pavlovian trigger. Remember? Pavlov rang the bell, fed the dog, rang the bell and fed the dog, until the dog started salivating as soon as he heard the sound of the bell. Similarly, using your hands as blinkers every time you want to narrow your focus teaches your brain to switch to "one track" mind and concentrate on your command. S = See As If For the First or Last Time Want to know how to be "here and now" and fully present instead of mindlessly rushing here, there, and everywhere? Frederick Franck said, "When the eye wakes up to see again, it suddenly stops taking anything for granted." Evelyn Underhill said, "For lack of attention, a thousand forms of loveliness elude us every day." I constantly relearn this lesson. One time I was giving my sons their nightly back rub. Although I was sitting right next to them, I might as well have been in the next country because I was thinking of the early morning flight I needed to take the next day and wondering if I had packed my hand-outs, if my ticket was in my purse, etc. Suddenly, my unfocused eyes fell upon my sons and I truly SAW Tom and Andrew as if I was looking at them for the first time. I was immediately flooded with a sense of gratitude for these
two healthy, thriving boys. I felt so blessed to have been gifted with such wonderful sons. In an instant, I went from being absent-minded to being filled with a sense of awe and appreciation for their presence in my life. Next time your mind is a million miles away, simply look around you and really SEE your surroundings. Study that exquisite flower in the vase. Get up close to the picture on the wall and marvel at the artist's craftmanship. Lean in and really look at a loved one you tend to take for granted. This will "Velveteen Rabbit" your world and make it come alive in your mind's eye. What people have said about concentration
"I used to think the human brain was the most fascinating part of the body, and then I realized, 'What is telling me that?'" - Emo Phillips "I'm getting so absent-minded and forgetful. Sometimes in the middle of a sentence, I . . . " - Milton Berle "Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen, even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind." Leonardo da Vinci "Tell me to what you pay attention, and I will tell you who you are." - Jose Ortega y Gasset I would go without shirt or shoe sooner than lose for a minute the two separate sides of my head." - Rudyard Kipling "It's not that I don't want to listen to people. I very much want to listen to people. I jut can't hear them over my talking." - Paula Poundstone
About Sam Horn Sam Horn is the author of ConZentrate. Sam's four books from St. Martin's Press have received critical acclaim from Investors Business Daily, Publishers' Weekly, Chicago Tribune, Readers Digest, and Washington Post, and have been published in more than twenty countries including China, Japan, France, Canada, Israel, and Germany. Foreign Service Journal said, "If you use the strategies outlined by Horn, it will change your attitude, the attitude of others, and the way others treat you." Sam has had the opportunity to speak to more than a half million people in more than 35 states since 1981. Her keynotes, training workshops, and conference presentations consistently receive excellent evaluations for being full of fun, real-life ideas participants are motivated to use immediately at work, at home, and in their community. She was the top-rated speaker at both the 1996 and 1998 International Platform Association conventions in Washington DC, and won the 2003-2004 Outstanding Capital Speaker Award.Things Youll Need: Electronic Personal Organizers Wall Clocks Calendars
Personal Organizers Stopwatches
Create a space designated solely for work. If that space is your desk in a work office, for example, use it only for work ' step away from it when taking breaks or eating. Step2 Form a strong association between working and your desk to make concentrating easier. Step3 Remove surrounding distractions. Turn off the ringer on your phone and, if possible, shut down your computer if you will be tempted to surf the Web. Step4 Assemble all the materials you will need (books, paper, charts). You want to avoid getting up to retrieve materials and distracting yourself. Step5 Set a specific production goal and give yourself a manageable chunk of time (perhaps 1 to 2 hours) in which to achieve this goal. Step6 Create pressure by scheduling meetings or other interruptions to force yourself to work more effectively during a shorter period of time. Step7 Reward yourself after each period of intense concentration with a small break.
Tips & Warnings Work at a time of day when you know you are alert. Work with another person nearby ' someone whose work habits you respect and who will not distract you ' to encourage yourself to concentrate more fully. Try to stop work at a natural breaking point or after some sort of accomplishment, which will make returning to work easier. Write notes to quickly jog your memory when you resume. Try jotting down ideas as you think or notes as you read. The act of writing can force you to devote attention to the task at hand and discourage your mind from wandering. Writing also helps you process and clarify information.
Develop an interest in your work, from which concentration naturally follows. Avoid expecting to work with maximal effectiveness for long, unbroken stretches of time, as there are limits to anyone's powers of concentration
How to Improve Your MemoryBy eHow Education Editor Rate: (26 Ratings) Scores of books, videos, Web sites and seminars are devoted to memory enhancement. The steps below summarize the main po