How to Improve Focus and Concentration? Proven Tips, Activities And Exercises

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How to Improve Focus and Concentration?

Sitting on a desk for hours with a wandering mind even though we have an urgent deadline. Sounds like a familiar situation, right? 

We have all been there where despite our best efforts, we cannot focus and progress in our work. There is a task to complete, and we have enough motivation, but all that’s missing is concentration. 

We all are required to be focused from morning till night, be efficient at work, be on time, and enjoy time with friends and family. However, we easily get distracted and lose focus. 

The good news is with the right mindset and regular practice. We can train our mind to avoid distractions and stay present at the moment. With improved focus, we can become better in our profession and achieve success. 

But the main questions are how to improve focus and concentration? How to increase concentration power? And what are the natural ways to increase focus and concentration?

This article is here to answer all your questions, while discussing the importance of concentration and tips to improve it. But let’s start by understanding what concentration means.

What Is Concentration?

Concentration is the ability to think about and focus on one single thing or subject and nothing else. It allows us to control our attention and mind while excluding other unrelated or insignificant thoughts, ideas, and emotions from our awareness. This is one of the most crucial and hard-to-acquire abilities that a person should possess.

Unfortunately, it is easier to get distracted and lose focus. Our attention usually wanders off, and we find it hard to bring it back to the core subject for a reasonable amount of time. 

For example, while working, we feel the urge to read an email, check Instagram, answer a call, respond to a message, talk to a friend, etc. 

This interrupts our schedule and delays our work and project. Our brain gets overworked in no time, and we soon find it skipping from one topic to another, becoming less effective. 

Well, there are ways to fix this and enhance the ability to focus. There are several activities to improve concentration and train our mind to avoid distractions. 

Also Read: What Is Mantra Chanting?

Importance of Focus and Concentration

Concentration is an important function of the human brain and mind. It is the master ability of our brain that controls all other mental abilities and affects our learning process. Improved focus and concentration have a great impact on our mental performance and brainpower. 

Staying focused on a central task can be beneficial to your career and growth. Practising meditation for concentration can improve our attention span and propel professional success. 

Here are some more reasons why focus is important:

  • Eliminates unwanted or negative thoughts
  • Improves efficiency
  • Helps us control our mind
  • Fewer mistakes
  • Builds momentum
  • Reduce stress
  • Brings inner peace
  • Sharpens the intuition
  • Increases productivity
  • Frees the mind from annoying emotions and thoughts
  • Improves memory
  • Ensures faster results due to creative visualisation
  • Better quality of work
  • Enhances ability to study and work

Why Do People Find it Difficult to Focus and Concentrate?

There are times when we struggle with a lack of concentration. We find it hard to go back to the main subject and wander off. The worst part is we don’t even know the reason we can’t focus. 

Why Do People Find it Difficult to Focus and Concentrate

Next time you are not able to concentrate on something, it’s highly likely because of the following potential reasons:

1. Deprivation of Sleep

When you are sleep deprived or tired, you often lack focus. You can have trouble sleeping due to various reasons, dealing with stress, an unsettled mind, or a TV show that keeps you up all night. 

Sleep deprivation directly affects cognitive function, including memory and cognitive speed. Also, evidence has it that depriving the brain of enough rest and sleep can damage brain cells.

2. Information Overload

When we are bombarded with a lot of information to process while doing something, it causes distraction. It can be checking our phone, replying to a message, reading an article, or browsing through social media. 

In such scenarios, many people practice yoga to improve concentration and focus to get back to work and pay attention to the main task.

3. Unpleasant Tasks

If you don’t like the task you are doing, you try to procrastinate or avoid it by making excuses. Instead, you focus on something else and delay the work as much as possible.

4. Lack of Physical Activities

When we are involved in some sort of physical activity or vigorous exercise, we feel more relaxed and energetic. However, not doing any major physical movement or activity makes our muscles tense. 

We feel tightness in the shoulders, neck, chest, and body. This causes discomfort, which affects concentration. Hence, many recommend regular exercises to keep the body active and improve focus. 

5. Health Conditions

If you are diagnosed with a mental or physical health condition, it can be a reason for your lack of concentration.

6. Distractive Environment and Surroundings

Depending on the place and your task, the environment can have a huge impact on your focus. Loud noise can make it difficult for you to concentrate on your studies or work. However, many can’t focus even when it’s quiet. 

The type of noise also matters, such as soft and soothing music can help you focus while the conversation between two people sitting nearby can derail it. 

7. Overstimulation

When you have a lot on your plate, no wonder you can’t focus on any of those tasks. 

For example, if there is a lot going on at home, you can hardly focus on work, and when you are dealing with a professional issue, you can’t pay attention to something at home. 

Similarly, when you are excited or overwhelmed about something, it causes an adrenaline rush, which leads to anxiety. Thus, creating an inability to concentrate.

8. Lack of Nutritional Diet

What you eat contributes to what you feel. Your mental sharpness and clarity are no exception to it. If you are not consuming a nutritional diet or regular meals, you will experience symptoms like fatigue, lack of concentration, and memory loss. 

A low-fat diet also ruins focus as the brain requires a certain amount of essential fatty acids.

9. Multitasking

Last but not least. Although many assume multitasking is a way to enhance productivity, trying to do multiple tasks at once can cause trouble focusing on even one of them. Also, it results in lower quality of work and leads to frustration and stress. 

Also Read: 10 Proven Tips on How to be Happy in Life

How to Improve Focus and Concentration? 

Now that you know the potential reasons behind the lack of concentration, let’s discuss how you can overcome these problems. Below are some of the most effective tips on how to be focused.

1. Practice Mindfulness and Meditation 

Meditation helps our brain become calmer and our body more relaxed. We learn to focus on our breathing without any distractions, which strengthens mental fitness and improves concentration and focus. 

We gradually learn to concentrate on one specific task even when we are interrupted. Moreover, practising meditation and mindfulness teaches us to focus on the moment. 

Practice Mindfulness and Meditation

Although it’s challenging to let go of the past and not worry about the future, regular meditation encourages us to live in the moment. We learn to acknowledge the impact of the past and concerns about the future and let them go. 

We find peace and calm in the present and focus on what we are doing at that moment. With time and practice, our mind goes in the direction we choose to focus on. You can join online yoga courses and practice meditation with top yoga gurus

2. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Many ask us how to be focused. Well, the answer is to have a disciplined life where you sleep on time and wake up early so you can practice yoga with the first ray of the sun. Make sure to take at least eight hours of sleep every night to be in the best physical and mental state. 

Many factors affect your quality of sleep- being occupied by your smartphones, TV, or laptops is the top one. Despite having office the next day, we opt to binge-watch a TV series. We have fewer hours to sleep and feel tired and lazy the whole day. It also causes us to slow down. So, it’s crucial to get more sleep to stay alert and awake. 

3. Connect with Nature

Here’s one of the most natural ways to increase focus and concentration. Having plants around, whether in the office or at home, increases productivity and concentration. It also improves air quality and workplace satisfaction. 

Moreover, we highly recommend you take a walk in the morning or evening in a nearby park and appreciate nature. When you feel refreshed and relaxed, you are able to concentrate on tasks better. 

connect with nature to increase focus and concentration

Also Read: What is Emotional Detox? 

4. Spare Time to Exercise

Regular exercise stimulates your brain and improves its well-being. When you are engaged in some sort of physical activity, it enhances memory capacity and concentration. You can start with simple exercises and then move on to more difficult ones. 

Regular workout sessions release chemicals important for concentration, memory, and mental sharpness. It also boosts the brain’s norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin levels, which affect focus and attention. 

It has been proved that people involved in sports and physical activities perform better on cognitive tasks and maintain great mental and physical health. This is because physical movements energise the body, relax muscles, and relieve tension. 

Our body feels better, and so does our mind. You can check various forms of yoga poses and exercises to improve concentration. It is among the best tips on how to increase concentration power. 

Spare Time to Exercise

5. Eat Well and Healthy

Our body needs a lot of good fat to function properly. Therefore, we must carefully choose the food we consume to moderate sugar and energy levels. Eat nuts, berries, fruits, vegetables, and high-fibre foods to stay healthy and attentive. 

Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks as they make you feel dizzy and drowsy. Also, research has found that blueberries and nuts boost concentration and memory as they regulate the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain. 

This improves our brain’s ability to focus and learn new information. Leafy vegetables contain potassium, which enhances the connection between neurons and makes the brain more responsive. No matter how much you practice yoga for focus and concentration, if you are not eating right, all your efforts are in vain.

Also Read: How to Boost Self Confidence?

Quick List of Activities to Improve Concentration

Here is the list of activities you can do to improve your focus and concentration:

  • Meditation and mindfulness practices
  • Regular exercise or physical activity
  • Mindful breathing exercises
  • Pomodoro technique (working in intervals)
  • Eliminating distractions (turning off phone notifications, finding a quiet workspace)
  • Prioritizing tasks and setting realistic goals
  • Taking breaks to avoid burnout
  • Improving sleep hygiene and getting adequate rest
  • Eating a balanced and nutritious diet
  • Practicing visualization techniques to enhance focus and productivity.

FAQs Related to Focus and Concentration

1. What are some tips to reduce external distractions?


There are several ways to avoid distractions and improve focus. Using these strategies, you can eliminate external distractions and enhance your productivity and output. 

1. Have a plan before you begin
2. Set a time frame to achieve goals
3. Complete the most difficult tasks first
4. Set smaller and more reasonable goals
5. Allow yourself a shorter time frame to work
6. Leave the distractions behind
7. Get comfortable with the surroundings
8. Get enough sleep
9. Practice meditation
10. Take breaks regularly
11. Reward yourself
12. Prepare your workspace or study space
13. Turn off notifications
14. Be aware when your mind loses focus

For students wondering how to improve concentration and focus while studying, these tips will work wonders for you.

2. What are some tips to reduce internal distractions?


Here are a few tips to avoid mental chaos and find inner peace so you can focus on work:

1. Sleep on time
2. Practice yoga or meditation early morning
3. Eat balanced meals
4. Practice healthy thinking
5. Slow down
6. Find reasons to laugh
7. Set routines
8. Practice self-compassion

3. Can meditation increase concentration and focus?


Meditation helps you train your mind to be present in the moment and aware of everything happening at that time. Gradually, it improves your ability to focus and concentrate, and you become stronger mentally. 

For anyone who’s trying to improve their memory and focus, meditation is an effective way to be more productive and stay attentive. There are several yoga and meditation poses that help you put your attention on a specific task, object, or sound. 

4. How meditation can increase focus and concentration?


Researchers have concluded that our mind is lost in thoughts around 47% of the time. Practice meditation and yoga to improve concentration as they pull the mind away from never-ending overthinking

When done right, it strengthens our mind and makes it more relaxed. Therefore, we are able to focus more and sleep better. Moreover, it builds a more robust immune system and creates greater psychological resilience. 

Here’s how meditation improves concentration.

1. Meditation changes the structure and function of the brain through relaxation
2. Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression
3. Increases focus and concentration while working, learning, or consuming information
4. Improves memory and attention span
5. Builds a stronger immune system
6. Allows better sleep

5. What are the best poses of yoga to improve concentration and focus?


Practice the listed simple yet effective yoga poses to stay focused and live in the moment:

1. Tadasana (Mountain Pose)
2. Vrikshasana (Tree Pose)
3. Garudasana (Eagle Pose)
4. Natarajasana (Dancer Pose)
5. Bakasana (Crane Pose)
6. Ustrasana (Camel Pose)
7. Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
8. Phalakasana (plank)
9. Bhramari pranayama (Bee breathing)
10. Halasana (Plow Pose)

6. Why is sleep important for focus and concentration?


Scientists have studied that lack of sleep affects our ability to focus and concentrate on a task. It hampers our attention, making it difficult for us to excel in our work. We deal with more complex thoughts, struggle with memory, and find learning anything difficult. 

It impairs our executive function, a set of abilities we require to do well in different aspects of life, be it work or studies. On the other hand, quality sleep at night helps us think clearly, consume information accurately, remember information, and make wise decisions. 

An alert brain enables us to be more creative and pay attention to our surroundings. It also hones our problem-solving skills and innovative thinking. 

7. What is the Pomodoro technique and its benefits?


Doing things on time and ticking it off your to-do list is an extremely fulfilling and happy experience. However, we often find it hard to complete tasks due to time constraints. Managing time can be overwhelming and needs a lot of effort and efficiency. 

Hence, an effective time management technique can come in handy to get started and allot time more efficiently. 

That is where the Pomodoro technique comes into the picture. It is a time management strategy invented by Francesco Cirillo when he was struggling with maintaining focus on his work. 

So, he decided to focus on his work for 10 minutes at a time instead of waiting all day for his productivity to increase. He divided his workday into highly-focused chunks separated by short breaks. Moreover, he used a tomato-shaped timer, called a Pomodoro (Italian for tomato), to measure his bursts of focus precisely and keep himself on track. 

Here are the benefits of Pomodoro technique: 

1. Helps you get started
2. Makes work less daunting
3. Improves quality and quantity of your work
4. Prevents exhaustion and stress
5. Increases accountability
6. Manages distractions and time
7. Improves efficiency
8. Improves attention span and focus
9. Boosts motivation
10. Enhances weekly and quarterly planning

8. How does Pomodoro technique work?


Here are the steps to do Pomodoro technique:

1. Before you start, prioritise your work.
2. Set a timer for 25 minutes and focus on the first task.
3. In case of a distraction, note it down on a piece of paper and go back to it later. Continue your work.
4. As the timer rings, it marks the completion of Pomodoro. Take a 5-minute break and start another Pomodoro.
5. After finishing four Pomodori, take a 20-30-minutes break.
6. Repeat this cycle until you complete your work or assignment.

9. What are the best exercises to improve concentration?


Here are some exercises to improve concentration:

1. Focused breathing
Take deep breaths and focus on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your body.

2. Visualization
Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful scene, like a beach or a forest.

3. Memory games
Play games that require you to memorize information, such as cards, numbers, or words.

4. Mindfulness exercises
Focus on the present moment and observe your thoughts and surroundings without judgement.

5. Jigsaw puzzles
Put together a jigsaw puzzle to improve visual-spatial awareness and concentration.

6. Reading
Read a book or article, and try to concentrate on the content for a certain period of time.

7. Concentration Yoga
Practice yoga postures and focus on your breath to improve concentration and mindfulness.

8. Mindful walking
Take a walk and focus on the sensations in your body and your surroundings.

9. Coloring
Engage in coloring books or adult coloring to improve focus and reduce stress.

10. Concentration meditation
Focus on a single object, such as a candle or a sound, to improve your concentration skills.

10. How to meditate for concentration and focus?


Meditation is a powerful technique to improve concentration power. Here are some steps to practice it:

1. Find a quiet and comfortable place to meditate where you won’t be disturbed.

2. Sit comfortably with your back straight and your hands resting in your lap.

3. Close your eyes or focus your gaze on a fixed point.

4. Take a few deep breaths and allow your body and mind to relax.

5. Focus on your breath and the sensation of air moving in and out of your body. Try to keep your mind from wandering by gently bringing your attention back to your breath when you notice it wandering.

6. You can also focus on a particular object or sound to help you concentrate. For example, you can repeat a mantra or focus on a candle flame.

7. Start with shorter meditation sessions, such as 5-10 minutes, and gradually increase the duration as you become more comfortable with the practice.

8. Be patient and gentle with yourself. Your mind will inevitably wander, and that’s okay. The key is to bring your attention back to your breath or your focal point every time you notice your mind wandering.

9. Practice regularly to develop your concentration skills and reap the benefits of meditation.

Remember that meditation is a practice, and it takes time and patience to develop your skills. With consistent practice, you can improve your concentration and focus, reduce stress and anxiety, and experience a greater sense of calm and clarity.

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Wrapping Up:

Focus and concentration are crucial skills that can help us achieve our goals and increase productivity. However, with the constant distractions and demands of modern life, it can be challenging to maintain our focus and concentration. 

The good news is that the strategies, tips, activities, exercises, and techniques that we talked about can help us improve our ability to concentrate and focus. From mindfulness practices and regular exercise to eliminating distractions and prioritizing tasks, these activities can help us stay focused and productive. 

So, try incorporating these tips and techniques into your daily routine. With patience and consistency, you’ll be on your way to sharper focus, improved productivity, and a greater sense of calm and clarity in your life.

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