For most people, this is a tiny bad habit and a waste of time. But research shows that it’s actually a thinking tool, a powerful exercise that can be beneficial to our ability to focus. What’s more, it helps you be more mindful, productive and creative. So, being a doodler may be one of your biggest assets. During a business meeting or a lecture, it’s what lets you listen more carefully, and not just remember more from what’s being said, but also internalise it. When you’re procrastinating because you don’t know where to start, aren’t feeling like it or are just distracted, begin doodling. You’ll come up with ideas and your mind will be recharged.
2. Create a not to-do list
To-do lists are one of the simplest productivity tools out there, but they still serve us well. How about a not to-do one? Together with writing down what you need to get done during the day and crossing off an item whenever it’s completed, you can also have a section for the things you should avoid doing, like bad habits and things that make you procrastinate and lose focus. You’ll first need to identify the biggest distractions from daily life. How does this help you? Well, you become aware of the main factors that are preventing you from concentrating and keep them in mind throughout the whole day. Sometimes, just a quick reminder of what we shouldn’t be doing, or even thinking about, can work wonders. Some items you can include are checking email too often, not using social media when you’re doing your most important work for the day, not overthinking before starting a project, not multitasking, not thinking about the work you’ll be doing later (but focusing on what’s next on your list and giving it your undivided attention).
3. Do something completely different
When you’re about to get to work and can’t seem to focus, just go do something else for a while. That tip doesn’t make sense until you give it a try. It’s similar to the idea generation process, where you can come up with more ideas when you stop thinking about it. So whenever you’re distracted, instead of trying too hard to concentrate on your task, go out for a walk, have a quick workout, have a quick chat, call a friend, declutter your room or put some music on and dance for a few minutes. In the previous article we gave some tips on “How can we declutter our mind and spirit to live more peacefully, happily, and freely?” When you get back to what you were doing, you’ll find it easier to concentrate and will feel fresh and be in a better mood.
4. Chew gum
It’s proven to improve our mind and productivity and help us focus for longer. According to a study at the Cardiff University, gums are quite practical when you’re facing a continuous activity. So the next time you need to work on something that’s either boring or takes too long, chew gum and keep your focus.
You’ve probably heard of that one, but people talk mostly about its overall effects in the long run. Yes, meditation improves your health in many ways, from strengthening your immune system, reducing blood pressure and decreasing your chances of many diseases, to dealing with depression and managing ADHD symptoms. But it’s also fantastic for concentration enhancement. Turning it into a daily habit means you’ll learn how to be present, how to focus on one thing for longer (by practicing this using your breath in the beginning) and how to let go of random thoughts, which are often the reason we can’t shut off our brain. But it can also be used as a quick solution. When getting to work, have a 5-minute meditation session right before that. You don’t need anything specific other than some solitude. Incorporate zen techniques to your life. Breathe deeply, concentrate on one thought, be at ease and be in the present moment. You’ll instantly lower your heart rate. The deep breaths will help you increase the oxygen supply to your brain and make it work better.
Enhance your brain power Now that you have new productivity techniques to test, you can stop blaming others for interrupting you while working, stop feeling bad about not being efficient but still doing nothing about the tasks on your list, and stop hoping for things to change without your role. Luckily, concentration can be boosted daily, even if you dedicate it 5 minutes or so. The long-term effect, however, will be tremendous. Is meditation concentration? Once you enhance your brain power, you’ll see other changes happening in your life. You’ll remember things with ease and that may be beneficial to your social life and relationships (people are honored when you remember details about their life or something they said a long time ago, for example). You’ll excel at work and others will notice that. Your work will never overwhelm you again.
As for learning new things, that will become a piece of cake as gaining knowledge and developing skills is all about how good your memory is, whether or not you can concentrate easily and stay focused for a longer period of time. So, how will you enhance your concentration today?