What Is Concentration?
Multi-taskers beware: typically, trying to juggle more than one thing at a time is a sign of a lack of concentration, not some kind of superhuman ability. What is more, multi-tasking usually does not yield as good results as focusing on one thing at a time.
There are many factors that contribute to a lack of concentration. For one thing, there may be physiological reasons why you might have trouble focusing, and these require professional intervention and, in some cases, medications.
On the medical side, many conditions — everything from heart or liver issues to head trauma to sleep apnea — can affect your concentration. You can try starting with a physical with your primary care physician to rule out obvious medical issues limiting your ability to focus better.
There are also psychological conditions that impact focus, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, and alcohol and substance abuse disorders. If any of these apply to you, please, please, seek professional help.
There are many other, less severe reasons why your concentration might be faltering, though. How to focus better may be impacted by less severe psychological issues, like stress. It is obviously very easy to become distracted when you have a lot on your mind. What is more, there are relatively easy remedies for improving overall focus that you can try. Read on.
Have a Plan You Feel Clear About
The amount of detail you need to feel ready and confident to move forward will differ between you and the next person. Some people require more details to feel comfortable, others less.
It’s been argued that in above-ambient temperatures, you can be more creative. You feel more relaxed, and your productivity increases. Conversely, lower temperatures have also been found to more positively influence decision-making ability and alertness.
Cornell University conducted a study of office administration workers whereby their productivity positively correlated with increased office temperatures  . At 77 degrees Fahrenheit, the workers were typing with 90% accuracy. However, with a drop to 68 degrees, the typing rate nose-dived, along with an increased error rate of 25%.
It’s not just temperature you need to pay attention to. Good lighting is essential. The wavelength of blue light emitted from most electronic devices generally increses our serotonin levels and keeps us awake  .
Switch off communication applications. Make it hard for yourself to access such applications and devices by physically putting them in places that are inconvenient. Specifically, try the 20-second rule and make it take more time to access them. If you have to go outside to the garden shed to retrieve your phone (and it’s cold and raining outside), you’re less likely to do it!
Maximize your exposure to visual messages that direct you to stay focused on the task at hand. Surround where you plan to execute most of your day’s work with deliberate messages that directly tell you to stay on track.
How to Improve Concentration?
1. Knowing The Struggles
Before you know how to improve concentration, you first need to know the signs that cause many to have trouble concentrating. The signs can vary from person to person. However, what we can experience are:
When it comes to difficulty concentrating, you may notice these symptoms occur at various points for people. Some people need to be in certain settings for these symptoms to happen. For others, it can be during a certain time of day.
2. Understand That Focus Is a Flow
Focus is the way in which you deliberately target your energy to push progress in something you care about. Because focus takes energy, time, and effort, whatever it is that you need to focus on should be something meaningful to you, something that’s worth shutting down phone calls, text messages, and social media for.
Without a clear goal and road map, things can turn out frantic and frustrating, with many wrong turns. You also end up expending a lot more mental energy than needed. But, having a Focus Flow when learning how to focus better can help.
Setting a Clear Objective
To start off, you need to set a clear focus objective. If you don’t have an objective, how can you decide on which things are worth focusing on? You can’t focus on everything at the same time, so you have to make a choice.
A good focus objective, therefore, needs to be concrete. This means that it should be something you can visualize, such as determining how the new office is going to look after you’ve completed the renovation and moving in. If you can visualize it, that means you have a clear enough picture to know what’s needed to achieve it.
Drawing a Focus Roadmap
The second step is to lay out a practical focus roadmap. Once you have your ideas, setting an objective is easy. The most difficult part is determining how you’re going to achieve your objective.
That’s where having a roadmap helps you answer these questions. Like driving, you need to have at least a rough idea of which major roads to drive on, and the order in which you need to drive them.
To create a good road map, you should include major milestones. These are targets you need to hit in order to achieve success. Your roadmap should also include feasible and realistic actions that you can achieve as you learn how to focus better.
10 Common Causes of Troubled Concentration And How To Fix Them
1. Digital Distractions
You jumped in and out of your email. You bounced from social media to a digital publication and back again. Oh, and look at those half-dozen retail sites you scrolled through looking for a new pair of shoes.
Then, there’s your smartphone. Every few seconds, you get a new notification from Twitter, Instagram, or CNN. Each time, your eyes dart from your computer screen to your phone. You’d hate to miss something, right? This already speaks volumes of your lack of concentration.
The Fix: Schedule Your Day
Yes, I know this one is hard for most people. We believe our devices are so vital to our lives that the thought of turning them off makes us feel insecure. The reality is they are not so vital, and the world is not going to end within the next thirty minutes.
So turn them off and your battery will thank you for it. More importantly, when you are free from your mobile distraction addiction, you will begin to concentrate more on what needs to get done.
2. Daydreams and Memories
Everyone loses themselves in daydreams and memories. Your mind wanders to the future or the past because those places are more pleasant than what you’re handling at that time. This causes you to have some trouble concentrating and away from what you need to focus on.
The Fix: Stay in the Present
Daydreaming isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Imagination can provide a spark of creative genius or visualization of what you want in life. You just need to do it when it makes sense, not when you should be focusing on work, since this will make way for a lack of focus.
Stay in the present by keeping your daily to-do list on your desk. When your mind starts to drift, pull yourself back to what’s right in front of you. Ground yourself by focusing on something real, like your breath, before turning your attention back to the task at hand.
Headaches and migraines are caused by a wide range of issues, including stress, sleep deprivation, diet, eyestrain, and medications  . Throw a global pandemic on top, and it’s no wonder your head is pounding. Lack of focus causes so many negative things, which is why you always need to examine yourself.
The Fix: Hydration and Pain Relief Products
Like that bottle of hand sanitizer, keep your headache and migraine medications on hand at all times. If getting to the pharmacy is a challenge these days, migraine services like Nurx can diagnose you and deliver medication to your door.
If your headache isn’t severe, try a medication-free approach. Difficulty focusing can be solved in simple ways. Some people find relief simply from drinking water, applying a cold compress, or inhaling essential oils.
4. Racing Thoughts
All of this can be so distracting that you’re unable to keep up and resulting in difficulty concentrating. If you want to know how to increase concentration, you need to calm your racing thoughts.
The Fix: Meditate and Be Mindful
A distraction list is a list where you write down unrelated questions, thoughts, and ideas that run through your head while you work. Once you finish your task or have the opportunity for a break, then you can look up the answers to those questions or research the thoughts and ideas you had.
5. Unresolved Issues and Arguments
Maybe you argued with your partner last night. Perhaps you both went to bed angry, and it’s been bothering you all morning. Or maybe you’re fed up with a co-worker who always talks louder than is necessary because they want everyone to hear about their latest date.
Your anger and annoyance might be well placed, but it doesn’t help to linger on these things. Your brain cells are better used for something else, such as finding ways on how to improve focus and concentration.
The Fix: Get Some Closure
If a co-worker does something to irritate you enough to interfere with your ability to concentrate, pull them aside and tell them. Be rational—not angry—and try to understand what might motivate their actions.
6. Lack of Sleep
Sleep deprivation isn’t just a health issue. It also hinders your ability to concentrate during waking hours. There are medical reasons for poor sleep too. Diabetes, sleep apnea, respiratory issues, cardiovascular disease, generalized anxiety disorder, and neurological disorders.
But for most people, poor sleep is the result of mental health struggles and anxiety about all kinds of things. Finances, kids, parents, or maybe that job change you’ve been considering. This is one of the best tricks on how to concentrate better.
The Fix: Sleep Schedules
Losing as few as 16 minutes of sleep can throw you off your game the next day. Getting to sleep might be as easy as changing your mattress or your pillow, but the bigger culprit is your routine. Key steps include to help restore cognitive functioning are: