You Can Get More Done in Less Time If You Concentrate More. Heres How
If youre used to social media with messages that last only a short time and are constantly replaced by new messages, hyperlinks that take you off down new rabbit-holes, and attention-grabbing videos that you just HAVE to watch, then you might think that our concentration span is getting shorter.
Theres a common statistic that says the human attention span is now 8 seconds. Well actually, thats not accurate, it depends on what youre doing. (If youre reading a cliff-hanger book, or researching something thats really interesting to you, you can concentrate or pay attention for hours if necessary).
But its probably true to say that in todays world, with so much going on around us, it seems much harder to stay focused.
And the fact is, your ability to get things done depends on your ability to pay attention. To concentrate.
The good news is that you CAN learn to focus more and focus better. All you need is to take charge and apply these simple tips to concentrate more and get more done in less time.
(By the way, many people assume only office workers need to get more done in less time but it also applies if you are a busy mum for example, or retired, or feel that you dont know where the time went but you didnt get anything done).
Join this fun 5-day challenge see how Yoga can help you de-stress.
Organize Your Brain
If youre at work you have deadlines, meetings, projects, tasks all things that need to get done within the span of a few hours. Perhaps you need to organize the kids for school, buy and prepare food, do laundry and cleaning or perhaps you need to organize that photo collection lurking in your attic or detail your family tree.
Whatever it is that you need to get done, the absolutely best thing you can do is to make a list.
Yes, its an old-fashioned concept. But its still around today because it works. Just the act of writing or typing up a list of the tasks you must do, helps your brain to start planning how you will go about doing everything.
Think about the steps you need to take, and write them down.
Even better prioritise your list there are some things you absolutely must do first thing, while other items can wait a while. When you do this, youre making sure youre more productive because you get the important things done first.
Better still write your list the night before so youre not bombarded with many things at the start of the day. This is like stretching before a workout it doesnt take a lot of time, but you cant start without it.
Get more done in less time by breaking up your day into intervals. Once youve started on a task, set the timer to, say, 30 minutes.
During that time, focus completely on that task.
Once the timer rings, you take a short break to get some coffee or just walk around your desk or home for some quick exercise. After 4 intervals, take a longer break of 20-30 minutes.
Remember I said you need to focus completely on that one task? That means you cant keep picking up your phone to check your email or social media every 5 minutes. Why? Because it can take up to 25 minutes to get back to you original task once youve been distracted.
And that means youre spending the entire day just trying to regain your focus but not really achieving it.
Some ideas put your phone on silent or stick it in a drawer to ward off temptation. An even better way to do this is to carve out half an hour at the start of the day, or in the afternoon, to get all that out of your system so that youre not constantly thinking about it.
Of course, thats easier in an office environment than when youre looking after kids for example, but the same principles still hold true. Perhaps theres a fun task you could set the kids that will keep them busy for 30 minutes, while you complete your own task.
Calm Your Environment
If youre trying to get things done but theres clutter and mess all around you, its going to be more difficult to concentrate. You dont have to be pristine, or minimalist, just not cluttered.
Even if your choices are limited or you cant change your workspace, here are some ideas to help. Theyll work whether you are in an office, or working on crafts or sorting your attic.
- You need a clear space to work on. It doesnt need to be big, just clear. You might consider a desk organizer or similar to store away whatever youre not working on at the moment
- Add a plant or two being close to Nature is shown to improve concentration.
- Make sure you have enough light to be able to see clearly.
- Add a lovely photo or a calming piece of artwork.
- Play soft background music or sounds of nature to put you in the mood to concentrate
Feed Your Brain!
What you eat is important. Convenience and junk food and drinks rich in sugar will NOT help your brain to concentrate.
Enjoying a balanced diet rich in minerals and vitamins, on the other hand, boosts energy levels and gives you the mental stamina you need to concentrate on the task at hand.
Water is also very important to prevent dehydration. Staying hydrated throughout the day prevents your mind from slowing down. Exercising regularly also boosts cognitive powers and mental stamina.
Relax With Yoga
Yoga is great for making you more supple, and for relaxation, but did you know it also helps to improve your concentration? If you practice Yoga regularly, youll find it easier to concentrate on one thing at a time, instead of having your mind spinning around all the time.
In between your intervals of focus and concentration, consider some games to relax you. Although research has been mixed as to their effectiveness on your abilities, Ive noticed for example, that my mental arithmetic which was terrible has improved since I started playing Lumosity. I also enjoy Sudoku, crosswords and other puzzles. They may help with your problem-solving abilities, reasoning, memory and attention spans, as well as being fun!
These 6 tips will all help you to concentrate more so that you get more done in less time and thats got to be worthwhile!
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P.S. Dont forget to join the 5-day Yoga to De-Stress Challenge its fun! Youll be glad you did. Click here to join its FREE!